Written answers

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government

Aquaculture Sector

12:00 pm

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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Question 304: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position regarding the ruling of the European Commission against Ireland on its quality of shellfish waters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43364/09]

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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The European Court of Justice delivered its ruling in Case C1-148/05 on 14 June 2007 and Ireland was found to be in breach of the Directive on the quality required of shellfish waters by failing to:

· designate all shellfish waters requiring designation; and

· take all necessary measures to establish pollution reduction programmes (PRPs) for waters requiring designation.

The European Commission made a decision on 29 October 2009 to refer Ireland to the European Court of Justice for an imposition of fines in relation to the Directive, while deferring such referral for three months.

Responsibility for the shellfish waters function transferred to my Department at the end of 2008. In February 2009, I designated 49 additional shellfish water sites, bringing to 63 the total number of sites around our coast; I designated the final site in Cork Harbour last week. Work is progressing well on the pollution reduction programmes and the 64 programmes will be completed and established by January next.

I am confident that all outstanding aspects of this case will be completed to the satisfaction of the Commission within the timescale allowed for addressing the outstanding issues.


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