Tuesday, 11 June 2013
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
State Bodies Code of Conduct
481. To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht his views on whether it is contrary to the strategic interest of Irish indigenous companies involved in the seaweed extraction business that on 1 March 2013 a decision was made by the Board of Údarás to sell a company (details supplied); the way this decision will affect the supply of seaweed material to Irish companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27708/13]
I understand from Údarás na Gaeltachta that the proposed sale of shares in the company referred to by the Deputy was approved by the board of Údarás on the 1st of March 2013 on the basis that the proposed sale met the criteria laid down by Údarás. One of those criteria was that the supply of raw material to the indigenous Irish customer base would be assured and safeguarded into the future. I also understand that the proposed purchaser of the shares in the company fully accepts the need to safeguard the supply of raw material to the indigenous Irish companies who are customers of the company referred to by the Deputy. My consent and the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform are required in order to proceed with the sale of Údarás’ shares in the company. The proposed sale of shares is currently being examined by my Department and I expect that a final decision will be made in the near future. In that regard, I understand that should the decision of the board of Údarás be ratified, it is the intention of Údarás to put a mechanism in place to assure the continued supply of raw material to the Irish customer base of the company. In that context, it should be noted that not all indigenous Irish companies involved in the seaweed extraction business are dependent on the company referred to by the Deputy for their supply of raw material.
Finally, while my Department has no statutory role in respect of the seaweed extraction business, I understood that there are other issues concerning the ongoing supply and licensing of seaweed harvesting which are also important to the strategic interest, not only of the company itself, but also of its Irish customer base involved in seaweed processing and creation of value added products.