Recently, Deputy Broughan wrote to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, regarding the reported proposals for dredging at Howth Harbour.   Deputy Broughan raised a number of important questions with the Minister as there were media reports that some local public representatives were invited to a briefing at Howth Harbour on the plans but that Deputies weren’t invited or sent on a briefing.  Minister Creed informed Deputy Broughan that officials and engineers from his Department did meet with the Planning and Management personnel from Fingal County Council in early March.  Fingal also facilitated that these officials give a verbal update to councillors at the end of their meeting on March 6th.

Deputy Broughan asked for a copy of the briefing and also asked whether the local community and users of the harbour had been consulted.  The Minister did not provide copies of this briefing but said that “the project is currently in its infancy, with exact details yet to be determined” and that “over the coming months further liaison and interaction with harbour users and the local community will be undertaken prior to the submission of any planning application.”

When Deputy Broughan asked about the next steps and timeframe for the project, he was informed that “the project is currently in the pre-planning and pre-permitting stage, where there will be a requirement for updated testing, review of existing volumes, and preparation of documents for discussion with the relevant planning and permitting authorities, harbour users and local groupings” and that “current estimates are that the planning and permitting process could take up to 24 months.”   The current estimated cost is around €20million and all boats, yachts and pontoons e.g. will have to be moved during the dredging process which is now moving to the early 2020s.

Deputy Broughan says “Minister Creed’s response to my questions was very comprehensive but it would have been preferable to have been given a briefing alongside Councillors at the beginning of March.  I have long called for the dredging of Howth Harbour; I have included it in my own pre-budget submissions previously and have raised the matter in Dáil Éireann on numerous occasions.  The build-up of silt is damaging the Harbour which is one of the 4 working fishery harbours around the country.  The snail pace of this project is not good enough.  I do welcome, however, funding of €6.3 million which has been made available for development and ongoing maintenance works at the Harbour.”