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#DLHarbour - “All assets and liabilities” of Dun Laoghaire  Harbour Company will transfer to the local authority upon its pending dissolution — with no additional State funding available, the Minister for Transport has confirmed.

Shane Ross was responding in writing to a parliamentary question from local independent county councillor Michael Merrigan, which asked the minister to specify if any funding would be provided “to create a reserve to assist Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in outstanding liabilities as part of a final agreement of transfer”.

National Ports Policy recognised that the future of Dun Laoghaire port lies in marine leisure, marine tourism, cultural amenity and urban redevelopment,” Minister Ross wrote. “In addition, it clearly states that there is no Exchequer finding for any port company.”

Confirming that the existing port company’s assets and liabilities would transfer to DLRCoCo, the minister added that “the port will continue to generate income from marine-related and other activities such as rents, leases and car parks”, and that any remedial and engineering works “are normally prioritised” and funded via planned allocations.

Cllr Merrigan’s question raised concerns that Dun Laoghaire Harbour company’s financial liabilities “are greater than its liquid assets” and that the transfer comes with “risks and potential exposure” to the local authority.

The minister “needs to clarify funding” on the foot of a “€33.5 million burden on residents and businesses” in the county, the councillor added.

Last week, local Green Party councillor Ossian Smyth said the transfer of liabilities to the local authority is “not acceptable”.

#DLHarbour - The proposal by Transport Minister Shane Ross to transfer Dun Laoghaire  Harbour’s liabilities to the local authority along with its assets is “not acceptable”, according to a local councillor.

Last Monday 9 April, Green Party Cllr Ossian Smyth shared the news that the minister had decided the “responsibility for the future of the port” lies with Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, in line with National Ports Policy.

Local campaigners broadly welcomed the news after a long period of uncertainly over the port’s future, with People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett hailing the decision as a victory for “people power”.

But now concerns have been raised with the particulars of Minister Ross’ letter to DLRCoCo chief executive Philomena Poole, in which he states that his “preferred model of transfer is that of dissolution of [Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company] and the transfer of all assets, liabilities and employees to the County Council.”

Cllr Smyth told Afloat.ie: “Dun Laoghaire’s taxpayers should not be left on the hook for debts accumulated by the harbour company while pursuing far-fetched projects like the super cruise ship berth, the floating hotel and floating homes, a hotel on the Carlisle Pier and so on.”

#DLHarbour - Transport Minister Shane Ross must ensure there is “no delay” in the transfer of Dun Laoghaire  Harbour to the local authority, as Dublin Live reports.

Earlier this week it emerged that Minister Ross had made his determination that the “responsibility for the future of the port lies with DLR County Council”.

The move is being hailed as a victory for “people power” by People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett, a long-time local campaigner for bringing the harbour under public control.

Minister Ross is set to meet with the chief executive of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to discuss the dissolution of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company and the transfer of its assets to the local authority.

“[Successive Transport Ministers’] failure to act has meant that significant liabilities have built up and a lot of public money has been wasted,” said Deputy Boyd Barrett. 

“The Government needs to now stump up the money needed to cover these liabilities, while ensuring no delay in the transfer of the harbour into full public control.”

Meanwhile, DLRCoCo has signed a €9 million contract for the long-awaited redevelopment of the Dun Laoghaire Baths adjacent to the harbour, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

#DLHarbour - Has Dun Laoghaire Harbour finally been transferred to the local county council?

That appears to be the case, according to a tweet yesterday evening (Monday 9 April) from Green Party Councillor Ossian Smyth.

The tweet quotes Transport Minister Shane Ross, who has sole discretion on the matter, as determining that “responsibility for the future of the port lies with DLR County Council”.

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council was understood to be meeting yesterday following its earlier vote to recommend the dissolution of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company and transfer its assets to the local authority.

Afloat.ie will have more on this story as it develops.

See also: Could Council Vote Signal a New Master Plan for Dun Laoghaire Harbour?

#DLHarbour - Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council will recommend the dissolution of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company and the transfer of its assets to the local authority at a meeting next week, The Irish Times reports.

Following months of slow progress, DLRCoCo chief executive Philomela Poole will tell councillors on Tuesday 6 March that the second of two options as outlined in the Harbours Act 2015 is best to help secure Dun Laoghaire’s future — a move that is being hailed by local campaigners Save Our Seafront.

In an information pack distributed to DLRCoCo members in advance of next week’s meeting, as seen by Afloat.ie, Poole states: “It has become increasingly clear over the past decade that the long-term future of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company will be in terms of marine leisure, maritime tourism, cultural amenity and urban redevelopment … Therefore it is appropriate that the plans be developed under the aegis of and in co-operation with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.”

Under the Harbours Act 2015, the Minister for Transport may choose between two options for the future governance of Dun Laoghaire Harbour: the transfer of shareholding of the harbour company to DLRCoCo, or the dissolution of the company and transfers of its assets, liabilities and staff to the local authority.

A risk assessment undertaken by consultants The Finance Expert concluded that the financial risks to the council “would be common to both options” but of the two, the second gives “a lower operational risk and more direct control of the harbour’s activities.”

The risk assessment, based on accounts ending 31 December 2016, projects the net financial risk for the period 2018-2022 as €33.5 million — the bulk of this to bring the harbour up to ‘taking-in-charge’ standard.

However, Afloat.ie understands that a figure in excess of €150 million over 10 years for harbour infrastructure alone has been mooted — while another source estimates conservation and repair at some €250,000 per annum.

In addition, the risk assessment did not examine or evaluate “potential legal costs associated with resolving the ownership of the foreshore at St Michael’s Pier.”

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

See also: David O’Brien on Dun Laoghaire’s need for a ‘harbour czar’ to steer it on the right course.

Minister Transport Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD expects the final report of the risk assessor on the hand over of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company to the local County Council will be presented to the council at a meeting scheduled to take place on 26 February but now changed to Tuesday, March 6th.

UPDATE: A DLRCoCo spokesperson advises meeting will now be held on March 6th at 6.30pm and will be webcast.

Minister Ross says that after that he 'expects matters to then progress towards the agreement of a model and a transfer date'.

The information was given to Senator Victor Boyhan who called on the Minister to 'indicate his intentions to authorise the transfer of Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company from the State to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council', as provided for under the Harbours Act 2015.

In a detailed reply to the Senator, Ross also told the Seanad, 'there are two court cases which constrains me enormously in terms of what I can say about some of the issues raised'.

'They are very delicate issues and I do not want to say anything which would prejudice the case', he added.

Read the details from the Seanad Éireann debate Tuesday, 6 Feb 2018 here.

Boyhan previously raised the matter of the transfer of the Harbour to the County Council in December, as Afloat.ie reported here

#BiosphereTours – Dublin Bay Biosphere Guided Tours begin today from Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Dublin and Howth and on every Wednesday until 14 June, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Dublin Bay which is internationally recognised for its wealth of marine wildlife and cultural heritage was in 2015 awarded a “UNESCO Biosphere”. The designation status from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation was in recognition to unique places such as Dublin Bay. The biosphere is actively managed to promote a balanced relationship between people and nature. To find out much more, to get involved and events click here.

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council as part of the Dublin Bay Biosphere Partnership, encourage you to take this opportunity in appreciating our beautiful bay from a truly unique perspective.

In addition to marine wildlife (including ceteceans) there are stunning landscapes views of the Dublin Mountains and to the south in the bay is Dalkey Island. While off Howth Peninula with its cliffs, lies Ireland’s Eye and further offshore Lambay Island. In the far distance are also the Mountains of Mourne.

Manmade landmarks can also be observed, among them Joyce’s Martello Tower, Sandycove, the Poolbeg Lighthouse that marks the entrance to Dublin Port and the capital. On the bay's north side approaches to the port is another iconic coastal landmark the Baily Lighthouse.

Operating the Biosphere Tours in conjunction with Dublin Bay Cruises is the excursion vessel, St Bridget. The (pre-booked) tours up to Wednesday 14 June will run between 60-90 minutes duration depending on which route is taken.

Embarkation locations: Dun Laoghaire Harbour (East Pier), Dublin on the Liffey (Sir John Rogerson’s Quay) and in Howth Harbour (West Pier).

For more information on tours and cruise routes, times, charges and booking information, click here.

Published in Dublin Bay

#BullochPublic - In a move being considered by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, the local authority could bring land at Bulloch Harbour in Dalkey into public ownership.

The decision reports DublinLive, would also see the land developed in the public’s interest, was made at this month’s full meeting of the council.

A masterplan for the area cannot be considered by any planning authority unless it is submitted by the owners of the land being considered for development.

As a result, councillors have called on the council to consider taking ownership of the land.

In February, a residential and retail development proposed for Bulloch Harbour was refused permission, on the grounds that the development was “completely out of scale” with the harbour.
 
The move faced strong opposition from from local residents in Dalkey, along with singer Christy Moore and Solidarity/PBP TD Richard Boyd-Barrett.
 
This month's council meeting also sought to arrange a meeting between the Dun Laoighaire-Rathdown and the Dublin Port company, which it is hoped will allow for the discussion of a masterplan for the Sandycove and Bulloch Harbour areas.
Published in Coastal Notes

#rnli – The Staff of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) selected Dun Laoghaire RNLI lifeboat as the beneficiary of the 2014 Hope You Give (HUG) charity fund paid into over the year by the staff of DLRCC.
Above, Mary Kennefick, representing HUG (pictured left), presented the donation to Mark McGibney, RNLI Coxswain with Rita O'Reilly, Honorary Secretary of the RNLI Dun Laoghaire fundraising branch and Barry Keane, Vice Chairman.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#dlrcc – Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (DLRCoCo) has tweeted an artist's impression of Dún Laoghaire Baths complete with a new walkway connecting Sandycove to the East Pier and a refurbished Dun Laoghaire Baths building.

DLRCoCo has applied to the Minister of the Environment, Community and Local Government for consent under the Foreshore Act, 1933, to undertake refurbishment of Dún Laoghaire Baths and 'associated works'.

A copy of the application, and the relevant maps, plans and drawings, are available for inspection for the next 21 working days, free of charge, at Dún Laoghaire Garda Station, 34/35 Corrig Avenue, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

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