Responding to a question from Senator Averil Power, Minister of State for the Marine Tom Hayes told the Seanad that Howth is one of a number of harbours under review and that "there is a broad range of other factors to be taken into account before a final decision will be made on the matter."
The story comes back into the news more than two years after local traders and stakeholders organised their opposition to proposals by the Department of the Marine to bring in charges for many of the 500 parking spaces available in Howth, citing the potentially damaging effects on the village economy.
Minister Hayes said this week that the harbour's safe operation was his department's priority, claiming that "traffic management and parking is recognised as an issue, particularly though not exclusively during the busy holiday periods."
That is despite then Howth Yacht Club Commodore Breda Dillon rejecting such an assessment in early 2013, saying that that on normal days there was only 10% occupancy of parking spaces on the middle pier.
Paid parking across the Bay continues to be a bugbear – especially for sailors transporting equipment from car to boat – at Ireland's biggest sailing centre at Dun Laoghaire where the harbour company operates a clamping policy.