Dáil Éireann - Volume 514 - 10 February, 2000

Written Answers. - Natural Resources Development.

17. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources the plans, if any, he has in the foreseeable future for the development of the various natural resources which come within his responsibility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3736/00]

66. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources if he has satisfied himself that sufficient preparations are in hand to meet requirements for the development of natural resources including resources at exploration stage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3867/00]

Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Fahey): I propose to take Questions Nos. 17 and 66 together.

Developing Ireland's vast natural resources is among the greatest challenges facing the country. Our plans for the development of the various natural resources which come within my responsibility are outlined in the National Development Plan 2000-2006. Investment of £938 million has been earmarked for the marine and natural resources sectors, which underlines the Government's commitment to these most valuable indigenous assets. The plan includes unprecedented funding programmes, and will support overall investment well in excess of £1.2 billion in development of these sectors, which are vital for rural and coastal communities. The plan will ensure the benefits of economic prosperity reach all regions.

Key areas for investment include the seafood industry, £171 million; forestry, £592 million; coastal protection, £35 million; sea ports, £46 million; inland fisheries development, £24 million; marine tourism and leisure, £20 million; and marine and forestry RTDI, minimum £50 million.

Private investment in oil and gas and mineral exploration and production, carried out with due regard for the environment, will continue to be encouraged through fiscal incentives.