To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to his answer of 24 May, Official Report, columns 461–62, what estimate he has made of the overall administrative costs of the Ballyconnell canal project met in (a) Northern Ireland and (b) in the Republic of Ireland; and how many persons in his Department have been engaged in such work.
The construction work on the Ballyconnell canal is being managed by the Electricity Supply Board in the Republic of Ireland, which reports to a joint steering group comprising six representatives from Northern Ireland Government Departments and six representatives from Republic of Ireland Government Departments. The joint steering group oversees the project, deals with policy issues, approves expenditure and monitors progress. It meets two or three times a year. In addition to these formal meetings, there is also ad hoc liaison between the two Governments and with the project managers, including contacts at local level to facilitate works progress. It is not possible to estimate the overall administrative costs of the project.