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Light Dues System

Volume 455: debated on Monday 15 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when he last met Irish Ministers to discuss the renegotiation of the 1985 Agreement on the funding arrangements for the Commissioners of Irish Lights; when he expects these negotiations to reach a conclusion; and if he will make a statement; (114218)

(2) if he will make a statement on progress on abolishing the Irish subsidy component of the light dues system.

On 27 July 2005, I discussed the 1985 Agreement with the Irish Marine Minister, who agreed to support a more equitable funding solution for the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL).

Consideration of the Irish Government’s role in part-funding CIL operations needs to reflect the increased reliance in the past year on joint support services for the three General Lighthouse Authorities, such as the fleet of ships, now reduced in size. A bilateral, official-level meeting this month will assess the scope for progress in the light of that trend, and take account of possible impacts on the institutional framework arising from the St. Andrews Agreement.