Mr. John D. Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how Irish Lights is funded; what contribution is made to it by the Governments of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland; and whether fishing boats from the Republic of Ireland are required to pay similar levies to Irish Lights to those paid by Northern Irish vessels.
§ Mr. McLoughlin
The Commissioners of Irish Lights are funded from the general lighthouse fund established by section 1 of the Merchant Shipping (Mercantile Marine Fund) Act 1898. The fund's principal income is from light dues levied on shipping using ports in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Following an agreement entered into in 1985, the Irish Government make an annual contribution into the fund which, when added to light dues collected in the Republic, now meets half the costs of the Commissioners deemed to be incurred in the Republic. The most recent such contribution was in January 1990 in the sum of £2 million Irish pounds. The United Kingdom Government make no contribution to the fund. Light dues in the Republic are determined by the Irish Minister of the Marine and the Irish Government have made no decision to extend light dues to fishing vessels in the Republic. Such vessels are liable to the United Kingdom dues if they call at a United Kingdom port.