HL Deb 09 March 2004 vol 658 cc170-1WA
Lord Berkeley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much they contribute to the cost of maintaining navigation aids in the territorial waters of the Irish Republic; and whether they have given notice to the Irish Government of a date on which such contributions will cease. [HL1599]

Lord Davies of Oldham

Under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, the UK Government have a statutory responsibility to fund the Commissioners of Irish Lights, the General Lighthouse Authority that provides aids to navigation in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland. The Irish Government make a contribution to the cost of aids in the Republic but do not meet the full costs of provision. The shortfall in provision is met from the General Lighthouse Fund. In 2004–05 the UK contribution is estimated to be £7.2 million. There may be significant variations in this figure at year-end due to budget variations and fluctuations in the exchange rate.

We acccept the Transport Select Committee's view that the Republic of Ireland should meet the full costs of provision of their aids to navigation. We remain committed to negotiating the current agreement to achieve this and will continue to work closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Irish Government to take the matter forward.

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