Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Rural Improvements Scheme: Employment of Small Farmers.

Wednesday, 22 June 1960

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 183 No. 2

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3.

Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry  Zoom on Richard Barry  asked the Minister for Finance if in the recruitment of labour for the carrying out of work under the Rural Improvement Scheme he will give consideration to the employment of small farmers who have contributed to the cost of the work.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance (Mr. J. Brennan): Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  In accordance with a general policy of long standing first preference in employment is given to suitable unemployment assistance recipients and unemployment benefit claimants registered at the local offices of the Department of Social Welfare. Where a sufficient number of such persons is not available special consideration is given [155] to the landholders who are served by the scheme and have contributed to the cost.

Mr. Barry: Information on Richard Barry  Zoom on Richard Barry  Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that in Cork, and particularly in West Cork which is involved in this case, there is a complaint that small holders of £3 and £4 valuation are passed over even though they have contributed to the cost of the scheme? Will he now take steps to ensure that these people who are depending on work provided by the county council should be employed in future in these schemes?

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  I have told the Deputy in my reply that in employment under the Rural Improvements Scheme first preference is given to unemployment assistance recipients and only where there are not sufficient numbers of these available is preference given to the contributors to the scheme.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman  Zoom on Gerard Sweetman  Since when?

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  For as long as I can remember.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman  Zoom on Gerard Sweetman  As long as I can can remember it is the reverse.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  No.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Has it not always been a distinguishing mark of rural improvement schemes where contributions were made by small farmers who are deemed to come within, the scope of the scheme that they would be given an opportunity of working upon them even to the point of hiring their horses and carts so that in many cases those who had not the ready cash to put down would be given an opportunity of earning, in the course of the improvement scheme, the contribution they were called upon to make?

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  No. I shall give the order of preference which, so far as I can say, has always been given according to decided policy: first, unemployment assistance recipients; secondly, unemployment benefit claimants; and thirdly, beneficiaries or members of their families who have contributed to the cost of the work, [156] and non-claimants registered at the employment exchange. They are in third position. It very often works out that contributors are also registered unemployed, and sometimes these jobs are carried out in the summer in certain areas where there are very few, if any, people registered as unemployed. In that case the work goes to the contributors.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  If there are two categories of persons, one consisting of registered unemployment assistance persons who are contributing to the scheme and the other registered unemployed assistance persons who are not contributing to the scheme, would the registered unemployed persons who are not contributing to the scheme get prior consideration?

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  Yes, the registered unemployed person would get the preference provided he was living within the required distance.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  If there are two classes, one of whom is contributing and one of whom is not, would the contributor get the preference?

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  Yes, the contributor would get it, all other things being equal.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  Is the order of approval the Parliamentary Secretary has just quoted applied universally and without alteration? What is the position in a case where a person offers to contribute to the improvement scheme in the form of his own labour? Where does he stand in the queue? Does he stand with the unemployment assistance recipients and the unemployment insurance recipients registered at the local employment exchange?

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  The contributions are in cash.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  Do I understand it is not possible to contribute by labour or by the provision of materials? That used to be the position.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  There is no such provision in the regulations. Where engineers take it upon themselves to accept free labour that is another [157] matter, but there is no regulation to cover taking free labour as a contributiton.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  Is it banned? Is a contribution in material or labour banned?

Mr. Smith: Information on Patrick Smith  Zoom on Patrick Smith  No decision in that regard was ever taken.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  But it is not accepted.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  A decision was taken.

Mr. Smith: Information on Patrick Smith  Zoom on Patrick Smith  I administered the scheme when it was first introduced and I ought to know.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  Yes. But, you see, all the purity fell out of it when the Minister left.


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