Dáil Éireann

17/Dec/1980

Prelude

Order of Business.

Turf Development Bill, 1980: Order for Second Stage.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Vote 50: Health.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Vote 28: Environment.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Vote 29: Office of the Minister for Education.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Theatre Maintenance.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Cattle Numbers.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Killala Harbour Repairs.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Garda Station Maintenance.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Donegal River Flooding.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Kerry School Premises.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Coast Erosion.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Waterford Garda Stations.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Department of Defence Dublin Site.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Public Service Pensions.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Public Service Numbers and Cost.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Irish Troops in Lebanon.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Army Helicopter Use by Taoiseach.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Naval Service.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Hydrographic Surveys.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Defence Equipment.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - An Slua Mhuirí.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Army Pay and Conditions.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Army Apprentices.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Naval Service Accommodation.

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Naval Service Personnel Training.

Private Notice Question. - Fishery Limits.

Appointment of Ministers.

Statement by Ceann Comhairle.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Vote 29: Office of the Minister for Education (Resumed).

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Vote 30: Primary Education.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Vote 31: Secondary Education.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Vote 32: Vocational Education.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Vote 34: Higher Education.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Vote 35: National Gallery.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Vote 42: Industry, Commerce and Tourism (Resumed).

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Vote 40: Lands.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Message from Seanad.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Vote 6: Office of the Minister for Finance.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Vote 1: President's Establishment.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Vote 2: Houses of the Oireachtas and the European Assembly.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Vote 14: Miscellaneous Expenses.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Vote 15: Stationery Office.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Vote 21: Agricultural Grants.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Vote 53: Remuneration.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Appropriation Bill, 1980: Leave to Introduce.

Supplementary Estimates, 1980. - Appropriation Bill, 1980: Second and Subsequent Stages.

Private Members' Business. - Industrial Development: Motion (Resumed)

Private Members' Business. - Messages from Seanad.

Adjournment Debate. - Kerry School.

Adjournment Debate. - Message from Seanad.

Written Answers. - Army Accommodation.

Written Answers. - Fishery Protection.

Written Answers. - Naval Service Cadets.

Written Answers. - Naval Vessels.

Written Answers. - Defence Forces Personnel.

Written Answers. - Defence Forces Recruiting Campaign.

Written Answers. - Naval Service Vessels.

Written Answers. - Use of Military Barracks.

Written Answers. - Irish Trawler.

Written Answers. - Primary Schools Capitation Grants.

Written Answers. - Painting of Schools.

Written Answers. - Westport CBS.

Written Answers. - Scoil Chuimsitheach Dhún na nGall.

Written Answers. - Art Teaching Course.

Written Answers. - Drimoleague (Cork) Educational Facilities.

Written Answers. - Dungarvan School Extension.

Written Answers. - Student Population.

Written Answers. - UCG Grant.

Written Answers. - Carrigaline Community School.

Written Answers. - County Cork Educational Facilities.

Written Answers. - County Limerick New Schools.

Written Answers. - Kerry School Extension.

Written Answers. - Degree of VEC Staff Member.

Written Answers. - College of Education Grants.

Written Answers. - Dublin College Post.

Written Answers. - VEC Staff Pay Increases.

Written Answers. - Tullamore School Extension.

Written Answers. - County Limerick School Site.

Written Answers. - Matriculation Fee.

Written Answers. - Meath School Accommodation.

Written Answers. - Adult Education.

Written Answers. - Payment of Substitute Teachers.

Written Answers. - County Cork School Extension.

Written Answers. - CBS Parent Councils.

Written Answers. - Attendance Criteria.

Written Answers. - Appointment of Teacher.

Written Answers. - Longford-Westmeath New Schools.

Written Answers. - UCG Strike.

Written Answers. - County Galway School.

Written Answers. - Higher Education Grants.

Written Answers. - Dungarvan (Waterford) School Extension.

Written Answers. - School Transport.

Written Answers. - Historical Finds.

Written Answers. - School Transport.

Written Answers. - Cork School for Deaf Children.

Written Answers. - Competitive Sport.

Written Answers. - Youth Affairs Report.

Written Answers. - Walking Routes.

Written Answers. - Museum Services Development.

Written Answers. - Land Utilisation.

Written Answers. - Farmers' Income.

Written Answers. - Cattle Numbers.

Written Answers. - Meat Marketing.

Written Answers. - Food Imports.

Written Answers. - Food Marketing Expenditure.

Written Answers. - Potato Prices.

Written Answers. - County Donegal Seed Potato Growers.

Written Answers. - Vegetable Processing.

Written Answers. - Bord Bainne.

Written Answers. - Ground Limestone Subsidy.

Written Answers. - County Kildare Estate.

Written Answers. - Western Drainage Scheme.

Written Answers. - Roundstone (County Galway) Bog Allocation.

Written Answers. - Farm Modernisation Grant.

Written Answers. - Ewe Hoggett Grant.

Written Answers. - Land Commission Annuitants.

Written Answers. - Payment of Grants.

Written Answers. - Land Acquisition and Division.

Written Answers. - ACOT Employee's Pay.

Written Answers. - Payment of Grants.

Written Answers. - County Waterford Slaughtering Licence.

Written Answers. - County Donegal Cattle Headage Payments.

Written Answers. - Kerry Factory Closure.

Written Answers. - Oifig Bhord na Gaeilge

Written Answers. - County Donegal Housing Grants.

Written Answers. - Asthma Society.

Written Answers. - Free Dental Treatment for Children.

Written Answers. - County Cork Hospital Extension.

Written Answers. - Medical Research Council.

Written Answers. - Pension Review.

Written Answers. - Meath Dental Waiting List.

Written Answers. - Leukaemia Deaths.

Written Answers. - County Cavan Patient.

Written Answers. - Health Board Staff.

Written Answers. - County Wicklow Health Centre.

Written Answers. - School Dental Service Scheme.

Written Answers. - Control of Contraceptives.

Written Answers. - Maternity Hospital Standards.

Written Answers. - Contraception Survey.

Written Answers. - County Donegal Old Persons' Homes.

Written Answers. - Departmental Notifications.

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Eligibility.

Written Answers. - Free Electricity Scheme.

Written Answers. - Dental Treatment Eligibility.

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Written Answers. - Free Transport Scheme.

Written Answers. - Free Fuel Scheme.

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Written Answers. - National Fuel Scheme.

Written Answers. - Pension Qualifying Age.

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Written Answers. - Committee on Pilot Schemes to Combat Poverty.

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Written Answers. - Issue of Medical Certificates.

Written Answers. - County Galway Social Welfare Payment.

Written Answers. - Fisheries Inspection Vessel.

Written Answers. - Deer-Hunting.

Written Answers. - Mayo Harbour Work.

Written Answers. - County Donegal Land Sale.

Written Answers. - County Donegal Harbour Work.

Written Answers. - Use of Defoliant.

Written Answers. - Fox Skin Exports.

Written Answers. - State Forests.

Written Answers. - Salmon Licences.

Written Answers. - County Waterford Land Division.

Written Answers. - Board of Conservators.

Written Answers. - Southern Regional Fisheries Board.

Written Answers. - Telephone Service.

Written Answers. - Personal Reference Form.

Written Answers. - Telephone Service.

Written Answers. - Dublin Parcel Post.

Written Answers. - Telephone Kiosks.

Written Answers. - Tallaght (Dublin) Sub-Post Offices.

Written Answers. - Telephone Service.

Written Answers. - Post Office Savings Account.

Written Answers. - Telephone Service.

Written Answers. - County Waterford Sub-Post Office.

Written Answers. - Telephone Service.

Written Answers. - New Irish Shipping Vessel.

Written Answers. - Exports to US.

Written Answers. - RNLI Allocation.

Written Answers. - Pollution Problem.

Written Answers. - Meath Sewage Scheme.

Written Answers. - Payment of Grants.

Written Answers. - Housing Grants.

Written Answers. - Dublin Bay Amenity Order.

Written Answers. - Dún Laoghaire Fire Fighting Facilities.

Written Answers. - Blackrock (Dublin) Drainage Scheme.

Written Answers. - County Dublin By-Pass.

Written Answers. - Payment of Grant.

Written Answers. - Department of the Environment Files.

Written Answers. - Road Traffic Accidents.

Written Answers. - Water Schemes.

Written Answers. - Grant Applications.

Written Answers. - Water Schemes.

Written Answers. - Fuel Conversion Grant.

Written Answers. - Local Authority Allocations.

Written Answers. - County Cork Housing Loans.

Written Answers. - Housing Grants.

Written Answers. - County Galway Electoral Register.

Written Answers. - Housing Grant.

Written Answers. - County Donegal Road.

Written Answers. - Housing Grant.

Written Answers. - Home Improvement Grant.

Written Answers. - Supplementary Reconstruction Grants.

Written Answers. - Kilkenny By-Pass.

Written Answers. - Naas By-Pass.

Written Answers. - Dungarvan Bridge.

Written Answers. - County Donegal Housing Grant.

Written Answers. - County Kilkenny Redundancy Payment.

Written Answers. - Galway Unemployment.

Written Answers. - State Body Worker-Directors.

Written Answers. - Kerry Factory Redundancies.

Written Answers. - Employment of School Leavers.

Written Answers. - Firm Closures.

Written Answers. - Paid Educational Leave.

Written Answers. - EEC Schemes for Young.

Written Answers. - AnCO Employees.

Written Answers. - Bord Na Móna Industrial Projects.

Written Answers. - Forest Thinning Utilisation.

Written Answers. - Rural Electrification.

Written Answers. - Coal Importation.

Written Answers. - Electric Convertor Unit Grants.

Written Answers. - Kinsale Gas Supply for West.

Written Answers. - Inishbofin Mineral Find.

Written Answers. - Export Levies.

Written Answers. - Trade Union Recruitment.

Written Answers. - Waterford Redundancies.

Written Answers. - County Donegal Unemployment.

Written Answers. - Waterford Unemployment.

Written Answers. - Consumer Complaints.

Written Answers. - New Garda Stations.

Written Answers. - Abortion Prosecutions.

Written Answers. - Sale of Contraceptives.

Written Answers. - Abortion Agencies.

Written Answers. - Court Appearance.

Written Answers. - Waterford Live Register.

Written Answers. - Employment Statistics.

Written Answers. - North Clare Phosphate Mines.

Written Answers. - Garda Housing.

Written Answers. - Defence Force Command Areas.

Written Answers. - Defence Equipment.

Written Answers. - Military Analyst's Report.

Written Answers. - Armoured Cars.

Written Answers. - Army Pensioners.

Written Answers. - Armoured Vehicles.

Written Answers. - Defence Forces Statistics.

Written Answers. - Fóir Teoranta Aid.

Written Answers. - Dún Laoghaire Berthing Facilities.

Written Answers. - County Tipperary Recreation Centre.

Written Answers. - National Schools.

Written Answers. - Dublin College Canteen Facilities.

Written Answers. - Western Health Board Medical Appointments.

Written Answers. - Mayo Disability Benefit Application.

Written Answers. - Occupational Injuries Claim.

Written Answers. - Purchase of Boatyards.

Written Answers. - Loans to Boatyards.

Written Answers. - Loans to Fishermen.

Written Answers. - Loans Guaranteed by BIM.

Written Answers. - Oil Subsidy to Fishermen.

Written Answers. - Telephone Service.

Written Answers. - Marine Search and Rescue.

Written Answers. - Mayo Airport.

Written Answers. - Housing Grant Inspections.

Written Answers. - Solid Fuel Grant.

Written Answers. - Meath County Council Finance.

Written Answers. - New House Grant.

Written Answers. - Job Losses.

Written Answers. - Kilcock (Kildare) Bakery.

Written Answers. - Kilcock (Kildare) Employment.

[1391] Chuaigh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar 10.30 a.m.

Paidir.

Prayer.

The Taoiseach:  It is proposed to take business in the following order: Nos. 2, 7 and 1. In item No. 7 the Votes will be taken in the order in which they appear on the Order Paper. Private Members' Business will be from 7 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. with item No. 15 resumed.

Dr. FitzGerald:  I regret raising this matter without giving the Taoiseach notice but I have not had an opportunity of doing so. I would like to ask him whether he would be willing to consult through the whips to see if it would be possible for a report to be made to this House today on the course of the fishing negotiations in Brussels in view of the disturbing reports which we have read this morning. I recognise we cannot expect an answer immediately but would the Taoiseach consider a consultation with the whips to see if something of the kind would be possible?

The Taoiseach:  I will consider that.

Mr. P. Barry:  Has the date for the budget been fixed yet?

The Taoiseach:  Yes.

Mr. P. Barry:  Would the Taoiseach mind telling us?

[1392]The Taoiseach:  I was ready to tell the Deputy yesterday but he never asked.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  I asked three times last week.

Mr. P. Barry:  I was so overjoyed that one of my constituents was made Minister for Finance that it slipped my mind.

The Taoiseach:  Subject to the convenience of the Opposition it is proposed to resume on Tuesday, 27 January and have the budget on Wednesday, 28 January.

Bill entitled an Act to amend and extend the Turf Development Acts, 1946 to 1980.

Minister for Energy (Mr. Colley):  I move: “That the Second Stage be ordered for Tuesday, 27 January 1981.”

Question put and agreed to.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  I move:

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £33,161,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 1980, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Health (including Oifig an Ard-Chláraitheora), and certain services administered by that Office, including grants to Health Boards, miscellaneous grants, and certain grants-in-aid.

The original Vote for Health for 1980 was £541,860,000, including a capital provision of £27,500,000. The first supplementary estimate which was agreed to last June totalled £93,190,000. The Supplementary Estimate covered the amounts required to meet the cost of approved special pay claims which is [1393] £88,390,000 and the cost of increases in cash allowances which had been provided for in the 1980 budget, £4,800,000. This brought the total approved Vote for Health for 1980 to £635,050,000.

The net total additional grant now estimated to be required is £33,161,000. The gross amount required is £43,311,000 but deductions totalling £10,150,000 fall to be made because of an estimated increase of £10 million in the amount to be realised by way of appropriations-in-aid and an anticipated saving of £150,000 on Subhead G7 the Grant to the Voluntary Health Insurance Board.

As I mentioned, the gross supplementary requirement amounts to £43,311,000. This is made up of: £36,311,000 for non-capital services, and, £7 million for capital services.

The additional grant required for non-capital services arises under the following broad headings:

£m.
Additional amount required to maintain essential health services in 1980 16
Pay costs arising from the second national understanding 10.7
Pay awards for certain grades of health personnel 7.261
Increases in social insurance contributions (employers' share) 1.85
Double payment for one week in weekly payment of cash allowances 0.5
Total 36.311

Despite the very commendable efforts made by health boards and other health agencies to effect all possible ecomomies in the running of the services in 1980 a number of adverse factors reduced to an extent the effectiveness of their programmes for securing economies, such as particularly heavy increases in certain commodities like heating oil, drugs and medicines, and medical and surgical appliances and equipment. It was found necessary in all the circumstances to provide additional assistance in the sum of £16 million to ensure that essential services could be maintained. Of the total [1394] amount of supplementary estimate sought, £2.35 million relates to the General Medical Services Scheme as financed through the General Medical Services (Payments) Board. The amount which relates to the drugs refund scheme and the long-term illness drugs scheme is £3 million. The balance of the increase is related largely to increases in costs associated with hospital services.

Of the gross amount required for non-capital services — that is £36,311,000 — pay accounts for £19.811 million made up as follows:

£m.
Second national understanding 10.7
Special pay claims 7.261
Increase in social insurance contributions (employers' share) 1.85
Total 19.811

Non-pay expenditure accounts for £16.5 million.

£m.
Drugs Refund Scheme and Longterm Illnesses Drugs Scheme 3.0
Double payment in one week to recipients of cash allowances 0.5
Other non-pay costs 13.0
Total 16.5

Pay accounts for about 54.6 per cent of the gross supplementary requirement for non-capital services and non-pay expenditure for about 45.4 per cent.

The provision for approved special pay claims covers cases which have already been approved, save in one instance where negotiations are still in progress. The cost involved in cases where approval has been given comes to about £7.131 million out of a total of £7.261 million included in the Supplementary Estimate. The major items are:

£m.
Further adjustment of pay of general nurses arising from clarification by the arbitrator of his arbitration finding 1.06
Award of £7.60 a week for nonnursing staff in voluntary hospitals and homes for the mentally handicapped, together with an equal pay settlement for the same staff 2.2
[1395]Pay award for radiographers 1.1
Regrading for catering officers 0.5
Increased premium payments for non-nursing staff 0.36
Pay award for public dental surgeons and psychologists 0.33
Pay award for child care workers 0.25

If the outstanding claim has not been settled before the end of the month then the provision included in the Supplementary Estimate — £130,000 — which is referable to the claim will not be drawn.

Arising from the question of surrendering unexpended funds which are authorised by the Dáil for specific purposes, I should perhaps refer to statements made recently in regard to the surrender in 1979 of amounts approximating to £27 million. A sum of £25,918,000 was included in the Supplementary Estimate of £72,480,000 for Health in 1979 to cover the cost of pay claims where negotiations had reached an advanced stage or where offers in settlement had been made. If agreement was not reached before the end of the year in respect of any of the claims not so far finally settled then the provision made in the Supplementary Estimate which was referable to any such claims would not be drawn.

In the event the total amount falling to be surrendered on the voted subheads was £22,942,269 made up as follows:

(i) £22,804,000 in respect of offers on special pay claims which were not finally settled before the end of 1979, the main constituent of which was £21.25 million in respect of offers made to nurses;

(ii) surpluses on miscellaneous subheads offset by some minor excesses — £138,269.

The surplus realised on appropriations-in-aid amounted to £4,046,159. The combined total of the amounts falling to be surrendered was £26,988,428. This amount was certified by the Comptroller and Auditor General. The accounts as certified will be reviewed by the Public Accounts Committee, as is the normal course, probably early in 1981.

[1396] The procedure followed was in strict accordance with established practice. Public moneys may be appropriated only on the authority of the Dáil, that is, expenditure may only be incurred within the limits of and the purposes of the amounts voted. Any sums for authorised purposes which are not expended, including any surplus of appropriations-in-aid realised, must be surrendered. While virement may be exercised with the sanction of the Minister for Finance, in regard to excesses and savings as between subheads, it relates to authorised expenditures, generally of a minor nature. Virement, or the swithching of moneys between subheads, was availed of in that way in 1979.

An amount equivalent to the provision of £22,804,000 for pay awards which was not drawn from the voted Supplementary Estimate for 1979 was included in the 1980 Supplementary Estimate for Health which was voted by the Dáil on 20 June 1980. This amount was paid out during 1980 in espect of retrospection, almost entirely to nurses.

The rates of social insurance contributions — employers' share — were increased as from April 1980. The employers in this instance are health agencies funded from the Department's Vote. The estimated amount required to meet the expenditure involved is £1.85 million.

In line with the provisions of the second national understanding and the approval already given on the social welfare side, a double payment is being made for one week in the amounts of the payments made to recipients of disabled persons maintenance allowances, infectious diseases maintenance allowances, blind welfare supplementary allowances and domiciliary care allowances for handicapped children. This will cost about £500,000 and is in addition to the amounts provided under the Social Welfare Supplementary Estimate.

I am seeking an additional sum of £7 million to meet capital expenditure on health projects in 1980.

The amount voted earlier this year for capital works was £27.5 million and, in addition, £0.5 million was available from [1397] the Hospitals Trust Fund making a total capital allocation of £28 million.

I had sought this £28 million in the context of the need for constraints in public expenditure in the current year and I had expected that by placing certain restrictions on the capital programme it would have been possible to manage within this allocation. However, despite these measures, this did not prove possible, due mainly to inflation and the fact that the output of work on the projects in progress in the restricted programme has been maintained at an unusually high level. It is estimated that inflation added some £5 million to the cost of schemes this year.

Accordingly an additional £7 million is required to meet commitments arising from this year's capital programme. I would like to explain that despite the restrictions imposed this year it was possible to maintain progress on 79 projects which were in course of construction at the start of the year and to allow a limited number of new works to start, the major works being Cheeverstown Mental Handicap Centre and the first phase of the development of St. James's Hospital, Dublin.

The 1980 Vote for Health provided for receipts amounting to £42.8 million. It is now expected that income will amount to £52.8 million. The increase of £10 million is made up of an increase of £8 million in receipts from health contributions and £2 million in receipts under EEC regulations.

The receipts from health contributions have been more buoyant than had been anticipated. The amount originally provided for in the original estimate was £35 million. It is now expected that the amount received in 1980 will come to about £43 million. When the original Estimate was prepared in 1979 there was no previous experience of the operation of an income-related contributions scheme which had commenced in April of that year. The position was also affected by the difficulties caused by the postal strike in that returns from employers were delayed. In the circumstances the income realised from health contributions [1398] in the first half of the contribution year 1979—80 was considerably below the level eventually reached. An upward drift in the overall level of pay also meant that the income from health contributions was further boosted. The increased receipts from health contributions in 1980 will mean that the level of Exchequer grant that would otherwise have been required can be significantly reduced.

As a result of negotiations with the British Department of Health and Social Security agreement has been reached that an increase will be made in their payments in respect of health services provided for persons for whom they are liable under EEC regulations. The additional receipts in 1980 over and above the amount provided for in the original estimate — £7.3 million — are expected to amount to £2 million.

While the increase in grant requirements as set out in the second Supplementary Estimate is very considerable, the major proportion of the increase on the non-capital services end is due to movements in prices and pay levels and to unavoidable expenditure on the capital side to meet commitments. I now ask the House to agree to the Supplementary Estimate of £33,161,000.

Mr. Boland:  By no stretch of the imagination can 1980 go down as having been a good year for health, for the Department of Health or for the progress of the health services, because it became clear very early on during the financial year that the best the Government were aiming for was to maintain, at the level of 1979 services, the existing health services. The fact that they failed even to achieve that objective is indicative of the lack of thought and foresight which was put into the planning of the current and capital budget by the Government at the commencement of the year and on the input made by the Department of Health and the Minister responsible in the prebudget negotiations and discussions which determine the share that each Department gets. Perhaps it was understandable. There was a new Minister in one of the largest spending Departments and one of the Departments that, traditionally, [1399] suffers when there is a recession or cut-backs.

At the commencement of the financial year we were constantly beleagured by statements and inspired leaks to the media by the Minister to give the impression that everything in the health garden was rosy and that there would be no cut-backs in the health services. That, more than anything else, has contributed to the sense of dissatisfaction, unease and unrest amongst the personnel in the health services because they were assured at the start of the financial year that all their needs would be met and that the new Minister had arrived, like a light from heaven, to implement all the necessary services. It was only as the year unfolded that we realised just how much of a shortfall there was in the Estimates provided, even for the continuation of the existing level of health services. The original Estimate of £541 million had, after a short while, to be supplemented by £93 million and, today, by this Supplementary Estimate which the Minister is seeking, of £33 million. On an original Estimate of £541 million the Minister has to look for a further £126 million — an increase overall on the original Estimate of 22 per cent.

As I said in relation to one of the accounting procedures in relation to the Department of Social Welfare, I do not think, even in inflationary times, that it redounds to the credit of the Government, or the officials in the Department that, at the out-turn of the financial year they have to admit that during the course of the year they had to come back twice to the House to seek increases of 22 per cent on the original Estimate.

I will give a supreme example of under-budgeting, which neither the Minister, his predecessor, nor his officials can say was outside their compass or had not been drawn to their attention. When legislation was being enacted to bring in the present health contribution system, to allow everybody over a certain figure to benefit from the refund in the cost of drug scheme, I pointed out to the Minister of the day, the present Taoiseach, that the amount he estimated as being necessary [1400] to pay for the refund of drugs and medicine scheme was totally inadequate and that he should think again. The Minister was adamant, presumably on the advice of his officials, but we see today on an original estimate of somewhere between £3 and £4 million, the cost of the scheme, the Minister having to ask for a further allocation of £3 million. in other words, in the course of this financial year, the cost of the refund of the drugs and medicine scheme has practically doubled over the original estimate.

A child going to primary school, with any knowledge of the trend in the health services, could have told the Minister and his personnel that the original estimate was inadequate and the scheme itself was designed to encourage people to seek prescriptions. It also encouraged the medical profession towards the prescription and dispensing of costly drugs. There should be far more care exercised on the part of the Department of Health, the General Medical Services Payment Board in relation to the GMS and the Health Education Bureau in relation to the prescribing and dispensing of over-expensive drugs and medicines. They are very often unnecessary for people who have them dispensed by chemists on the medical card scheme or on the refund of drugs and medicines scheme, at an unnecessary cost to the State and to the overall detriment of the health of people generally. I believe this scheme is encouraging the medical profession and the general public to develop into a pill popping society. I exhorted the Minister at the time to take care of the manner in which the scheme was introduced. I regret to say all the trends which I prophesied at the time now appear to be coming to light.

I appeal to the Minister and to the Health Education Bureau to redouble their belated efforts — I accept there are belated efforts now being made — to bring some sanity into drug costs and the prescribing of certain drugs, brand name drugs, rather than the generic type drugs. The Minister distributed to the Members of the House yesterday a document from the Health Education Bureau for 1981. That document shows clearly, in chart form, that certain drugs which have been [1401] widely prescribed have only the same remedial effect as other drugs which are not as popular in the public mind and can cost far more than cheaper drugs which perform a similar task. I have not got the document here but two of the most commonly used drugs which doctors prescribed are named valium and librium. There are similar drugs which can be prescribed far more cheaply and which are just as effective.

Unless an improvement can be brought about in the excessive cost of drugs and medicines provided by certain firms, action will have to be taken by the Department of Health on behalf of the taxpayers. It is not for me to say whether that involves the central purchasing of drugs in bulk or the setting up of certain machinery, price control and perhaps a prohibition on the sale and distribution of certain drugs. The situation is getting more and more serious and is not being controlled by the Department of Health.

I want to refer to the situation in our psychiatric services and to the physical conditions in so many of our psychiatric hospitals and institutions for the mentally handicapped. At last, thankfully, there is a growing awareness on the part of the general public of the deplorable conditions in which so many of our patients in psychiatric hospitals and mental institutions are living. The fault and the responsibility is ours. It is not good enough to blame society at large; the main responsibility rests with the House and with responsible, successive Governments who have not devoted the money which is necessary to improve the physical conditions in these hospitals. In the discussion on the Mental Services Bill we heard once again of the deplorable conditions under which so many of our psychiatric patients live. Many mentally handicapped patients who should not be intermingled with psychiatrically ill patients are now and have been traditionally accommodated in one institution under the same roof in outmoded, Victorian type institutions.

It is indicative of a lack of concern by the public and this House that, despite the fact that the media and some people [1402] in society are beginning to pay more attention to this area, in this year, when one might have hoped for a large input of a capital nature to bring about real improvement in the physical condition of the psychiatric services, we saw an increase of £500,000 — the capital estimate for 1979 was £27½ million and the Minister's estimate for 1980 was £28 million, with inflation running at 20 per cent. In real terms this means a severe cutback in capital services on the health side. Despite the Minister's reining in, restrictions and so on, the overspending for the year amounted to £7 million which forms part of this Supplementary Estimate of £33 million.

Within the last month a number of us got a document from the consultant psychiatrists employed in the Eastern Health Board. They made what has to be a very telling point. They said:

When requests are made to update the services to conditions more appropriate to this century — the stock answer is always that there is no money. There is money however, for General Hospitals. In the last few years the Department of Health has invested millions of pounds in this area with little or nothing being given to the psychiatric services. Does this mean that depressed patients are cherished less by the state than patients with Hypertension, or, Arthritis? From the state's track record this looks very much like the case. If this is so, it raises many questions about our society, particularly, constitutional ones.

They go on to say, and let us reflect on this for a moment:

Let us put it another way. If the state gave to the psychiatric and community services of the Eastern Health Board approximately twice the figure they promised to the electorate in Donegal in the recent by-election, the services could be updated. We are talking about thirty-five million pounds. Surely human dignity is as important as airports or will we use the airports to ferry the patients to destinations abroad [1403] where they can undergo treatment in more civilised conditions.

That is the question we ought to ask ourselves in this week before Christmas. That is the question the Minister for Health, now almost one year in office, should ask himself.

If the Minister has more muscle now than he had last year, when he was unable to get a fair share for the health services. I ask him to use it not for a real increase in the share of current expenditure in the health field for 1980, but for an increase of real measure on the capital side. The capital side has been starved of funds and consequently the improvement of physical conditions and facilities which bring about an improvement and updating in the medical services and standards of care being provided could not be made in 1980. I exhort the Minister for 1981 — I believe that it ought to be Government policy — that the emphasis should be on capital spending to improve services in a real way as well as providing much needed employment and a much needed boost for the construction industry.

I want to encourage the Minister to see a real increase in the capital services on the health side as part of an overall Government commitment towards the encouragement of employment and the boosting of the economy to expenditure on capital services. A large share of those capital services should be devoted, allocated and promised to the improvement of physical facilities in mental hospitals and pyschiatric institutions. I accept this will have to be over a phased programme but the need is there, and it is great, for a commitment to a five-year programme for the eradication of the Victorian workhouse for mentally handicapped and psychiatrically ill patients.

I promise the Minister the support of this party for any measures taken to help those who are mentally handicapped and the psychiatrically ill. The House realises that they are also constituents to whom we have a responsibility, which I do not believe we or our predecessors adequately exercised in the past.

[1404]An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy will appreciate that he cannot deal with the future.

Mr. Boland:  I have been reflecting on the existing level of services. The Chair might tell me how long I may speak.

An Ceann Comhairle:  This debate must end at 12 o'clock

Mr. Boland:  I appreciate that but I understand that the time allocated to each party may be shared among several speakers. Is that correct?

An Ceann Comhairle:  There is an informal agreement——

Dr. Woods:  I understand there are 25 minutes for each of the main parties.

Mr. Boland:  I understand that in the time allocated to each of the main parties more than one speaker could speak in that time, rather than Deputies being called in rotation.

An Ceann Comhairle:  That could be the position but officially I can only deal with the orders made.

Mr. Boland:  I accept that. The Minister referred to the fact that it was reported in the press that the Department of Health handed back £27 million. I accept entirely the Minister's explanation but it is regrettable that the transfer of these unexpended funds was represented to the public in that way. It is clear that money voted by the Dáil for a particular purpose, but not expended must be returned. They cannot be taken out of one pocket and put into another pocket. The public finances and accounting procedures are, perhaps, rather cumbersome but it is necessary to realise that they are devised in that way to provide proper checks and safeguards on behalf of the public Exchequer and the taxpayers.

An Ceann Comhairle:  On the basis of the informal agreement it would appear that the Fine Gael Party have until 11.15 a.m.

[1405]Mr. Boland:  In fairness to the Minister and the Department I accept that while there is a need for the expenditure of not only £27 million but multiples of that figure, the fact is that this money was voted by the Dáil last year in the event of a wage agreement being settled and money being there to meet that wage agreement. If that did not come about, the money had to be transferred to the Exchequer and be revoted. To some extent it is regrettable that people who are very anxious to see additional money spent in their areas might have been misled into thinking that there was in some way an uncaring attitude on the part of the Department. In fairness to the Department I have to make these remarks.

It is also appropriate to point out that the junior Minister for Health, Deputy Nolan, has been nominated to become a member of the Cabinet, and, as shadow Minister, I offer him my good wishes in his new role. One always has to admire a clever politican. I suppose it is a fair trick for a fellow to be in the Department of Health for a year, with special responsibility for child services, and manage to get out of the Department without issuing the report about child services. That is a fair trick for any Minister to do, and do on his way up rather than on his way sideways—

Mr. Horgan:  Diagonally.

Mr. Boland:  Possibly it is fair enough also because he was following in the footsteps of the present Taoiseach who managed to spend three years in that Department with responsibility for child services, come into it and get out of it without ever issuing the report on child services either. Can the Minister give us any indication if we are ever to get this report or will he wait until he gets promotion also?

Mr. Leyden:  Deputy Boland will not be there for much longer anyway.

Mr. Boland:  Whatever chance I may [1406] have, on the basis of the speech on Health made by Deputy Leyden on the last occasion, he has none anyway.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy has five minutes left.

Mr. Deasy:  He watered down the oil; that can be seen from today's paper.

Mr. Boland:  Their biggest achievement was to keep Deputy Doherty out of the Cabinet yesterday.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy has five minutes left for his party.

Mr. Boland:  I should like to give way because there are several other speakers anxious to contribute. In general I want to deplore the limited amount of time we have to discuss these Supplementary Estimates. This was not a happy year for the health services. In relation to the capital programme especially there was a real cutback which I hope will be reversed in real terms next year.

I was asked particularly to draw the attention of the Minister to the fact that he promised twice on recent occasions to announce the planning board for the new Tallaght Hospital in County Dublin. The composition of that board has not yet been announced, much to the detriment of that much-needed hospital. Perhaps the Minister would let us know when we may expect to see that board established and real planning for the provision of that hospital get under way.

I hope 1981 will be a better year than 1980, a year which can only go down in the memory of those employed in the health services as being the year when they did not have sufficient money even to buy elastoplast.

Mr. Deasy:  I regret that the £33 million now being voted is merely to make up for the under-estimation in the provisions voted earlier in the year and that it is not an additional sum of money for new works so badly needed.

I want to refer to that part of the Minister's speech devoted to capital grants-in-aid for hospital works, the provision [1407] of new hospitals and extensions to existing ones. I have raised at Question Time on several occasions the necessity for a new 100-bed replacement geriatric unit in Dungarvan to replace the present St. Joseph's Hospital which has been due for replacement for the last 30 years. The conditions obtaining in this hospital have been described as Dickensian. I could not dispute that fact. Deputy Boland in the course of his speech referred to Victorian workhouses. Conditions at that hospital could be described as Dickensian or Victorian but certainly they should not be tolerated in any civilised society. At Cabinet meetings when the Minister is seeking funds for projects, especially hospital projects for 1981, I hope he will make a point of ensuring that projects such as these are given the go ahead. I also want to see additional moneys being provided for the new general hospital to replace Ardkeen in Waterford, long due for replacement, the plans for which were presented to the Minister's predecessor. Can the Minister give us any hope that the moneys for the provision of these two long sought projects will be provided in the Estimates for 1981? We in the South-Eastern region suffered severe cut-backs in our health estimates for the current year, cut-backs which are disproportionate to those being imposed on other health boards. The projects I have mentioned have suffered as a result of these cut-backs.

I should like to bring to the attention of the Minister also the fact that annoyance was expressed at last week's meeting of the South Eastern Health Board with regard to his recent visit to St. Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny. While I have always found the Minister to be most courteous in his dealings with public representatives, and with Deputies in particular, I should like him to know that there was a deputation chosen to meet him to discuss some capital projects which had been discarded in 1980. That deputation intended asking him to provide the additional moneys necessary in 1981. They felt snubbed at the manner in which they were ignored on that occasion. Perhaps the Minister could elaborate on that visit [1408] when replying because it was severely criticised at last week's meeting of the board. I know that some members of the board felt their position was virtually ignored and they felt aggrieved.

I wonder if the Minister could elaborate somewhat on the sum of £0.5 million referred to regarding the Hospitals Trusts Fund. Is that the total amount of money coming from that fund in the current year and, if not, what is the total? Moreover, how does the total amount of money from this fund compare with the amount granted in previous years. If such comparison shows a downward trend perhaps he could tell us whether there are any moves afoot to substitute it with an alternative type of fund. It may be that the type of project used for raising funds of this nature has outlived its usefulness and is due for replacement.

Mr. Horgan:  The £33 million we are voting here today, as Deputy Deasy has said, is basically to allow for errors of estimation and matters which could not be adequately estimated when the original Estimate was introduced. It is crystal clear, however, that the Estimate does and can do absolutely nothing to meet the basic problem in this area. The basic problem in this area is that when the present Minister for Health assumed his present responsibilities he discovered that his immediate predecessor had done absolutely nothing for the preceding three years and had allowed the health services, our hospitals and other basic essentials of the health care system to, at best, mark time and at worst, actually get worse. Unfortunately, he did not have the option, available to some incoming Ministers of a new Government, of throwing up their hands in horror at the state in which they find the books of the Department with which they are entrusted, because the person who entrusted them to the present Minister is the person who had been immediately responsible for them just before he assumed office. The history of the Department of Health in the time of the Minister's predecessor was a tale full of sound and fury signifying very little. That is the basic problem the Minister faces [1409] and one that this Estimate will not and cannot solve.

I should like now to refer in some detail to some of the subheads being dealt with in this Supplementary Estimate. The first is in relation to the double payment being made to the recipients of certain cash allowances. These are identified as recipients of disabled persons maintenance allowances, infectious diseases maintenance allowances, blind welfare supplementary allowances and domiciliary care allowances for handicapped children.

When these allowances were first introduced we welcomed them from these benches, but we drew the Minister's attention to what we saw as a serious flaw in the scheme, one which I believe was drawn to his attention about the same time by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions under the terms of the national understanding. That flaw was that the double week's payment was being made only to people who became eligible in the week beginning 12 December, or who were already eligible at that date. It excluded a small number of people who will become eligible for these allowances in the final two weeks of December, including Christmas week.

I have no doubt that the number of people involved is relatively small. I have no doubt that the amount of money involved is relatively small. Therefore, it is all the more Scrooge-like of the Minister to deny the double week's payment to people who become entitled after the end of the week beginning December 12. I fail to understand how any excuse, such as administrative difficulties, could be pleaded in order to avoid giving a small amount of money to a very small number of people to make their Christmas just a little more bearable this year. I do not know what the final outcome will be of the discussions the Minister or his Department may have had with the congress people about this. Personally I regard this as a total breach of the spirit of the national understanding which is bitterly resented in many trade union quarters.

I should like to refer now to the drugs [1410] refund scheme. It is true, as Deputy Boland said, that very expensive drugs are over-prescribed. It is astonishing that an error of estimation of the order of 100 per cent should have been made in relation to the cost of this scheme. There are a number of other aspects of the scheme to which enough attention had not been paid up to now. In the first instance, over-prescribing of very expensive drugs predated the introduction of this scheme and will go on, no matter what refund of drugs scheme is in existence, for as long as the drug companies and their advertising agencies exercise so much control over the prescribing habits of our medical practitioners and are allowed to exercise so much control and influence.

It is also worth pointing out that it is not ultimately of very much satisfaction, except in cost terms, for a mother of six children whose husband becomes unemployed a fortnight before Christmas to be told that she is now being prescribed a less expensive but equally effective drug which will do the work of valium or librium. Drugs are not the answer to these people's problems which are rooted in a much deeper social and economic situation. We must beware of assuming that the answer to their problems is to reduce the prices of medicaments which are meant to keep people passive and docile in the face of appalling adversity.

I should like to ask the Minister a couple of questions about the refund of drugs scheme. First, is he aware of an apparently fairly recent practice by the Voluntary Health Insurance Board in relation to their own refund of drugs scheme. I am given to understand that a change of policy on the part of the board has meant that they refund their insured clients with £8 for drugs in any month. They point out, as they are entitled to do, that any excess of £8 for prescribed drugs can be recovered from the Eastern Health Board under the refund of drugs scheme.

I have no doubt that in some cases subscribers to the VHI will feel somewhat annoyed about this because the delays in the processing of payments under the refund of drugs scheme can be very considerable whereas, I imagine, the [1411] VHI administration is rather more efficient. What seems to be happening is that the VHI are off-loading a responsibility which they accepted at one stage in relation to their insured subscribers on to the public health services. I should like to ask the Minister the degree to which this may be partly responsible for the enormous percentage increase in the cost of the scheme.

The second question — and it is a key question — is to ask the Minister is he aware of the extent in which this scheme is being abused. I believe it is being abused in two significant ways. First, it is altogether possible that dockets and receipts issued by pharmacists for duly prescribed drugs can be altered by people who pay the bills and submitted in an altered form to the Eastern Health Board where the administrative staff, I would hazard a guess, are not remotely capable of doing any substantial amount of checking, much less checking back with the original pharmacist to find out what the amount of the original invoice was.

In the second place I believe that considerable pressure can be brought and is being brought by customers on pharmacists to issue receipts for non-prescribed medications in such a way as to make it appear that they were in fact issued on foot of a medical prescription. I have no doubt that the pharmacy trade is a very competitive one. The threat to a pharmacist of any substantial body of customers removing their custom to the pharmacist next door or down the street is a very real one and could put many pharmacists in an intolerable situation.

It would seem to me to have been essential from the outset of this scheme that a spot-check system should have been inaugurated and that sample checking should have been done in relation to the amount of the drug and whether or not it was actually prescribed. The scheme has now grown to such proprotions that one has to ask how much would it cost to adequately police and check out a scheme that involves the repeated processing of so many relatively small items of information over a very short period of time. The scheme is costing £6½ million [1412] now. I wonder how much would it cost the State to say in relation to all genuinely prescribed drugs that it would bear the cost. I tend to think the cost of adequately policing the scheme, added to the present cost of the scheme, would be very high.

The next thing I want to talk about is in relation to some detailed aspects of the Supplementary Estimate and in particular the work of the Health Education Bureau. On the whole, the Health Education Bureau does a magnificent job of work. It is an initiative in preventive medicine which was long overdue and, by and large, I would not grudge it a penny of the money it gets for this purpose.

I was offended in the extreme and disturbed yesterday to get through the post from the Health Education Bureau a 400-page expensively printed, expensively produced and expensively bound year book and diary. I have no doubt that every other Member of this and the other House got the same piece of literature. The relevance of this piece of propaganda to the cause of health education is marginal at best and almost certainly negative. I regard it as a total waste of money sanctioned by the same man who, wearing one of his other hats, closed down the combat poverty committee this month. I should like to ask the Minister to seriously consider whether the cause of health education or the cause of anything other than the fawning congratulations he may get from some of the recipients of this expensive piece of nonsense is well served in this way.

I should now like to deal with the question of Appropriations-in-Aid to which the Minister referred. It is interesting to note the substantial increase in the Appropriations-in-Aid but we have to remember that were it not for a particular aspect of the legislation which set up this inter-related scheme the Appropriations-in-Aid would be even greater. If I am not mistaken there is a cut-off limit of £7,000 for contributions under the income-related scheme. That means that anybody earning more than £7,000 — the secretary of a Government Department now earns £21,000 — is paying exactly the same as a person earning £6,999. That cut-off point is a real discrimination [1413] in favour of the rich in our society and one which removes further possible sources of resources from an under-financed health scheme.

In relation to the question of the money the Minister had to return to the Department of Finance during the year, I should like to state that we fully accept his explanation that in terms of normal accounting practices there was nothing else that could be done with the money and that the principle of virement only normally applies to relatively small sums and then with the sanction of the Department of Finance. I invite the Minister to consider this and give his personal views on the adequacy of this Victorian system of running a Government, or a Department of State, in the final two decades of the twentieth century. That Victorian accounting system adopted and perfected in Britain was basically designed to ensure that money was not wasted or expended for purposes for which it was not voted.

There is now substantial need to look at that system again and provide for much greater flexibility in the allocation of public finances so as to ensure that money voted for Health can be spent in Health on suitable projects with the approval of the Government, or the Department of Finance. One of the problems about public administration in this tradition is that it is basically a tradition which is devoted to the saving rather than spending of money. It is because it is a tradition devoted to saving rather than spending that it is not one which thinks in terms of always having, as every Government should have, on the shelf up to two dozen projects begging for money and ready to go into action at the drop of a Government cheque book.

Thinking positively about spending money would be a much better way of approaching the situation with necessary safeguards than the system we have inherited from the Victorians and should be reviewed, particularly at this stage in our history. This is a large Supplementary Estimate. It is a patching up operation, it meets the pay bills but it does not solve the basic problems and I do not think [1414] under this administration those basic problems will ever be seriously tackled.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Deputy Leyden has five minutes.

Mr. Leyden:  I should like to appeal to the Minister to provide money out of the Estimate for the provision of full maternity services in the county hospital in Roscommon town. This issue has been going on for many years, long before my membership of this House, and it has reached the stage where it is of paramount importance that a decision should be made to appoint an obstetrician-gynaecologist and paediatrician for the maternity unit at Roscommon County Hospital. The people of Roscommon have been patient in the negotiations between the Western Health Board, the authority of Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe and the Department of Health. Our patience is almost exhausted now. It is in the interests of the mothers and babies of County Roscommon that the provision of the services I mentioned should be made without further delay.

The maternity wing at the hospital is fully equipped and there is a full back-up staff. The other medical personnel necessary, such as a surgeon and physician, are also available. Without the appointment of an obstetrician-gynaecologist and paediatrician the unit cannot be regarded as a full maternity unit. I appeal to the authorities of the Ballinasloe hospital to come to terms immediately with the Western Health Board and agree on an application for a joint unit between that hospital and Roscommon County Hospital so as to ensure we have full services in Roscommon. It is interesting to note that the chairman of the Portiuncula hospital board is none other than Mr. Sean MacBride, S.C., a former Member of this House and a man of outstanding ability. However, in this regard he has not contributed anything to the debate between the two authorities. In fact, he has set out to frustrate the appointment in Roscommon County Hospital.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy [1415] should not refer to a person who is not a Member of the House.

Mr. Leyden:  He is a former Member and a former Minister.

An Ceann Comhairle:  That does not matter, he is not a Member at present.

Mr. Leyden:  I appeal to the board of the Ballinasloe hospital to finalise the situation and indicate if they are not prepared to work in a joint union with Roscommon County Hospital so that the Minister can recommend to Comhairle na nOspideil that Roscommon should have a proper maternity unit, working with the Western Health Board and the maternity unit at the Regional Hospital in Galway.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy's time is up.

Mr. Leyden:  I would like an opportunity to finish the point. You did not give me warning that I would have only a short time.

An Ceann Comhairle:  This is an informal agreement. I had nothing to do with it. All I am concerned with are the times that are arranged.

Mr. Leyden:  I appeal to the Minister to finalise the arrangements this year to provide the consultants and to come and visit the hospital when those consultants' appointments are made and I assure him of a great reception. We in Roscommon have waited a long time for these appointments to be made and I hope that this Supplementary Estimate will go to some extent to provide those appointments in 1981.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Deputy O'Brien has two minutes.

Mr. W. O'Brien:  I am interested in an application which has been made for a special kidney machine for the mid-west region. At present it will be argued that the number of people seeking this specialised kidney service in the mid-west is small. Nevertheless, the number is [1416] increasing yearly and, as a result, when we survey the number of people involved and where they have to go for such a machine we find that most of those people have to go to Galway, Dublin or Cork. In one case in my county a person, a young girl, had to leave home and take up a job in Galway in order to be near this specialised service. I am here today to appeal to the Minister to give prime consideration to an application from the Mid-Western Health Board in the very near future for this service.

I have about half a minute to go. I would like to raise something in connection with the choice of doctor scheme. The number of patients allowed on a panel, 2,000, is grossly in excess of what any doctor could serve. In my county, and I would say that the same applies throughout the country, the doctors are not capable of giving the service to so many people and as a result we find bitterness and friction between patients and doctors because doctors are not able to come out late at night. The good reputation and the good name of the medical profession, of the GPs who always had the tradition of the bedside manner, are dying fast. I appeal to the Minister to do something about reducing the number of patients on a panel.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  Perhaps I should say first and foremost that I am somewhat disappointed that none of the Deputies in the course of all the contributions thanked me for getting these funds to maintain the level of services during the year, which aspect, of course, is relevant. I take it from what has been said in the House that the Deputies all round welcome the provision of these additional funds to maintain the services and to allow in particular the opening of many new units which, unfortunately, once opened run into current continuing expenditure.

We have a large number of projects under way — I have mentioned 79. People have mentioned Donegal in the course of this debate. I should point out that I was responsible for opening a reasonable number of units in Donegal because this was planned from the beginning [1417] of last year. I had to leave the opening until late in the year because of the provision of finances for the running costs of these units, but it allowed me to open these units as the year went on, and this was always our intention.

Deputy Boland said that in his view this has not been a good year for the health services. The health services have improved in many aspects and a number of projects have gone ahead in very major ways in the course of the year. I mentioned 79 projects. These are all advancing to different stages. We commissioned a very large number of projects so far as these areas are concerned and I could not take up the time of the House at this stage to mention all of them, but it was a very good year for a very large number of units in the health services. Cavan Surgical Hospital, Ennis County Hospital, St. John of God's, Cahercalla, the Mercy Hospital and St. Finbarr's in Cork all have had additional units and pieces of equipment provided. There is the pathology laboratory and X-ray department in Letterkenny Hospital, Temple Street Hospital, Dr. Steevens Hospital, the Mater Hospital, a very large list of developments during the year. Of course, all of these developments were important and it was a worthwhile year.

Deputy Boland, particularly, criticised the Supplementary Estimates, especially the previous one for £93 million. It was always quite clear that there would be a requirement for the special pay awards of which he is very much aware as are all Members of the House, which was £88.3 million of the £93 million. This was not a question of a lack of estimation, it was a question of the conclusion of the work of an arbitrator.

Deputy Boland expressed concern about the drugs refund scheme and I would agree with him. I would be quite concerned to ensure that this scheme works as efficiently as possible without harassing people unduly in the course of any of our activities. I am looking at this at present and I think the Deputy gave me some credit for that. I will try to make it as efficient as possible mainly because I want to see the services working as [1418] widely and efficiently as possible for the community.

In particular, Deputy Boland raised the question of the psychiatric services. He talked about deplorable conditions and the letters circulated by consultant psychiatrists in the Eastern Health Board. There has been considerable debate in recent times on the question and a good deal of criticism about conditions in psychiatric hospitals. I would like at first to make quite clear one aspect which was involved in this criticism, that is that the Secretary of my Department of Health has been criticised personally and publicly by some of these people who were consultant psychiatrists. This was grossly unfair, inaccurate and ill-founded criticism and, because I regard the Secretary of my Department as one of the finest public servants that you will find within the public service as a whole, totally committed and dedicated to public service and regarded as such throughout the public service, I want to put on record that I refute totally and unequivocally the comments made in that regard. There has been general criticism about the conditions in the psychiatric units.

Mr. Boland:  Did the Minister clarify by whom?

Dr. Woods:  I did, I said by members in the public media.

Mr. Boland:  Was it by consultant psychiatrists in the public media?

Dr. Woods:  Yes. The Deputy should let me speak now. I did not interfere with him when he was talking. Since I became Minister for Health about a year ago I have visited a number of mental hospitals throughout the country in which institutional services for the psychiatrically ill are provided. In a number of them that I visited the standard of the environment in which the services are provided is of the very highest quality, and I want to make that quite clear. The atmosphere is warm and caring and the staff at all levels are totally involved in and committed to the care and activation of all the patients. It is significant that the Nurse of the Year [1419] Award recently went to Nurse Marian Doyle from St. Senan's in Enniscorthy, a hospital dealing with the psychiatrically ill. Many of the staffs in these services have been offended by the statements which have been made publicly, especially given the fact that they have been doing such an excellent and caring job and have improved their own environment so well. Buildings which are old and outdated by modern standards have been adapted and renovated so that they are functional and at the same time comfortable. They have been decorated and furnished with imagination with regard to the need to preserve the privacy and dignity of the individual patient.

Furthermore, where new buildings have been provided they have contributed to the comprehensiveness of the complex and have enhanced the services which the institution provides. I have mentioned some of the buildings I have visited and some which are quite outstanding in this respect include St. Fintan's, Portlaoise, St. Conal's in LetterKenny, St. Loman's in Mullingar, St. Davnet's in Monaghan, St. Dympna's in Carlow and St. Senan's in Enniscorthy. These are all units some of which are very old but which have carried out the kind of adaptation that was encouraged by my predecessor and indeed predecessors. On the other hand, there are buildings of the same general age in other institutions where there is a general air of neglect and where apathy rather than activity seems to be the order of the day. Incidentally, there are new buildings in these institutions which in some instances have assumed the aura of neglect which characterises the older buildings. I have found these contrasts very puzzling and this is something I personally intend to pursue.

If we take St. Brendan's, which has been publicised so much recently, and in particular the alleged failure of my Department to provide money for it, there are two aspects to this matter. First, let us take the long-run situation for the kind of patient now in St. Brendan's. This is a huge complex of buildings, some over 150 years old. The number of patients has been dropping steadily and in the [1420] past 15 years has declined from 1,614 to 1,065. Modern developments in psychiatric care which in the Dublin area have included considerable development in outpatient treatment facilities, including day hospital, outpatient clinics and hostels, have contributed to this decline in patient population. Nevertheless, it must be recognised that a number of patients must remain in psychiatric hospitals and that facilities in them must be satisfactory. As regards St. Brendan's, there have been many innovations and improvements in recent years, including a new admission unit, a new outpatients' department and new nurse- training facilities. In all, since 1966 £1 million has been spent on such developments.

Capital allocations to health boards are divided into two categories; first there are allocations for specific major projects which are selected according to the priority of the health board. In this regard I should say that the Eastern Health Board did not, in spite of all the protestations in recent times, list works—particularly to St. Brendans—at St. Brendans as a first priority for major capital development in proposals submitted to my Department for the years 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980.

To take the specific major allocations first, in 1977 a total allocation of £600,000 for specific projects was made available to the Eastern Health Board. None of this was for St. Brendan's. In 1978, £1.15 million was made available for specific projects and £400,000 of this went to St. Brendan's. In 1979 £890,000 was made available for specific projects of which £370,000 was for St. Brendan's. In the present year the allocation to Eastern Health Board projects was £260,000 of which £150,000 was for St. Brendan's.

Secondly, there are minor capital schemes. For the years 1977, 1978 and 1979 each health board received an allocation from which it could spend money at its choice on capital schemes costing not more than £50,000. In 1977 the Eastern Health Board was allocated £300,000 under this arrangement. It assigned £62,000 to St. Brendan's. In 1978 the board received £350,000 for minor capital schemes. It allocated £92,000 to St. Brendan's. In 1979 it received £400,000 for [1421] minor capital schemes and it allocated nothing to St. Brendan's: so, of over £1 million available to the Eastern Health Board in the three years 1977-1979 for minor capital schemes, only £154,000 was provided by the board for St. Brendan's.

I am also aware that in the years 1977-79 the Eastern Health Board were provided with revenue resources amounting to £6.2 million for expenditure upon the upkeep and maintenance of their hospitals and clinics. I am, as I said earlier, somewhat puzzled by the contrast in the standards of some psychiatric hospitals.

(At this stage the proceedings of the House were interrupted by intruders.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  We will proceed with the business.

Mr. Boland:  Is there no security?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Chair will make some inquiries about the matter.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick:  (Cavan-Monaghan): Suppose they had guns what would happen?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  I presume they should never have got further than the main gates.

Mr. Boland:  I fear we shall have to talk about security here if that sort of thing can happen, if people can get into the Chamber like that.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Chair deplores the fact that something like this could happen.

Mr. W. O'Brien:  This is the worst effort I have ever seen.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick:  (Cavan-Monaghan): I want to say in restrained terms that it is rather alarming that what has happened could possibly happen. These people have got right into the Chamber and right up to your Chair. It is alarming in the extreme. If these people had guns [1422] with them there could have been a dreadful result here today. There is something lacking somewhere.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Chair felt a little frightened at one stage.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick:  (Cavan-Monaghan): I should be failing in my duty if I sat here and did not say that we have just seen an exhibition of complete and utter lack of security in and around this House.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Chair will have the matter investigated and will ask the Cheann Comhairle to report to the House.

Mr. W. O'Brien:  This is a scandal. It would not happen in any other country.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick:  (Cavan-Monaghan): I am glad that the Chair will have the matter investigated, but it is significant also that even when these people got in here there did not seem to be adequate manpower to get them out.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Things happen so quickly in some of these cases.

Mr. Mitchell:  I do not think we can minimise the seriousness of what has happened.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  We cannot debate the matter now. The Chair has undertaken to have the matter investigated and to ask the Ceann Comhairle to report to the House.

Mr. Mitchell:  I think I am entitled to express my point of view. Suppose they had attacked the Minister or one of the Deputies here and there was serious injury or even death in the House. Would we not look very foolish? Could I suggest that the Chair adjourn the Dáil to have the seriousness of this——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Chair has informed the Deputy that he will have the matter investigated and will ask the Ceann Comhairle to report back to the [1423] House. We cannot adjourn the House at this stage. I think things are under control now. I am calling on the Minister to conclude. He has only a couple of minutes left. I am sorry about all this.

Dr. Woods:  I accept that the Leas-Cheann Comhairle will have the matter investigated. I want to congratulate him on his cool handling of the situation, which he dealt with very effectively.

As I said earlier, I am somewhat puzzled by the contrast in the standards of some psychiatric hospitals. I have seen for myself that parts of St. Brendan's are bad. Why should they be so bad when the board had at its disposal moneys of the order of £7 million in the three years 1977-79 to spend at their discretion? Why, in addition, did the board not accord St. Brendan's first priority in seeking resources for major capital projects? These are the questions and I intend to pursue them with the board. I do not intend to be diverted from this by the protestations of the people who are possibly attempting to divest themselves of responsibility which they themselves carry. I assure Deputies that this is a matter that I shall take very seriously in the coming year and I shall do what I can within the resources available to me to deal with the situation.

Numerous other points were raised by Deputies and I should be glad to reply to them in full but we do not have the time now. I will communicate with Deputies who asked specific questions. The report on child services to which Deputy Boland referred is with the printers and I expect we will have it early in the New Year.

Vote put and agreed to.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The debate in this case will conclude at 1.30 p.m. That means a 90-minute debate. A suggestion before the Chair from the Whips is that the Minister will open the debate and will be allowed 20 minutes; Fine Gael will be allowed 25 minutes as [1424] will the Labour Party. The Minister will have 20 minutes for his reply.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  I move:

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £12,399,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December 1980 for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for the Environment, including grants to Local Authorities, grants and other expenses in connection with housing, and miscellaneous schemes and grants including a grant-in-aid.

The Supplementary Estimate for Environment is required to meet additonal expenditure on 11 subheads of the Department's Vote. The amount involved is £12,399,000 bringing the total for the Vote for Environment in 1980 to £289,305,000.

The amounts provided for “pay” in the original estimate did not, in accordance with standard practice, make provision for the extra amounts needed to implement pay awards negotiated during the year. Such awards include the application of the first phase of the second national understanding 1980, the implementation of the second phase of the recommendations of the interim report of the Review Body on Higher Remuneration in the Public Sector and of a number of special increases awarded to other grades. The total extra amount being provided for pay in the Supplementary Estimate is £477,000. Departmental staff covered by subhead A.1. of the Vote account for £428,000 of this amount. The grant-in-aid to An Foras Forbartha is being increased by £41,000. An extra £6,000 is being provided in subhead L to cover the cost of these pay awards in the case of the National Road Safety Association and the Medical Bureau of Road Safety. The remaining £2,000 is in subhead Q in respect of An Bord Pleanála.

The increase of £150,000 for subhead B for travelling and incidental expenses arises because of increases in the rates of travelling and subsistence allowances, [1425] effective from 1 January 1980 in each case. There was also increased activity on inspections generally but particularly in the housing grants area where every effort was made to have the maximum number of applications inspected with the least possible delay.

On subhead B.2. for office machinery and other office supplies the increase is £17,000. This amount is needed to enable the Department to meet their unavoidable commitments for the year arising from the purchase of essential equipment. The additional £50,000 required for Post Office services is for the most part due to the delay in receipt of accounts because of the postal strike last year.

An additional £4 million is being provided in subhead E.2. for private housing grants. The original allocation was £23 million — £8.5 million being earmarked for new house grants and £14.5 million for house improvement grants. An unexpectedly large number of applications were made for both the ordinary improvement grants and the special improvement grants to reduce dependence on oil for domestic heating. It became clear that the budget provision would be inadequate and the Government approved a supplementary provision of £4 million in September. This brings the total allocation for the year to £27 million which is the highest on record, enabling the payment of over 50,000 grants in all.

I have already mentioned the extra amount of £6,000 being provided in subhead L to meet additional pay costs of the National Road Safety Association and the Medical Bureau of Road Safety. The remaining £5 million of the extra provision is for payment of road grants which brings the total provision under this heading for road grants for 1980 to £52,969 million.

Since assuming responsibility for the Department of the Environment I have been considering in detail future requirements for the road network. I am very conscious that the growth of our economy, with the attendant growth in road traffic, has placed a severe burden on the [1426] road network, emphasised particular deficiencies in the system and the adverse effects which these deficiencies can have on the achievement on national development. I am fortunate to have available to me the Road Development Plan which was published last year and which outlined a programme of work designed to eliminate the existing deficiencies in the road system and to cater for anticipated growth on the more important sections of it. This plan provides for flexibility in the timing of projects, having regard not merely to the availability of finance, but to progress by the road authorities in planning, design and the acquisition of land by agreement or by compulsory purchase.

I can assure the House of the Government's and my personal commitment to the implementation of the proposals as set out in the Road Development Plan. I am at present preparing a programme of works for 1981 which I am confident will go a long way towards eliminating deficiencies in the road system, with particular emphasis on the principal routes and also on ensuring a satisfactory standard of maintenance. This programme will, in particular, place special emphasis on strengthening the existing road structure and on the improvement of roads which will provide the infrastructural base essential for industrial development. Indeed the contribution which such a programme of works can make to the industrial, commercial and social life of the community is immense. I am also fully aware of the invaluable supplementary benefits that will be derived from a full roads programme in that it will create activity in the construction industry; generate employment both on-site and offsite and utilise materials and equipment of Irish manufacture.

The increased voted provision of £52.969 million for road grants for 1980 has enabled the allocation of grants to the unprecedented level of £58.46 million. These grants represent a significant commitment on the part of the Government to tackle the deficiencies in the road system, as identified in the Road Development Plan. The grants have also contributed largely to the high level of [1427] employment that has been sustained on the works programmes of the road authorities. In particular, the supplementary sum of £5 million now being sought forms part of the Government's undertaking in the national understanding to maintain and stimulate employment.

Before leaving the subject of roads I think it is appropriate that I refer briefly to the question of road safety and to the work of the National Road Safety Association. The contribution of this association to the improvement of safety standards on our roads is immense. The National Road Safety Association are responsible for the organisation and implementation of road safety campaigns. The Association has organised a winter campaign which will extend over Christmas and into the New Year, highlighting pedestrian and cyclist safety and the menace of drinking and driving. At the association's request, and with the co-operation of Radio Telefís Éireann, I have made a special appeal for extra care on the roads over the Christmas period.

Traffic Accident Facts as published annually by an Foras Forbartha indicates that the human factor contributes in nine out of ten accidents. They make it clear that as far as drivers are concerned, the main contributory factors are excessive speed and drinking and driving, while for pedestrians the main faults are careless crossing of roads and failure to make themselves more visible on the roads at night. Failure on the part of drivers and front seat passengers to wear safety belts increases the severity of injuries in accidents, resulting in many deaths. I would appeal to everyone to make a very special effort during the festive season so that accidents will be kept to a minimum.

The additional £500,000 provided for in subhead N arises from the decision to introduce an interest subsidy as a temporary measure to building societies. Building societies' investment and mortgage rates remained at 9 per cent and 14.15 per cent respectively during 1979. The level at which societies pitch their investment rate is of the utmost importance in attracting new funds to enable them to meet the demand for mortgage [1428] finance and assist in financing the Government's housing programme. In setting their investment rate societies are conscious of other competitive rates, mainly those of the associated banks. Traditionally, societies have always maintained a differential over the minimum bank investent rate. However, their rate of 9 per cent which operated throughout 1979 was 1 per cent below the minimum bank rate of 10 per cent which came into effect in June 1979. Because of the direct relationship between the investment rate and the mortgage rate, I know that in taking the decision not to increase their investment rate after the bank rate increase in June 1979 societies were conscious of the hardship which would be created for existing borrowers. However, it is clear that the size of their inflows in the first half of 1979, consequent on the repatriation of funds as a result of the imposition of exchange controls following Ireland's entry into the EMS, had a major bearing on this decision.

Following a further increase in the banks' minimum investment rate from 10 per cent to 11.5 per cent with effect from 11 April 1980 the building societies informed my predecesor of their proposal to increase their investment rate from 9 per cent to 10.75 per cent which would necessitate an increase in the mortgage rate from 14.15 per cent to 16.5 per cent. Following a meeting of representatives of the Irish Building Societies Association and the Taoiseach, the Minister for Finance and the former Minister for the Environment, a working group was set up to examine the problems faced by societies and to make recommendations in the matter. The group unanimously recommended that an immediate increase in building society investment rates to 10.75 per cent was warranted as the minimum increase necessary to enable societies to retain their existing funds. The group also accepted that the mortgage rate had to be increased to 16.5 per cent to enable societies to meet the extra liabilities incurred by the increased deposit rate.

Following consideration of the report of the working group, and conscious of the severe hardship which would otherwise [1429] have been created for borrowers, the Government decided to make available, on a temporary basis, a direct payment by way of subsidy to the societies for the purpose of enabling them to offer such rate of interest on shares and deposits as might be specified from time to time, thereby obviating the need to increase the mortgage rate from its existing level of 14.15 per cent. Having regard to the current level of interest rates generally an investment rate of 10.75 per cent was specified for this purpose.

This subsidy was a temporary measure and the need for it was to be kept under constant review in the light of changes in interest rates generally and inflow of funds into the societies. I am pleased that the downward trend in interest rates generally in recent months has made it possible to terminate the subsidy with effect from 1 October 1980. The cost to the Exchequer in 1980 will be that in respect of the month of June only. While the investment rate was increased from 1 May 1980 the mortgage rate increase did not take effect until 1 June 1980.

Provision was made in a supplementary estimate passed in June last for £1.4 million to meet the requirements arising this year in respect of the subsidy to building societies. The Revenue Commissioners have since drawn attention to the fact that because of the requirements of the Corporation Tax Act, 1976, building societies will be required to pay tax in respect of the subsidy. Such a reduction in the net amount receivable by the societies would not have been in accordance with the Government decision or with the purposes for which the subsidy was provided. It is therefore necessary to increase the amount of the payment to the societies in order to ensure that their net receipts after tax will be £1.4 million. It is for this purpose that the additional £500,000 is being provided in the Supplementary Estimate.

Following on the further reduction in bank interest rates by the associated banks I had a number of discussions with representatives of the Irish Building Societies Association on their interest rates and future policy generally and I am [1430] pleased to note that they have decided to further reduce their lending rate with effect from January 1981.

The extra £2 million in subhead O for malicious injuries arises because of the difficulty of estimating at the beginning of the year the likely recoupment to local authorities in respect of decrees granted and arising from payment within the year. The amount of claims falling on the Exchequer in any year depends on the number and nature of the claims made on local authorities and the speed with which claimants can have their claims processed and, of course, the decision of the courts as to liability and amounts to be granted in individual cases. It is not possible therefore to predict with any degree of accuracy in advance the amount of the successful claims which fall to be borne by the Exchequer in any particular year.

Finally on subhead S — Appropriations-in-aid — receipts are likely to be £205,000 lower than expected. A shortfall of £440,000 on one heading will be partially offset by £235,000 more being realised elsewhere.

It is expected that there will be a shortfall of £440,000 in receipts from driving test fees. This is due to the level of applications being lower than anticipated and to the refund of fees to those applicants who were exempted from the driving test under the temporary arrangements which were introduced in October last year.

A small increase of £15,000 is expected in the expenses repayable by local authorities in respect of the combined purchasing system operated by the Department.

Receipts from fees for certificates of reasonable value and the new house structural guarantee scheme will increase by £65,000 and £70,000, respectively as a result of an upward revision of the level of both these fees earlier this year. Increased receipts are also expected on the miscellaneous heading. The amount of the increase in this case is £85,000 which for the most part is attributable to the refund of salaries of officers on loan to outside bodies.

[1431]Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick:  (Cavan-Monaghan): With reference to the incident which took place in the House when we had intruders here a short while ago, I hope the House will have a full explanation of how it happened and what proposals are in train to prevent a recurrence.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Chair has asked that that should be done and the Ceann Comhairle will report briefly to the House at some stage.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick:  (Cavan-Monaghan): This Supplementary Estimate of £12,399,000 forms part of a package of Supplementary Estimates which have been introduced in the House and are on the agenda for introduction amounting to £463 million. That sum of £463 million represents a supplementary budget for the year and not a Supplementary Estimate and it displays a complete lack of budgeting and planning in the Departments at the beginning of the year. It represents make-believe budgeting. In the Department of the Environment this type of budgeting has penetrated right down to the local authorities on the direction of the Minister. Last year local authorities were limited in the amount of finance they could provide for their services and it was well known that the Estimates being introduced were grossly inadequate. The Minister gave a direction that he would only allow a 10 per cent increase in finance for local authorities at a time when everybody knew that inflation was raging at about 20 per cent. The Minister can introduce Supplementary Estimates, but again, by ministerial direction the various local authorities were prevented from introducing Supplementary Estimates and the result was inevitable and obvious: services were cut down.

The Minister talked about his future plans for roads and said that he intends to improve the roads and has said how important they are. Is the Minister aware that as a result of Government action roads are deteriorating? Our roads are a national and international disgrace. The [1432] potholes have proliferated at an alarming rate and there are signs of the complete neglect of the road network as a result of Government action. Not enough money was provided in 1980 to pay the road work force and the people who went to the wall were the roadworkers. The Government could have provided adequate funds by way of Supplementary Estimates so that the men could be retained and materials and machinery purchased. That would have been a sensible thing. The Government could have let the men go from about September on in large numbers, but that would have been extremely bad politics and would have embarrassed the Government.

The third choice was to put the men on short-time and the Government selected that option because it was less damaging to their ego and it would cosmetically get over the difficulties. However, a man with three children employed by a county council for a five-day week had a take-home pay of £61 on average but that same man on a three-day week became entitled to unemployment benefit and with what he got from the county council and the Department of Social Welfare came home with £74. I do not begrudge him that, and it would make economic sense if the employer were a private individual who, due to the recession, did not get the orders and wanted to save on the transaction and to pay the man for a three-day week with only half his wages and the Department of Social Welfare would pay the other half. But here we have the same purse paying the three-day week wages and the three-day social welfare benefit and the net result is that for £14 more the nation gets half the work. The Roscommon County Council pointed that out in those terms, got in touch with the Minister for Finance and suggested that the money should be transferred from the Department of Social Welfare to the Department of the Environment so that the men could be retained. The men wanted work and not unemployment benefit. The former Minister for Finance, who has now gone to Brussels, said that that would require legislation but even if that could be done there was more in creating jobs than [1433] paying wages. What the Minister was saying was that the council had not been allowed to budget for tarmacadam, gravel or the hire of machinery and that, even if these men were retained, there would be no work for them although the potholes are still gaping and the roads deteriorating. That is the sense of madness that has decended into the running of local authorities and the running of the Department. This Minister is only a short time in office and I hope there will be no repetition of this. To understand what is happening is to become convinced that the Government is being badly run and that the taxpayers are getting extremely poor value for the money being extracted from them.

We are creating potholes and deteriorating roads and running up bills for next year, the year after and every other year. This is an example of lack of planning and of not running our finances properly. There is £4 million provided here for housing grants. What would be required if loans were available to people to build houses and complete them so that they could apply for grants? Local authorities have been starved of money for house loans. They have reached the stage now when they are not prepared to cover any longer. They are saying to applicants for loans “We will pay your loan when we get an allocation of money from the Department of the Environment”. In the meantime, the unfortunate housebuilder is paying enormous interest on a bridging loan and the £1,000 grant is eroded by the time it is obtained. It is extraordinary that, notwithstanding that housing grants were cut off as from January last, there still was not enough money to pay the grants which the Minister and his Department must have known were accumulating. I regret to have to say that I find it difficult to accept from the Minister that these demands for house improvement or reconstruction grants came as a surprise. The announcement was made on 21 January 1980 that all grants were stopped unless work had already commenced on that date and unless applications were in before 1 February. No unexpected applications could have come within that category.

[1434] The Department of the Environment housing section is in chaos and I do not blame the staff for that. They were certainly hounded because of the decision of the Minister in charge of that Department. I get as good a service from the Department of the Environment as any other Deputy, but it is impossible to get house grants paid within a reasonable time. Like other Deputies, I have been forced now to resort to the parliamentary question instead of the letter which adds more work on to the Department staff. Deputies are not resorting to the parliamentary question just for fun. They are resorting to it as the only means of getting any sort of final answer from the Department about grants.

The Minister has provided further travelling expenses for the inspectorate because there has been more activity among inspectors during this year as a result of increased grants. All I can say is that there is not half enough activity yet. The Minister should realise that the longer these grants are withheld from people — whether they are the £1,000 grant, the outstanding home improvement grant or the fuel conversion grant — the less valuable they are. They are being eroded by inflation and by payment of interest and are less valuable to the unfortunate people who are waiting for them.

What proposals has the Minister to put the local authorities in funds to pay the people who are waiting for the £12,000 loans, inadequate as they are? It is no answer for the Minister to tell me that the loans are now higher than they were when we were in power, and he will tell me that. When he is saying that, he should not forget that the average price of a house has jumped from £12,000 in 1976 to £28,000 in the third quarter of 1980, an increase of about two-and-a-half times. The £1,000 grants are being withheld from people and successively eroded and wasted by inflation and by payment of interest on bridging loans.

There is some provision here for certificates of reasonable value. The Minister introduced his regulations dealing with these certificates on 24 September [1435] last. He should keep a close eye on these certificates of reasonable value and the process and machinery within his Department for dealing with them. The procedure lends itself to delay. It is so hard to sell houses at the moment that the building contractors, those building and selling houses, are accepting suggestions from the Department, but the procedure is very cumbersome and there are more and more queries from the Department, which leads to delay. When people have to resort to the Circuit Court by way of appeal, delays will become intolerable.

I do not want to take up all the time available, because Deputy Willie O'Brien will have a contribution to make. I conclude by saying that the Minister's Department is in a financial shambles. The Minister's direction to local authorities has created chaos and insane economic procedures in every local authority. The procedures for housing grants must be expedited and people must get grants when they are due to them. If the Minister were to put far more staff into the Department's housing section where the chaos built up in February and the subsequent months of this year, he would be doing a good job. If the country, as a whole, is being run like the Department of the Environment by the Minister, and by the local authorities on the Minister's direction, then it is no wonder that we have the gloomy reports, both national and international, which we are having.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Deputy Tully has 25 minutes, if he wishes to take it. Deputy O'Brien will then have the other five minutes which is left for the Opposition Deputies.

Mr. W. O'Brien:  I thank the Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

Mr. Tully:  Like Deputy Fitzpatrick, I am appalled by the spate of Supplementary Estimates which have come before this House in the last six weeks. £463 million is an enormous amount and under normal circumstances and with a normal Government one would expect the situation to be dealt with in a different way. These things have to be provided for and [1436] it is simply piling up the money which will have to be added on to deficits going into 1981.

With regard to the amount of money mentioned in this Vote, £12,399,000, it is only fair to say that we are not talking about additional money which will be spent now. We are talking about money which has already been spent. The next couple of weeks will have the tail end of it but in the main the money has already been spent. It might be no harm if the Minister pointed this out to his back benchers, who, having seen the Vote for this sum of money, have been going around promising that this additional money was coming in the months of December and January. They know so little about budgetary affairs that they will be spending this in the early part of next year.

I do not know, as I said recently, if the Minister and the other Ministers are living in a world different from the one the rest of us are living in because one gets the impression, listening to Ministers in the House, that they are living away back several years ago. I am not blaming this Minister for what has happened here. A game of draughts is being played by the Taoiseach who has been moving Ministers about. Some of them felt the draught the first time the move was made. The draughts are moving along and there is no point in moving a Minister or the draughts into an impossible position where they will be taken straight off the board. A few of the Ministers found themselves in that position. Unfortunately, the Minister who is in charge of the Department of the Environment knows now, but he will not get an opportunity of knowing it next year, that what he has been given is a position as Minister for the Environment where, because of a weak predecessor who was not able to fight his corner in the Cabinet, the Department of the Environment got less money than they needed to carry on their normal work. They proceeded to tell the local authorities that they must tighten their belts. While they had to tighten their belts and operate under the 10 per cent limit by which they were allowed to increase the rates, they were [1437] not told that towards the end of the year there would be a big shortfall because the farmers would not be asked to pay their rates this year. How does the Minister propose to deal with that?

The Department felt it right that they should be allowed to increase their Estimate by £463 million while they did not allow local authorities to make any movement to try to cover their losses. I do not know if the Minister is aware that most local authorities are up to their ears in debt to contractors of various kinds. Even though they entered into agreements to purchase land for road widening and building houses, they had to cancel essential contracts because they did not have the money. The Minister has said what his precedessor also handed out to me, that there has been an increase in the amount given this year compared to that given a few years ago. He must know, after listening to the outgoing Minister for Finance yesterday, what the value of money is now as compared with about four years ago. The Government should realise that they are no longer talking to people who do not understand. The people understand that they have been codded up to the eyes and they will not take it any longer.

Deputy Fitzpatrick is quite right when he says an effort was made to go back to the old Hugo Flynn days, a three-day week. There was no social welfare at the time but this time the money is made available from social welfare to pay the people on a three-day week. As a result, people are getting more money than they would get if they were working. I am not objecting to that but I am objecting, as a representative of the working class for over 30 years, to the suggestion that has been made generally that most of those who are unemployed would rather be unemployed than working. That is untrue, whether they are getting more or less when they are unemployed. Those people would prefer to continue working but they were not allowed to do this. The Minister for the Environment should have been able to make a case to have some money transferred to his Department to keep those people in employment [1438] and leave them with their self-respect. They get very little else from the Government. I am glad Deputy Lemass is present because before the last election I listened to her on television. She was very impressive and was very eloquent about the insult to the people in the country who were not allowed to work. She told them: “You are entitled to work. They are making little of you by leaving you idle”. We know what the score is now. I am sure she is as annoyed about it now as she was when she spoke on television before the last general election.

Many of the Minister's backbenchers are very perturbed about the situation which has arisen. Local authorities have been left as the poor relations of the Government. The members of local authorities are the salt of the earth but they are not being treated as such by the Department. I know they got a little extra in their travelling expenses but they are not getting enough to cover their losses. This is something the rich people can take up but the workers cannot because if they do lose a day's wages they cannot make it up. That is not the type of money which should be given. Adequate money should have been given to local authorities to allow them to carry on their normal work, but this was not given.

We bragged in County Meath that we had better roads than anywhere else in Ireland. Perhaps County Kildare and portion of County Dublin compared with us. The roads of County Meath were really first class. They are now appalling. It would be laughable if it were not so tragic to listen to the Minister talking about the road plan for 1981. Does he not realise that even the engineers who are employees of local authorities said earlier this year that if there was not a very big imput of money — they mentioned £20 million — spent immediately it would take £20 billion in a few years time to rebuild the existing roads, those which are being destroyed, and to maintain them. This is the situation throughout the country. We hear complaints from the AA and various motoring bodies who have at last come to realise what the situation is and are saying what they [1439] should have said months ago, something must be done quickly. The roads surfaces are so bad that at the moment the main difficulty on a narrow road is to watch out because almost certainly when one comes to a corner, if there is a vehicle coming against one, it is in the middle of the road. The person cannot drive on the edge of the road even going around a corner because the sides of the roads seem to be rapidly deteriorating. The whole structure of the roads has been destroyed.

Deputy Colley spoke some time ago about giving grants for bog roads which have not been used for some time. They are much better than some of our country and main roads. There is no point in a Minister talking about having a plan for new roads in 1981 if we cannot do something to maintain our existing ones. Deputy Fitzpatrick spoke about people being laid off in Roscommon. Cavan County Council had to lay off staff because they did not have sufficient money. If county councils keep on a full staff they do not have enough money to buy materials and if they buy materials they cannot have a full staff.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick:  (Cavan-Monaghan): The Minister did not know what he was letting himself in for.

Mr. R. Burke:  I knew exactly.

Mr. Tully:  These are pensionable employees of a local authority. I am not blaming the present Minister. He has to deal as best he can with what is given to him. He is an able young man and if he was there when the budget was drawn up he would not have allowed his pound of flesh to have been swiped away and be satisfied with a quarter pound which his predecessor got.

In regard to malicious injury claims does the Minister know that if such a claim is taken to court it takes two years before payment is made? A friend of mine had his car smashed in the town of Drogheda at midnight on New Year's Eve. Two years ago the case went to court and a decree was given for malicious injury payment. That person has [1440] not yet been paid. I asked the county council when the person would be paid and they said they usually pay out by the end of the year. I asked which year and they said the second year when it has been provided for. This is the end of the year and it has not been paid and I do not think it will be paid because the money is not there. It is absolutly ludicrous to have a person at the loss of several hundred pounds when his claim has been proven simply because there is no money to pay him. Something must be done about this whole system. The law says that that is the way it is done but it should not go into the third year before a relatively small sum of £260 is paid out by the local authority.

We seem to be rearing a nation of young vandals. We have reached the stage where decent young people will have to help the authorities to ensure that the odd brat — there is one in every town and village — is stopped from carrying out the mindless vandalism which they do carry out. They do not give a damn about anyone. Some 98 per cent of young people are decent but the 2 per cent can do a lot of damage. People laugh and say the State will have to pay and the county councils will have to pay but it is the people who are paying for their so-called enjoyment.

Some years ago I made a song and dance in the House when Deputy Boland was Minister about the question of reflective marking of vehicles. Eventually it was agreed that vehicles would be so marked. However, that seems to have died off now. Foreign vehicles do not have to be marked and Irish vehicles do not bother in many cases. Anyone driving along a country road at night who meets a car with a green or black lorry on his side of the road will find it extremely difficult to pass without getting into trouble. Many accidents have occurred and people have been killed because of this.

The arrangement where a red triangle was put behind a broken down vehicle seems to be forgotten. Buses are the only vehicles that do this or put out seats behind the bus to indicate it has broken down. Cars are often parked on the side of the road with no lights and with no [1441] marking. These things, as well as drunken driving, cause accidents. Repairs to vehicles are very expensive and people do not bother having them carried out.

I am puzzled about the additional interest which building societies charge. While officially they have a rate comparable to the banks the rate they charge is 1.1 per cent higher than that because of the system they operate. I do not know if the ratio is what it is supposed to be. I do not know if it was carried on in my time but it is something that must be looked at closely. Interest rates are high enough without people having to pay more. I give fair warning to the Minister that if we take part in Government we will re-introduce home improvement grants. Building houses is one way of building up a stock but if we do not do something to ensure that existing houses are kept in good repair and are habitable we are allowing the stock to run down. It is the same as spilling water into a barrel that has a hole in it. This would relieve considerably the demand for home loans which is very high. People want money to build houses and they cannot get it. Deputy Fitzpatrick is correct. Where I live there are 20 houses within a mile radius which have been for sale for a long time and nobody wants to know.

The list of applications for planning permission is smaller than it used to be. People are not able to afford to build houses and this is a serious matter. The people waiting for home improvement and heating grants are dissatisfied. The Minister cannot do much about it because the money is not there. That is unfortunate for him and for his officials who have to deal with correspondence from public representatives and applicants. Something must be done about this. So many people applied in the last few weeks before the axe came down that there are three times the normal number of payments required and the money is not there to pay the normal number of applicants. The Minister says he has been given an additional £4 million for the purpose of paying the £1,000 grant.

In relation to the cost of a house, what is the value of this £1,000 grant? When the old grant was done away with its value [1442] at the maximum was £900, not £645 as some people think. therefore, the difference is only £100. Many people were promised this grant but they are not getting it. When I did away with the payment of supplementary grants to relatively wealthy people Fianna Fáil, on this side, created a song and dance — boy, what a noise. Good luck to them, they had the neck afterwards to come along and do away with the supplementary grant.

There are two most important aspects in all this. People who looked for the grant, with the supplementary grant from local authorities, are being told by the local authorities that they are precluded from the supplementary grants, and it is the poorest of the poor who are being affected. Having committed themselves to work which would qualify them for the first part of the grant they are being told that they cannot get it at all.

There has been a lot of talk about the insulation grant, but people are getting letters from the Department saying they are not finishing the job and that if they had not finished the job before 20 October they are not entitled to the grant. Either the grant is there or it is not, and there should not be this fiddling about with it.

The position in regard to the heating grant is the same. It has been most difficult to get payments. Financial provision should have been made for it. The latest date for receipt of applications was 31 January last. Many people in Dublin handed in their applications on that day at O'Connell Bridge House but they were ruled out as being ineligible because the applications were not on the desk before 1 February. The Minister cannot do this to ordinary people throughout the country. They have done the work, either through borrowing or on trust by small contractors. This is not the sort of thing Departments are for. The Minister's predecessor told us that he would reconsider the cases of people who sent in late applications, but so far we have not had a comment from him or from the present Minister.

Generally in this debate what we are talking about is academic because the [1443] money has been spent. The Minister is about to prepare the Estimate for 1981 — he will not be there for the spending of it — but will he see to it that his Department will get a fair share of the funds and not be letting his stronger colleagues run away with the lot?

Mr. W. O'Brien:  The success or failure of a Department's plans depends on financing, and we all agree that the Department of the Environment have been starved from the point of view of funds. The two previous speakers referred to roads and housing. I have only five minutes and I intend to use most of it to deal with these two subjects. First of all, I will refer to reconstruction grants. I have here a Departmental circular, dated 26 November 1979, referring to supplementary grants. It states:

As regards supplementary grants, the attention of local authorities is directed to paragraph 21 of Circular B.C. 8/79 of 22nd August, 1979. Local Authorities should note that the payment of supplementary grants after 31st January, 1980, will be invalid unless application for the grant was received by the local authority on or before 31st December, 1979, and application for payment of the grant was received by the authority on or before 31st January, 1980.

Any enquiries in regard to this circular may be made to Housing Grants Section, Floor 5, O'Connell Bridge House, Dublin 2. (Phone 713377).

My local authority in County Limerick have had this system in operation for some years. I do not blame the local authority, but they have been sending out supplementary grant forms to applicants and if the Department do not notify payments the local authority cannot know whether the applications were in order. In this way hundreds of people have been deprived of this grant. Many of them who had spent money were hoping to get payment by Christmas but they have been told by the local authorities they will not get it.

Roads are a terrible problem. A lot of [1444] money has been spent in operating the breathalyser system, but to my mind the Department, and I include the Minister, are as dangerous to the public as any man with drink in him behind the wheel of a car. The condition of our roads is so dangerous that people's lives are at stake. Recently in my constituency a man was knocked from his motorcycle near Rathkeale because of a deep pothole. He took the case to the District Court and justly was awarded damages.

This sort of thing will continue unless our roads are rendered safe. I have discussed this with car drivers and I have advised them to take their problem to their solicitors. This is totally justified because people have been paying rates for a long time and they have not got roads on which they can travel safely.

I will go back to grants. I was in O'Connell Bridge House recently about a specific case and a courteous lady came to me and told me the file had been handed to an inspector last May. What has the inspector been doing with that file since last May? That is only one of nearly 200 cases I have had to inquire about in the last 12 months. It is rough justice to the people concerned to be told: “We have not got the staff”. Why have they not got the staff when there are 130,000 people unemployed? Why do we bother to talk about unemployment when we hear that one of the most important Departments have not got the staff to deal with even the most urgent hardship cases? What is the purpose of the Minister handing us this script today talking about 1981 when the position in 1980 is something none of us wants to hear about again? This Government are literally bankrupt. Whether we like it or not, it must be known to the people. As a public representative in rural Ireland it is embarrassing being approached by people talking about their roads and about bad bends.

Another aspect which is very important in rural Ireland is——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Deputy has gone over the bend now. His time is up.

[1445]Mr. W. O'Brien:  I would like to refer to group schemes. Three or four years ago it was a great thing to start a group scheme because one only had to ask people for £30 or £40. Today it costs £350 or £400 to join group schemes so the group schemes are gone.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Minister is allowing Deputy Lemass five minutes.

Mrs. Lemass:  I would just like to tell Deputy Tully a little story. He mentioned that I was very concerned about employment and spoke on it at length. I am still very concerned about it and always will be and I still think that every citizen who needs employment and wants work has the right to get it. But there is a factory in the Dublin area which recently sent out 5,000 leaflets to 5,000 homes stating that there were 5,000 potential jobs in their factory if they got the workers. They got 12 replies. That probably means that the type of job——

Mr. Tully:  Could we have the name of the factory because then they might get the workers?

Mrs. Lemass:  That probably means that the type of jobs available are not wanted by young people. They want white-collar jobs and are not prepared to go into industry. Maybe it is our fault. We should train them more and try to convince them that it is honourable to work in industry and in a factory. Until we can get this across to the young people those jobs will still be there with nobody to go in and do them. The factory I am talking about could double its production if it got the workers.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Let us go back to Environment.

Mrs. Lemass:  I am just going to say a few words about the housing situation in Dublin. A lot has been said recently about the housing crisis in the city. I have been in many cities in Europe and nowhere in the whole of Europe is there better local authority housing than here. [1446] Has anybody been to Hamburg or Berlin? Nobody there has a three-bedroomed house with a garden at front and back. Here we have three new cities being built up around Dublin at the moment — Tallaght, Clondalkin and Blanchardstown. We are now in a position where families of three are on a housing list, are eligible to get and are getting a three-bedroomed house from the local authority. This house is probably costing about £20,000 to £22,000, and in a short time that family are in a position to purchase that house at a subsidised amount of money.

Fianna Fáil have built more local authority houses than any other country in the same circumstances. I am proud of what Fianna Fáil have done. Seventy per cent of those on the housing list at the moment are families of three. That is because there are so many more young people in the country, so many more people getting married at a very young age. This is why our housing list is so long. There are very few families on that housing list with four or more children and a lot of them would already be housed if they were not waiting to be housed in a particular area in the city. There will always be a housing list. No Government can ever eliminate it totally, because there are always young people coming up. Our population is increasing very rapidly at the moment and we will always have people looking for houses from the local authorities.

I am very grateful to the Minister for allowing me the few minutes to say these few words. I hope he will be particularly sympathetic to Dublin Corporation in the coming year with the allocation for housing because, as he and everybody else knows, one-third of the population is now living in Dublin. We have a very young population, it is increasing and we need more houses. I know the Minister is doing great work. In the fifties the Coalition, in two terms of office built no houses because nobody was looking for houses — they had all emigrated. Every road in local authority areas had vacant houses which were boarded up. It is only when we are doing well that we have a housing [1447] problem and that is what is happening now.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick:  (Cavan-Monaghan): The Deputy is telling us we never had it better.

Mr. Tully:  Deputy Mrs. Lemass knows how to deal with the workers. Keep them down.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  I congratulate Deputy Lemass on her perception of the situation and thank her for her words of encouragement with regard to progress in housing in the Dublin area. Much more has to be done. I met a deputation from the housing committee of the corporation last evening and we discussed the matter. They made some very important points which I will be taking into account in deciding on the allocations for the various authorities in 1981. However, it is something that we should be proud of that in our capital city 70 per cent of those on the waiting list are families of three.

Mr. Tully:  Do not take Deputy Lemass's word for it. That is not a fact.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  We will have no interruptions. We have had enough interruptions today already.

Mr. R. Burke:  Bad as they are, they are not as bad as what happened earlier on. Deputy Fitzpatrick attacked the whole principle of the Supplementary Estimates for various services being processed through the Dáil at this time and ignored the fact that the Supplementary Estimates were a regular feature of the administration which he served in from 1973 to 1977. He went on to attack the limit of 10 per cent in rate increases applied this year as being in some way related to the Supplementary Estimate although there is no provision in the Supplementary Estimate for rates relief grant. He also ignored the fact that the 10 per cent rate increase meant in effect that an average of 13 per cent extra funding was available in income from rates and that there has been a very substantial [1448] increase in the State subvention and capital allocation for the various services — all building up to an unprecedented flow of State funds to the local authorities. He also criticised the provisions being made for roads and employment. He appears to forget how little his own administration spent on the roads and the low level of employment afforded on that service.

Deputy Tully covered many of the same points and I would like to give them the facts. Are the local authorities being left short of money? They have £750 million to spend between current and capital moneys this year. That is an increase of £117 million on 1979. An estimated £106.565 million will be paid to the local authorities in 1980 in respect of the abolition of rates on domestic and other dwellings. The approximate cost to the Exchequer of the agricultural grant in the current year will be £43 million. A total of just over £150 million will thus be paid to local authorities directly for the relief of rates this year and the total current expenditure of local authorities this year will be close to £520 million. About £307 million or almost 60 per cent of this will come from State grants including the £150 million which goes in direct relief of rates.

As I said in my opening speech road grants totalling over £58 million have been allocated to local authorities this year. That is more than double the amount allocated by the Coalition in 1977. By way of further comparison this Government, since taking office less than three years ago, have allocated road grants totalling £149 million, whereas the Government in which the two Members opposite served made available grants totalling £68 million in the three years 1975-77. Even when account is taken of inflation, it must be recognised that the Government's performance leaves no room for criticism by the Opposition, especially by two members of the former Cabinet. One direct result of the increased investment in road works has been an upsurge in employment by the road authorities. In 1976 the average monthly employment of road workers was 9.540 and since 1977 this figure has increased substantially. Despite this [1449] year's financial constraints I anticipate that the road works programme for the year will absorb up to 11,000 workers compared to the 9,500 employed during the last year of the Coalition.

References have been made to the present standard of the roads and the Government's commitment to the proper maintenance and improvement of the roads can best be gauged by the level of funds made available to the road authorities since they took office. Legal responsibility for public roads is vested in the roads authorities and it is their statutory duty to maintain and improve the roads for which they are responsible so as to keep them fit for the traffic which uses them. While my Department reimburse a large proportion of the expenditure incurred on road works by way of annual road grants, nevertheless it is the road authorities who decide the extent of overall investment in the annual roads works programme. It is estimated that the total expenditure on road works in 1979 amounted to £96.29 million, of which the local authorities expended more than 50 per cent from their own resources. Since the vast bulk of their investment is in maintenance work, the condition of public roads outside the national road network — for which I make available full cost maintenance grants — is dependent largely on the level of their funds, including the amount of their own resources which they apportion to road works. In the case of the maintenance of national roads I have allocated grants totalling £11.451 million for work this year which represents a generous contribution. In 1977 the corresponding grants amounted to £5.266 million. As regards other roads, the funds available this year to local authorities should enable them to carry out a satisfactory programme of road upkeep.

Regarding housing grants, last January, when the termination of the house improvement grant scheme was announced, the Department received the equivalent of a full year's applications in ten days and this severely disrupted normal procedures and it was not realistic to expect that all those grants could be paid [1450] at once. Every possible step was taken to streamline procedures and expedite inspection. On 14 August it was announced that we were dispensing with first inspections of improvement works and that the last date for completion of the works had been extended to 31 March 1981, provided that a binding commitment had been made before 21 January 1980. A considerable amount of overtime has been worked by staff and all this means that the total number of grants paid this year will exceed 50,000, the highest number ever by a long way. The figure of 50,000 grant payments also refutes absolutely the frequent allegations by Deputies opposite who like to give the impression that grants are not being paid. The additional £4 million provided by the Government last September for these grants brings total expenditure to £27 million. By comparison, in their 1977 Budget the Coalition Government provided only £4.95 million. I want to give an assurance that every effort will continue to be made into next year to see that all outstanding grants are paid as early as possible.

Deputy O'Brien referred to the provision under which supplementary grants could not be paid by local authorities unless work had been completed before 31 December 1978 and the grant applied for before 31 December 1979. This provision was not imposed by departmental circular but was made by the Housing Act of 1979, which was fully discussed in the Dáil and Seanad. It would not be open to me or my Department to change the law on the subject without further legislation.

Mr. Tully:  If an instalment was paid, would there not have been an application to the local authorities?

Mr. R. Burke:  No. Regarding house purchase loans, Deputy Fitzpatrick alleged that there is a scarcity of such finance. This is not in accord with the facts and there is more money available for mortgages than at any stage in our history. During the quarter ended 30 September 1980 all lending agencies — building societies, local authorities, banks and [1451] assurance companies — paid out £104.4 million for the purchase of 7.382 houses. This compares with £81 million for 6,591 houses in the corresponding period in 1979. The results of the availability of this money will be seen when the total number of houses completed this year is ascertained. It will be an all-time record. In the first eleven months of 1980 a total of 26,468 new houses were completed and I am satisfied that the number for the full year will lie between 27,000 and 28,000

The Deputy was critical of the provision made for SDA loans. For the record, the original provision in the Public Capital Programme for house purchase loans was £64.5 million and a further £7 million was provided last September, bringing the total for 1980 to £71.5 million. This compares with expenditure last year of £52 million. In 1978 it was £33 million and only £19.5 million in 1977 in the last Coalition budget.

Deputy Tully spoke about the legal requirement of the marking of heavy vehicles. The enforcement of the law is a matter for the Garda Síochána and I will draw their attention to the Deputy's observations, particularly regarding the use of triangles in the case of breakdown of heavy vehicles.

Deputy Tully also mentioned delay in the payment of malicious injury claims. I appreciate that there are delays and in many cases very lengthy delays in court proceedings. Once a decree has been given, present law, which is the responsibility of the Minister for Justice, requires a local authority to make a provision in the Estimate for the following year to meet that decree. Of necessity this involves further delay. However, Deputy Tully will realise that the Minister for Justice has at present a Bill before the House to reform the law on malicious injuries. I understand that this Bill has a number of provisions which could speed up the payment of awards.

Regarding the 10 per cent limit and the criticism by Deputy Fitzpatrick, he appears to want it both ways. He claims to be put out by rate limits which he sees as a threat to the freedom of action of local authorities and on the other hand [1452] he seeks to lay the blame elsewhere for the consequences of unpopular local decisions. He does this by using the excuse that local authorities have decisions forced on them by a shortage of money and the facts speak for themselves.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick:  (Cavan-Monaghan): By statutory ministerial direction restricting any increase to 10 per cent. The Minister's brief is wrong.

Mr. R. Burke:  The local authorities taken together were better off financially at the start of 1980 than at the end of 1977. There is no reason why all local authorities could not be in the same position. There are, as there always have been, differences between local authorities; but if there is a small number of cases where individual local authorities believe that they are being forced to take unpopular decisions by shortage of money, they would be well advised to look closely at their finances and priorities. The present financial position of each local authority is in some measure the result of their own decisions freely taken in the years to the end of 1977 and equally freely taken since the derating of domestic and other property.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick:  (Cavan-Monaghan): Nonsense.

Mr. R. Burke:  In conclusion. I wish to compliment the staff of the local authorities throughout the country for the excellent work they have done on behalf of the nation during 1980.

Vote put and agreed to.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  We now move on to the Education Votes 29—35. The Minister has 20 minutes to move Vote 29 and the other Votes will be taken at the end. Fine Gael will have 25 minutes and Labour 25 minutes and the Minister will have 20 minutes to reply. All these Votes may be discussed together.

[1453]Aire Oideachais (Mr. Wilson):  Tairgim:

Go ndeonófar suim fhorlíontach nach mó ná £5,080,000 chun íoctha an mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31ú lá de Nollaig, 1980, le haghaidh tuarastail agus costais Oifig an Aire Oideachais (lena n-áirítear Forais Eolaíochta agus Ealaíon), le haghaidh seirbhísí ilghnéitheacha áirithe oideachais agus cultúir agus chun ildeontais-i-gcabhair a íoc.

Is iad seo a leanas na glan-mhéideanna a bhí sna príomh-mheastacháin do Vóta Oifig an Aire Oideachais agus dona Vótaí Bunoideachais, Meánoideachais, Gairmoideachais agus Árdoideachais i mbliana:

Vóta 29, Oifig an Aire Oideachais, £35,143,000;

Vóta 30, Bunoideachas,
£190,570,000;
Vóta 31, Meánoideachas,
£134,347,000;
Vóta 32, Gairmoideachas,
£82,221,000;
Vóta 34, Árdoideachas,
£54,568,000.

I do not believe there is anything on Vote No. 35.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  We will be coming to it at the end.

Mr. Wilson:  Cuireadh na máideanna breise seo ar fáil le meastacháin fhorlíontacha:

Vóta 34, Árdoideachas, An cháad Meastachán Forlíontach, £205,000; An dara Meastachán Forlíontach, £4,039,000.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Minister is dealing with Vote No. 35. The National Gallery.

Mr. Wilson:  Seo iad na míideanna breise a theastaíonn anois:

Vóta 29, Oifig an Aire Oideachais, an chád Meastachán Forlíontach i suim £5,080,000, a thugann an soláthar [1454] iomlán faoin Vóta seo go dtí £40,223,000.

Vóta 30, Bunoideachas, an cháad Meastachán Forlíontach i suim £13,620,000, a thugann an soláthar iomlán faoin Vóta seo go dtí £204,190,000.

Vóta 31, Meánoideachas, an cháad Meastachán Forlíontach i suim £4,623,000, a thugann an soláthar iomlán faoin Vóta seo go dtí £138,970,000.

Vóta 32, Gairmoideachas, an cháad Meastachán Forlíontach i suim £5,778,000, a thugann an soláthar iomlán faoin Vóta seo go dtí £87,999,000.

Vóta 34, Árdoideachas, an tríú Meastachán Forlíontach i suim £3,935,000, a thugann an soláthar iomlán faoin Vóta seo go dtí £62,747,000.

Is é an t-iomlán atá á iarraidh anois ná £33,036,000. Agus leis an máid bhreise seo, chomh maith leis an £4,244,000 a cuireadh leis an Vóta Árdoideachais cheana, tagann an mór-iomlán glan atá á sholáthar do na Vótaí Oideachais imbliana go dtí £536,318,000. Seo é an méid is mó airgid a cuireadh ar fáil do na seirbhísí oideachais ariamh; is ionann é agus méadú de 21.3 faoin gcéad ar an soláthar a deineadh anuraidh. Ní beag mar éacht é sin, agus léiríonn sé go bhfuil sé ina rún daingean ag an Rialtas an toideachas is fearr is féidir, i gcomhriar lenár n-acmhainní, a chur ar fáil.

Seo iad na rudaí is mó is cúis leis an éileamh iomlán de £33,036,000 atá á dhéanamh sna meastacháin fhorlíontacha seo:

Baineann £9,847,600 le costais bhreise tuarastail agus pá a éiríonn as feidhmiú an chéad chuid den Dara Chomhthuiscint Náisiúnta i leith Forbairt Eacnamaíochta agus Shóisialta agus as socruithe eile ar glacadh leo de bharr idir-réitigh is eadrána, agus fós le méaduithe sna cioníocaíochta leasa shóisialaigh a thuiteann ar an bhfostuitheoir faoín scéim síntiús de réir pá. Baineann £9,351,000 leis an dámhachtain pá a fuair na múinteoirí le deireannas.

Tá £9,250,000 ann i leith cuspóirí chaipitil. Chomh maith leis an méid sin, tá £2,435,000 breise á chur ar fáil do [1455] Chiste na nIasacht Áitiúil chun cur ar chumas coistí gairmoideachais dul ar aghaidh le beartais bhreise chaipitil. Mar sin tá iomlán breise caipitil de £11,685,000 á chur ar fáil: ina choinne sin meastar go mbeidh sábháltais chaipitil de £185,000 ar an Vóta i leith ionaid chónaithe agus scoileanna speisialta. Ba mhaith liom focal nó dhó eile a rá faoin soláthar chaipitil seo. Ach an bhreis atá á iarraidh anois a chur leis an £48 milliúin a soláthraíodh cheana, tá iomlán de £59,500,000 airgid chaipitil á chur ar fáil imbliana, méadú 16.6 faoin gcéad ar sholáthar na bliana 1979. Tá freagra annsin ar na daoine a bhí ag maíomh go raibh tógáil scoileanna beagnach ina stad. Imbliana, deineadh conarthaí i leith 70 scol, idir bunscoileanna agus meánscoileanna, agus h-iarradh tairiscintí i leith 106 beartas eile tógála. Is teist é sin ar an saothar atá curtha i gcrích againn imbliana. Tá £4,420,100 breise ag teastáil do na seirbhísí taistil: baineann an fuíollach de £438,300 le cuspóirí ilghnéitheacha.

Seo iad na mionsonraí:

Vóta 29: Oifig an Aire Oideachais

Tá suim bhreise de £96,000 ag teastáil faoí fho-mhírcheann A.1 in aghaidh costas na bliana seo den chomhthuiscint náisiúnta. Iarrtar £138,000 breise faoí fho-mhírcheann D.8, don chuspóir chéanna, i leith cúntóirí chléireachais sna scoileanna náisiúnta agus na meánscoileanna. Ní mór an deontas-i-gcabhair i leith imeachtaí cultúrtha, eolaíochta agus oideachasúla a mhéadú de £11,400, ar mhaithe le Leabharlann Chester Beatty. Iarrtar suim bhreise de £6,200 d'Acadamh Ríoga Ceoil na hÉireann freisin, faoí fho-mhírcheann G.2, chomh maith le £12,000 faoí G.4 d'Institiúid Teangeolaíochta Éireann. Cuimsíonn an £12,000 seo dhá rud — £4,000 don Chomhthuiscint Náisiúnta agus £8,000 chun siollabais nua i dteangacha Eorpacha a thabhairt isteach sna scoileanna iarbhunoideachais ar bhonn trialach.

Tá suim bhreise de £4,240,100 á lorg i leith costais reatha na seirbhísí iompair scoile (fo-mhírcheann D.3). Tá an méid [1456] breise seo ag teastáil chun arduithe i gcostais na seirbhísí iompair a ghlanadh, agus chun a chinntiú nach mbeidh aon isliú ar leibhéal na seirbhísí seo imbliana.

Éiríonn na costais bhreise seo as méaduithe móra, thar mar bhí coinne leo, i gcostais iompair i gcoitinne ar a n-áirítear praghasanna peitril, ola diesel, boinn, agus páirteanna eile cárrannaí, luach saothair agus an iliomad rudaí eile atá san áireamh i gcostas na séirbhísí iompair scoile. Deineadh méadú de 19.5 faoin gcéad, chomh maith, ar an ráta a íoctar le conraitheoirí príobháideacha iompair as seirbhísí scoile a chur ar fáil le h-éifeacht ó 1 Lúnasa 1980.

Tá £155,000 eile ag teastáil faoí fhó-mhírcheann A.2. Tá £90,000 de seo ann chun rátaí feabhsaithe liúntas taistil agus aíochta a íoc, agus £70,000 i leith rudaí ilghnéitheacha eile; os a gcoinne sin tá sábháltas beag de £5,000 ar chostais oiliúna fóirne, ar an ábhar gur bhain líon níos lú den fhoirinn leas as na cúrsaí oiliúna ná mar a measadh.

Tá £283,000 bhreise ag teastáil do na tochailtí seandálaíochta atá ar siúl ar shuíomh Oifigí Chathardha Bhaile Átha Cliath ar Ché an Adhmaid (fómhírcheann F.3). Tá £14,300 eile riachtanach faoí fhó-mhírcheann E.1 i leith ceannach leabhar agus eile don Leabharlann Náisiúnta agus £4,000 faoí fhó-mhírcheann F.2 i leith ceannach fearas agus ábhar eile don mhusaem.

Tá soláthar breise de £100,000 déanta faoí fhó-mhírcheann G.3 i leith scéim nua deontas chun cabhrú le himreoirí óga i scoileanna agus i gcumainn chun camáin a cheannach. Bunaíodh an scéim seo i bhfeidhmiú na geallúna a thug an tAire Airgeadais, ina óráid ar an gcáinfhaisnéis, go gcuirfí £100,000 ar fáil i leith ceannach camán do dhaoine óga. Bhí mo Roinn i gcomhairle le Cumann Luthchleas Gael i ndréachtadh na scéime: bainfidh sí freisin le Cumann Camógaíocht na nGael. Is é is cuspóir don scéim seo, camáin a chur ar fáil do dhaoine óga ar bheag-chostas, chun nach gcuirfí ó chleachtadh agus ó imirt iomanaíochta agus chamógaíochta iad, ó chluichí oirdhirce náisiúnta na hÉireann, toisc a mhinice is a bhriseann camáin agus a dhaoire is tá siad ag éirí.

[1457] Teastaíonn suim bhreise de £7,160,000 faoí fho-mhírcheann C.1 de Vóta 30 i leith tuarastal bun-mhúinteoirí, chun díol as an dámhachtain nua pá a tugadh de thoradh obair an Choiste Athbhreithnithe agus as cuid a haon den chomhthuiscint náisiúnta. Cosnóidh an dámhachtain pá £4,783,000, agus an chomhthuiscint náisiúnta £2,377,000 imbliana.

Tá £345,000 sa bhreis á iarraidh faoí fho-mhírcheann C.9, £35,000 i leith costas chuid a h-aon den chomhthuiscint náisiúnta agus £310,000 i leith tuarastal feighlithe breise a earcaíodh imbliana.

Tá £6,250,000 eile sa bhreis á chur ar fáil i bhfo-mhírcheann E i leith tógáil, gléasadh agus feistiú scoileanna náisiúnta. Meastar go mbeidh sábháltas de £205,000 ar na Deontais Tógála agus Chaipitil do na Coláistí Oiliúna, fo-mhírcheann A.1(2), de bhrí gur cuireadh moill ar leathnú atá á chur le Coláiste Bhantiarna na Trócaire i gCarraig Dhubh. Cuirfear £70,000 de sin in aghaidh costas chuid a h-aon den chomhthuiscint náisiúnta i leith fóirne na gColáistí Oiliúna.

Tá breis-mheíd £2,800,000 ag teastáil don dámhachtain nua pá i gcás na meanmhúinteoirí, agus £1,425,000 eile chun costas na comhthuisceana náisiúnta a íoc. Mar sin, tá iomlán breise de £4,225,000 i gceist i bhfo-mhírcheann B de Vóta 31 le haghaidh Meanoideachais. I gcás na múinteoirí sna scoileanna coimsitheacha agus pobail is é an t-iomlán atá ag teastáil don dámhachtain pá agus don chomhthuiscint náisiúnta, faoí fho-mhírcheann H.1 de Vóta 31, ná £498,000. Meastar go mbeidh sábháltais de £100,000 ar fáil i bhfo-mhírcheann A.2 den Vóta seo.

Tá iomlán breise de £4,669,000 á iarraidh faoí fho-mhírcheann A de Vóta 32, don Ghairmoideachas. Tá an méid seo ag teastáil chun íoc as an dámhachtain nua pá do ghairm-mhúinteoirí, ar chostas measta de £1,596,000, agus as an gcomhthuiscint náisiúnta ar chostas measta de £1,220,000. Tá méadú maith ceadaithe ar an ráta pá a íoctar le múinteoirí páirtaimsire, agus meastar go gcosnóidh sé sin £436,000 sa bhliain airgeadais seo. Méaduithe eile pá a ghnóthuigh [1458] oifigigh na gcoistí gairmoideachais i rith na bliana, trén scéim idir-réitigh agus eadrána, cosnóidh siad £1,228,000 imbliana. Baineann fuíollach an airgid iomláin bhreise atá á iarraidh le rudaí ilghnéitheacha ar nós arduithe i ranníoca leasa shóisíalaigh na bhfostuitheoir faoín gcóras Sintiús de réir Pá, agus méaduithe sna liúntais taistil agus aíochta.

Tá £10,000 breise ag teastáil faoí fho-mhírcheann B chun na méaduithe tuarastail faoín gcomhthuiscint náisiúnta a íoc le foirne na gColáistí Oiliúna. Meastar costas na méaduithe a fuair foirne na gceárd-choláistí réigiúnach, idir an chomhthuiscint náisiúnta agus socruithe eile pá a ghnóthaíodh trén scéim idir-réitigh agus eadrána, ag £948,000. Tá soláthar á dhéanamh ina leith seo faoí fho-mhírcheann H.1. Meastar go mbeidh suim bhreise de £23,000 riachtanach do na scrúdúcháin faoi fho-mhírcheann E, i leith méaduithe sna liúntais taistil agus aíochta don chuid is mó.

Tá trí cinn de na ceárd-choláistí réi-giúnacha á leathnú i láthair na huaire agus meastar go mbeidh costas breise de £115,000 le n-íoc ina leith, thar mar a soláthraíodh, toisc arduithe i gcostais tógála i gcoitinne. Tá soláthar breise déanta do seo i bhfo-mhírcheann H.2. Meastar go bheidh easpa de £13,000 ins na Faltais-i-gCabhair, agus tá an méid sin á iarraidh chun an bhearna sin a dhúnadh.

Faoi fho-mhírcheann A.1 de Vóta 34, don Ardoideachas, tá suim £6,000 riachtanach chun na méaduithe faoín gcomhthuiscint náisiúnta a íoc le foirinn an Údaráis um Ardoideachas. Ní mó na deontais a thugann an tÚdarás do na Coláistí Ollscoile agus d'Institiúidí Ainmnithe Ardoideachais a mhéadú, chun cur ar a gcumas an chomhthuiscint náisiúnta a chur in éifeacht sna hinsti-tiúidí sin, agus tá soláthar breise de £1,018,000 á dhéanamh i bhfo-mhírcheann A.2 chuige sin. Tá suim bhreise de £2,885,000 ag teastáil d'oibreacha chaipitil faoí fho-mhírcheann A.3, chun íoc as na beartais tógála atá ar siúl sna coláistí ollscoile, in Institiúid Náisiúnta Ardoideachais Bhaile Átha Cliath agus sa Choláiste Náisiúnta Ealaíne is Deartha.

Chun na méaduithe faoin gcomhthuiscint [1459] náisiúnta a íoc le foirne Ospidéal Fiaclóireachta Bhaile Átha Cliath agus Institiúid Ard-léinn Bhaile Átha Cliath, ní mó soláthar breise de £11,000 i bhfo-mhírcheann B agus de £15,000 i bhfo-mhírcheann E, faoi seach, a dhéanamh.

Tá suim bhreise de £55,000 á lorg sa Vóta 35 don Ghailearaí Náisiúnta. Tá suim £47,000 á lorg faoí fho-mhírcheann A chun na costais bhreise a éiríonn as árduithe pá a ghlanadh. Tá £9,000 ag teastáil i leith caiteachais bhreise i bhfo-mhírcheann B, ar chostaisí taistil agus ar mhionchostaisí, lúide sábháltais de £1,000 ar fho-mhírcheann C.

Cuirim na Meastacháin Fhorlíontacha seo os comhair na Dála dá réir sin agus iarraim go nglacfaí leo.

Mr. E. Collins:  This may or may not be the last occasion on which we will be able to discuss the Education Estimate in this House under this Government. Even so we are restricted in what we can say. Therefore, in the time allotted to me I intend to take three or four items and discuss them in depth rather than range over the totality of the Department's activities, or inactivity. The first item I should like to discuss is the school transport service. The original sum provided was £16 million and that represented a reduction of £500,000 on the 1975 estimate. That is a clear indication that the Minister and the Government were thinking seriously of drastically reducing the service or instituting a charge for that service. In the course of the year my fears in relation to the school bus service were realised.

On 12 May 1980 a statement was issued on behalf of the Minister indicating major changes in the regulations governing the provision of school transport. Very briefly I will go through the changes which then were indicated positively. In relation to the primary school sector, the number of eligible children necessary for the establishment of a school transport service was increased from ten to 12. Children over nine years of age must have at least three miles, whereas the age limit had been ten before that. Children between four and five years may not be [1460] taken into account for the purpose of establishing a service. In relation to post-primary children, the number of eligible children required for the establishment of a school transport service was increased to 15 and the eligibility for free transport was four miles as opposed to the three then ruling. The fares for fare-paying passengers were increased by £1.50 per car. That was, and I suggest is, an indication of the Minister's attitude towards the school transport scheme.

That statement caused a tremendous furore and many protests, both in this House and by way of public statements by the Fine Gael Party. Subsequently, because of the public pressure which was put on the Minister, that statement was pigeonholed, withdrawn, forgotten, whatever word you like to use. There have been suggestions that a petition was brought up among the back-benchers in the Fianna Fáil Party and that the present Minister damn well nearly lost his office because of the moves he had made.

Mr. Wilson:  We are now in a mythology section.

Mr. E. Collins:  Dúirt bean liom go ndúirt bean léi, mar a dúirt sé.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  I do not think that there is anything in the Estimates about mythology, but what harm?

Mr. E. Collins:  The Leas-Cheann Comhairle should address that remark to the Minister. However, the changes were, I can only say, suspended. I do not think that they were withdrawn. Current rumours are that it is intended to introduce an across-the-board charge for the school bus scheme. The Fine Gael Party will resist any introduction of charges for the use of the school bus scheme for students who have enjoyed the free scheme up to now. The last Coalition Government sought a report from consultants and that report became available towards the end of 1973 and became known as the Hyland Report. On a number of occasions spokesmen for the Fianna Fáil Party have taunted the Fine Gael Party, and I suppose the Labour Party as well, for seeking a report on [1461] school transport services. It is the duty of any Minister to ensure that the services he provides are efficient and run properly. Therefore, a consultants' report was a necessary examination of a scheme in the Department. Any suggestions to the contrary are ill-founded.

The suggestions in the report are a different matter and they would await a political decision. In 1976, 154,500 pupils availed of the service at a cost of over £9 million. In 1980 I am sure the numbers have increased but the cost has more than doubled and it is now £20,420,100, and Hyland suggested that by 1986 the cost of running the school bus scheme would be nearly £30 million. That may have been at 1976 costs. Therefore, there is no doubt that the school bus scheme has been expensive to operate.

However, it is and must be seen as a great social agent in the education process. Many children living in isolated areas in rural Ireland and perhaps in many towns and villages throughout the country would not be able to avail of an education at primary or post-primary level were it not for that school bus service. The changes proposed by the Minister last May struck at the very root of people who are deserving of the free bus scheme, that is those people who live in isolated areas. It is at those people that the Minister's proposed changes were directed. That, to my mind, is an extremely anti-social method of tackling any reform in the school bus scheme. The scheme also is a necessary adjunct to compulsory schooling for people living in isolated areas, yet it was and may again be the intention to strike at these people by making it extremely difficult for them to attend and avail of the school bus service.

Therefore, I appeal to the Minister on sound educational grounds and on grounds of social equality to ensure that the school bus service is not reduced in quality and that people living in isolated areas, especially people living furthest from schools, are not affected adversely by any changes proposed in the school transport scheme. If the Minister is going to introduce a fare-paying system it is going to be extremely expensive to [1462] administer it. I ask him not to change the school bus service as it operates at present and to ensure that those living in isolated rural areas are allowed to avail of the service free of charge.

This year many representations have been made to me about children living in what are known as the boundary catchment areas who have been attending a school in one centre and who all of a sudden, because of a very strict interpretation of regulations — and the Minister assured me in this House that no direction had gone out from his Department and that no changes had been made in the administration of the system — were whipped off the school bus service to that school and made go to a new school simply because they were on the boundary of a catchment area. I contend that children who are attending school in one centre, irrespective of what interpretation is put on the catchment boundary area, should not be forced to leave a school they have attended for a number of years. If there is to be a strict interpretation let it apply to children who are only beginning to go to primary school or beginning secondary school, and if there is a continuation from the primary to the secondary cycle in the same school the children there should not be changed. This year quite a number of children throughout the country were forced to change schools. On an educational basis that is very bad and I am sure the Minister does not agree with it. I appeal to him in relation to the boundary catchment areas not to interfere with children going to a school for a number of years but to leave them to continue attending that school so as not to affect their education, otherwise I contend that he would be making a bad decision educationally.

A second matter which I would like to discuss relates to the salaries of the teachers and I want to refer in a reasonable way to the recent recommendations of the review body in this area. I believe that up to now the teachers in our schools have been badly paid vis-à-vis their professional status and the responsibility they have. The time scale referred to in paragraph 2.8 of the Review Body on Teachers' Pay Interim Report was too [1463] long and it would take up to 36 years' service in a school before a teacher would reach the maximum of his scale.

That seems extremely unfair and I am glad the Minister treated this problem rather favourably. There is an aspect of the matter to which I would like to refer and it is in paragraph 2.6 of the report. It is an interim report and can be changed at the final stages. I am quoting from that interim report which says:

The salary we recommend will, we believe, correct those inadequacies but we would emphasise that the salary so recommended is justifiable only if it is overtly recognised that supervision, substitution, parent contact and pastoral care are integral parts of the teaching function and essential to the proper running of a school.

As Fine Gael spokesman on education I agree with that attitude and agree with the approach adopted in the interim report. When the final report comes to hand I would hope the Minister would be able to treat this problem, which he ignored when he finally dealt with the interim pay proposals.

I am somewhat disturbed to note in the same paragraph:

From the evidence presented to us we are concerned that the quality of school service is not being fully maintained at present.

This can only be seen I think as an indictment of the Minister, perhaps of his Department and perhaps of the managerial bodies involved in running schools and perhaps even an indictment of the teachers themselves. That statement in the report is a serious statement.

I do not want to dwell too much on this aspect now because I accept to an extent that the matter is sub judice in that we are awaiting a final report of the review body but let it be understood clearly that the Fine Gael Party support the approach taken by the review body in relation to the involvement of teachers in the running, in the pastoral care concept and in the management of schools as well as in [1464] matters of substitution, parent contact and supervision. I hope that when the final report is published these matters will be tackled by all parties involved in this very important and complex area.

I do not wish to go into the question of qualification allowances and other allowances and the A and B posts of responsibility nor do I want to deal with payment in respect of examinations because these are matters of current negotiation and also await recommendations in the final report. I am merely setting a tone as far as the Fine Gael Party are concerned and I hope the Minister will be responsible enough in tackling the question of teachers' pay, conditions of work, responsibilities at work in a positive and open manner and that he will take this opportunity to resolve the question of the professional status of teachers at this time. It needs to be tackled and if that is done now we could, perhaps, look forward to a considerable period of progress and perhaps enlightened progress in the development of education services. Part of that would also be the establishment of An Comhairle Mhúinteoireachta. Again I ask the Minister to examine this possibility at a very early date.

There is the question of in-service training of teachers and granting of leave of absence for that purpose. I firmly believe there is need for greater emphasis on in-service training and I ask the Minister to examine the matter in the course of the next year. In a policy on education which I had the pleasure of publishing on behalf of Fine Gael the problem of teacher assessment procedures was tackled in a very positive way. Again this has not been tackled by the present Minister to any great extent to my knowledge. There is an undeniable need to introduce a system of continuous assessment, certainly in the primary sector where there is need, not for re-introduction of an examination at the end of primary school but need to introduce an assessment procedure which would allow a child to be assessed in say the fourth or fifth year of the primary cycle to ensure that the pupil is getting the benefit of the education services provided. That is important.

[1465] At second level, certainly in the junior cycle, the question of assessment procedure should also be an important element in the education scheme. In the senior cycle there is room for the establishment of such a procedure. Also, there is need for a radical re-assessment of our school curricula. The new curriculum in our primary schools for the past ten years needs to be re-assessed and perhaps updated. We certainly failed in not giving sufficient teachers' aids to ensure full implementation of that curriculum as originally envisaged. There is now need to look at that system to see how effective it has been.

There is also a radical need to re-assess the curricula in post-primary schools to ensure that they are relevant as regards subject content and subject availability. Great stress has been laid recently on the need for practical type subjects to be made available so that children can have available subjects with a direct relation to the working place. In many schools, perhaps especially in girls' schools, the curricula available are not relevant to the employment potential of girls. Many scientific subjects and technical subjects are not available in girls' schools and because of that they are subsequently limited in their career opportunities. That is unfortunate. Therefore, I ask for the establishment of an independent curriculum and examination code which would involve experts in education and educationalists and give them an important say in the structure of curricula, subject content, subject availability, and in the question of equality of access to various careers, and which would also tackle this awful question of the points system at leaving certificate stage. There is a very good case to be made for having an examination after the leaving certificate. If that were done the leaving certificate could be a proper examination to test the general aptitude and abilities of a child. The examination after the leaving certificate could be used for entry into university.

I should like to speak about the regionalisation of education and devolution of the administration of education from the Department to local educational committees. There should be an attempt to [1466] regionalise the administration of education in order to break what has been called the monolithic grip of the Department on the system and which is detrimental to the development of a progressive educational service.

There is a tremendous disparity in the salaries of those who lecture in universities and in non-university sector. This is a matter of serious concern. Where it can be proved that the work of lecturers and heads of Departments is comparable with that carried out by their counterparts in universities, there is a responsibility on the Minister to tackle the matter before there is serious unrest in the non-university sector.

I must castigate the Minister for not playing a proper role in preserving the Wood Quay site. I realise this is not directly an educational matter but he provides the funds. For a man so involved with American visits showing the treasures of Ireland and one who is so apparently committed to culture, it is to his discredit that he did not become more publicly involved in the preservation of the Wood Quay site. We have lost an ideal opportunity to preserve one of the most historic sites in western Europe which could have been used also as an environmental model in the centre of Dublin. Offices for workers in Dublin Corporation were needed but they could have been provided in an area where they would not cause serious traffic congestion. They would have had a beneficial effect from the point of view of the environment if they had been built outside the choked-up and congested centre of Dublin. In many respects the Minister has not done badly but in relation to Wood Quay I am sorry to say he has failed. As far as I am concerned he has failed to carry out his duties although he has professed himself to be devoted to cultural activities.

Mr. Horgan:  I wish to state that I propose to give the last five minutes of the time allotted to me to Deputy John Ryan. I should like to issue a stern warning to the public not to be deceived by the blandishments of the Minister for Education into believing that all is well. He has [1467] come to the House this afternoon with a sack of goodies over his shoulder lacking only the red cloak and the long white beard. However, the Santa Claus image he is attempting to portray is not borne out by the facts. When he listens, as he must, to the chorus of complaints from the schools and educational institutions, which reaches my ears and I am sure the ears of Deputy Collins, we must wonder if the sense of security which he exudes is in accordance with reality. I would argue he is less like Santa Claus than Alice in Wonderland.

In his speech the Minister mentioned the increase in the Estimates during the year, including the Supplementary Estimate. He stated:

...brings the total net amount provided for the Education group of Votes to £536,318,000. This is the greatest amount ever spent on the education services and represents an increase of 21.3 per cent over the amount provided in 1979. This is no mean achievement and is an indication of the commitment of the Government to provide the best possible education commensurate with our means.

Of course it is the greatest amount ever spent. Heaven help us if it were not. We have an inflation rate of between 18 per cent and 20 per cent and it is obvious even apart from inflation that there would have to be an increase in money terms. The Minister may argue that an increase of 21.3 per cent involves an increase in real terms even allowing for inflation. That is true but we must remember that a substantial proportion of the Vote is accounted for by teachers' salaries. The Minister has been successful to some degree in getting extra money for teachers and I am not going to blame or criticise him when he gets extra money for teachers. However, I will blame him and criticise him if he uses the extra money which teachers have got for themselves through their industrial bargaining and muscle to conceal the real problems that remain in many of the other subheads of the Vote which have been cut, pegged or only marginally increased. I [1468] will deal with these in more detail as I deal with the Votes.

First, I should like to put on the record of the House that not one red ha'penny of the £536 million has been used to produce a White Paper. One would have hoped that a few shillings of that sum, a few hours of the Minister's time, would have been spared to give us a White Paper on education if not by the time it was originally promised — the end of last year — at least by the 17 December deadline as promised in the national understanding. The failure of the Minister and the Government to deliver the White Paper is treating the national understanding and the partners to that understanding with contempt. We are given to understand that the White Paper will be out on Friday. About that I say it marks nothing more than a continuation of a long and ignoble tradition practised by governments of all hues in this House that documents that are embarrassing, and which governments and Ministers wish to see buried are issued very conveniently on the eve of public holidays.

Mr. Wilson:  The Deputy is talking about the British House of Commons.

Mr. Horgan:  The Minister may not recall that the OECD Report on Investment in Education was issued on Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve, 1965. I know of other documents and reports that were issued in the last days of July. I will modify my criticism only if the Minister in his reply gives a guarantee that Government time will be given after the recess for a debate on the White Paper and its implications so that all Deputies, not least Fianna Fáil back-benchers, will have an opportunity of debating the matter here in the right fashion. It is not an exaggeration to say that the negotiators on the national understanding found it easier to extract percentage points in salary from the Ministers for Finance and for the Public Service than to extract anything from the Minister for Education, and his delay in delivering on existing promises is sad evidence of that.

[1469] I understand that, in relation to the matters connected with the recent pay agreement between himself and the various managerial and teacher organisation, some difficulty arose in calculating, in a very short space of time, exactly how many teachers were on each point of the scale. It was thought that they would be paid in January by way of arrears, rather than immediatly following the conclusion of that agreement. I understand that several, if not all, vocational education committees who have the necessary information to pay the increases immediately are doing so and, as a result will be in overdraft by the end of the year. I should like the Minister's assurance that any action of this kind by vocational educational committees will be underwritten by him.

Mr. Wilson:  Could I ask the Deputy to repeat what he said about the vocational educational committees?

Mr. Horgan:  I understand that some vocational education committees are in a position to calculate, earlier than is the case for other teachers, the extra amount payable to these teachers under the recent salary agreement and are paying it currently, rather than waiting until January, when it will be paid in arrears. That is the situation, as I understand it. If the Minister is not aware of this, I shall not press the point.

Mr. Wilson:  I understand that it is being paid now.

Mr. Horgan:  To all teachers?

Mr. Wilson:  Yes.

Mr. Horgan:  If it is being paid to all teachers, the point does not arise.

Mr. Wilson:  That is my understanding.

Mr. Horgan:  I was given to understand that in relation to secondary teachers, for example——

[1470]Mr. Wilson:  Somebody is misinforming the Deputy.

Mr. Horgan:  ——it might not be paid until January. In relation to the Votes, there are one or two points that I should like to draw to the attention of the House. When one has made allowances for salaries and looks at some of the increases and compares them — and this is important — with the figure for 1979, one will see that even the increases being brought forward by this Minister in some of these subheads are not sufficient to bring these subheads even up to the 1979 levels or to the 1979 levels adjusted for inflation.

Take GI, for example, which is a grant-in-aid fund for cultural, scientific and educational activities. This shows an extra sum of £11,400 which will increase the original estimate of £135,000 to £146,400. However, last year the grant under this subhead was £147,000, so that even the Minister's largesse this year has failed to bring that subhead up to the 1979 figure. Let us look also at subhead G3, grant-in-aid fund for youth and sports organisations. The Minister is providing for hurleys, £100,000 to be added on to the original 1980 estimate of £1,392,000. However the 1980 original estimate itself was £12,000 below what was provided for this area in 1979. If one takes the original 1979 figure and indexes it for inflation, one will arrive at a figure of £1,670,000 which is the best part of £200,000 more than the Minister is giving with all the supplementary estimates.

In relation to primary education capital costs, one point is worth commenting on. The increase here is substantial, there is no doubt about that. Yet, we have been told by the Minister himself and by the INTO that the number of sanctions for primary schools new buildings and extensions showed a very sharp decrease in the first nine months of 1980 over the same period of the previous year and, indeed almost any previous year in recent years. The only possible conclusion one can draw from this is that the Minister savagely cut the capital allocation for primary school building and extensions this year in order the better to be able to release a flourish of money from now [1471] until the general election, in the hope that the £s spilling out of his pocket will blind people to the fact that they have had nothing for months and years beforehand.

Mr. Wilson:  Everybody knows about this general election except myself.

Mr. Horgan:  Well, the Minister's innocence becomes him.

Mr. Wilson:  My innocence helps in a wicked world.

Mr. Horgan:  I certainly can see no other reason for that. In relation to capital, the Minister notes that the extra provision — and he is talking not just about primary schools but about all schools — together with the £48 million already provided, gives a total capital budget of £59½ million, an increase of 16.6 per cent compared with 1979.

Mr. Wilson:  Great, is it not?

Mr. Horgan:  It is the answer to those people — and I am still quoting — who have stated that the building of schools has been practically stopped.

We all know that the cost of building has gone up by far more than the cost of inflation generally, because of the very large wage component in it. That is one spy-glass for looking at the 16.6 figure. The Minister is also aware that, in its recent report the National Economic and Social Council calculated — and as far as I know the Minister did not dissent from its finding — that the cutback in the capital programme for education amounted to the best part of 20 per cent.

Mr. Wilson:  That is a totally unscientific conclusion, as I will tell the Deputy in my reply.

Mr. Horgan:  I am very interested to hear the Minister say that. The Government have appointed representatives to the National Economic and Social Council who are more than capable of dissenting — as, indeed, were the Irish Congress of Trade Unions — from various parts of [1472] that report and this is the first instance that we have heard of this figure being queried.

Mr. Wilson:  I am querying the scientific basis.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Deputy Horgan, without interruptions, please.

Mr. Wilson:  I apologise.

Mr. Horgan:  The Minister is saying that the turnaround involved in his extra capital funds being provided is of the order of 36.6 per cent and I find that inconceivable. There is a figure wrong somewhere and I would prefer to believe the NESC rather than the Minister.

Mr. Wilson:  The NESC have drawn the wrong conclusion.

Mr. Horgan:  In relation to secondary education, the main points to be noted are those which are not included there, and about which representations have been made to me and, I am sure, to the Minister concerned. I do not think that anyone in that area would be fooled by what the Minister is providing.

In relation to vocational education, is the Minister satisfied, even now, with the amount being paid, £816,000 for training of teachers and £115,000 for extensions or the £2 million-odd for the specialist training teaching colleges is still enough to meet the serious shortage of teachers of these subjects? The Minister is well aware that, despite the extra money being put into the training of specialist teachers, they are still as scarce as gold dust around the country. He will also be aware that the introduction of the three-year course, of which we all are in favour in this House, is leading to a situation in which, in 1982 no teacher of metalwork or woodwork will come out from a training college so that there will be an extra year's backlog added on to the situation which has schools absolutely screaming out for these teachers. Here is an area, if anything, where we should have had even more money than we have at the moment.

[1473] In relation to higher education, on the evidence of the Minister's own speech this is something like the third supplementary estimate for higher education which we have had this year and we have had many detailed votes for the various third-level institutions.

Debate adjourned.

1.

Mr. R. Ryan:  asked the Taoiseach having regard to the enormous cost of decorating, refurbishing and maintaining in an acceptable condition Georgian and Victorian commercial theatres and the enormous capital cost of replacing them with modern theatres and opera houses, if he will provide additional moneys to the Arts Council to introduce a scheme of support for such theatres; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The Taoiseach:  A supplementary sum of £500,000 was provided for the Arts Council in 1979 to enable it, inter alia, to respond to the financial difficulties of such theatres. The allocation to the council in 1980 was increased by about 30 per cent to £3 million, including a supplementary sum of £300,000.

2.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Taoiseach if he will give an estimate of the present number of cattle in the country; and the number of live cattle which have been exported in each of the last five years.

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Mr. Moore):  The number of cattle in the State as at 1 June 1980, the latest date for which the requested information is available, was estimated at 6,935,000. The numbers of live cattle exported in each of the last five years were: 1975, 695, 300; 1976, 370, 100; 1977, [1474] 453, 200; 1978, 549, 800, and 1979, 327, 200.

The information available to date for 1980 relates to the 11 months, January to November, during which period 448, 400 live cattle were exported.

3.

Mr. O'Toole:  asked the Minister for Finance when it is proposed to carry out the necessary repairs to Killala Harbour, County Mayo.

Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Mr. McEllistrim):  It is hoped to commence these works in the Autumn of 1981.

Mr. O'Toole:  What amount of money is involved from the Department in relation to this project?

Mr. McEllistrim:  The grant is £180,000 which is 75 per cent of the cost. The local authority will have to come up with 25 per cent of it.

Mr. O'Toole:  Has agreement been reached with the local authority on their contribution?

Mr. McEllistrim:  It has.

Mr. O'Toole:  What amount of money is involved?

Mr. McEllistrim:  £180,000 is the State grant. The local authority will have to come up with 25 per cent.

Mr. O'Toole:  Is this £180,000 the total cost or 75 per cent of it? Is it the Department's share of the bill?

Mr. McEllistrim:  The cost is £180,000. A total of 75 per cent will have to be made by the State and 25 per cent by the local authority.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Ceist 4.

Mr. O'Toole:  Could I ask the Minister of State——

[1475]An Ceann Comhairle:  I am sorry, Deputy. I am calling Ceist 4. I have allowed four supplementaries on one question.

Mr. O'Toole:  Could I inform the Chair as well as the Minister of State that the reply to this question appeared in a publication yesterday in my county.

An Ceann Comhairle:  That is not the business of the Chair.

Mr. O'Toole:  It is a serious matter.

An Ceann Comhairle:  It may be but it is not a matter for the Chair.

Mr. O'Toole:  It is the second time this year I have referred to this matter. If I put a question down and find the answer published the day before in a local paper it undermines the whole purpose of Question Time.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Ceist 4.

Dr. FitzGerald:  On a point of order, I understand it is a serious breach of privilege if that happens.

Mr. O'Toole:  This is the second time this year this has happened.

Dr. FitzGerald:  I know that in the past this matter has arisen and we have even been precluded from raising matters in the House because of a question on the Order Paper. Nothing may happen by way of any statement until a question has been answered. I suggest you take note of the allegation made and investigate the matter.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The matter could be raised at the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, if necessary. It is not proper to raise it here.

4.

Mr. Tully:  asked the Minister for Finance the improvements, if any, carried out to the Garda stations in Drogheda, County Louth, since his [1476] undertaking earlier this year that work would be carried out; and the progress made towards providing a new Garda station in Drogheda.

5.

Mr. Tully:  asked the Minister for Finance if any arrangements have been made to redecorate, repair and refurnish Drogheda Garda station, County Louth, pending the provision of a new station; and, if not, why.

Mr. McEllistrim:  With the permission of the Cheann Comhairle I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 and 5 together.

Prefabricated offices to accommodate some of the Garda station staff have been provided at this centre but the installation of telephones is awaited before they are occupied. The balance of the scheme of works, involving adaptations to parts of the existing station and any necessary redecoration, will then be put in hands.

The search for a suitable site or building for development as a new Garda station is continuing.

Mr. Tully:  Does the Minister of State not consider that there is no point in putting the new buildings outside unless an effort is made to try to make them usable by the staff? Does the Minister of State not agree that it is ridiculous, six months after he said he would have something done with regard to the complaints I made the last time, to find that not even the windows have been repaired or cleaned in the station since that time? Apparently there is a contractor who does this type of work at this Garda station. Would the Minister of State not ask him to do whatever work he is supposed to be paid for doing?

Mr. McEllistrim:  We are looking for a site in the area and we have some difficulty getting one. Since the Deputy spoke last about this matter we have had prefabricated buildings erected at the back of the existing Garda station to provide offices for the PSV Section and for the traffic corps staff. The prefabs, which are ready on site in the station grounds will be occupied when the telephones, which the gardaí have requested, are installed.

[1477]Mr. Tully:  Would the Minister of State not agree that that is exactly what he told me first? We are all aware that a site has been sought and that the pre-fabs have been erected. Will the Minister of State tell me when he will make the pre-fabs able to be used by those for whom they are intended? Why should they be put there and left there? Will he try to ensure that the existing station is attended to because there will still be a substantial number of the staff in the existing station? Will he get something done with it before it falls down on top of their heads?

Mr. McEllistrim:  I would like to advise the Deputy that the pre-fab buildings are ready for occupation. The gardaí have asked that telephones be installed but as yet they are not installed. When they are installed they will be ready for the gardaí to move into them.

Mr. Tully:  When will they be installed?

Mr. McEllistrim:  The Deputy should put that question down to another Department.

Mr. Tully:  I should not put it down to another Department. The Minister is responsible for Garda stations. When will they be ready for occupation?

Mr. McEllistrim:  I am not responsible for the installation of telephones.

6.

Mr. Tully:  asked the Minister for Finance if he is aware of the deplorable condition of a number of the Garda stations in County Meath; if there are any proposals to have them put in good order; and when the reconstruction work promised on the living quarters of Kilmessan Garda station, Kilmessan, County Meath, will be carried out.

7.

Mr. Tully:  asked the Minister for Finance if the living quarters in Kilmessan Garda station, County Meath, have been put in a habitable condition; and, if not, why.

[1478]Mr. McEllistrim:  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 and 7 together.

I do not accept that any Garda station in County Meath is in a deplorable condition. A request for improvements to Kilmessan station married quarters has been examined and a scheme to carry out the works is in the course of preparation.

Mr. Tully:  When and if the Dáil meets again I propose to put down a question to the Minister of State about the other stations in County Meath which I will list for him. Would he tell the House when this scheme in relation to Kilmessan Garda station was requested and when a decision to carry out the work was made?

Mr. McEllistrim:  Drawings and specifications providing for the improvement to the layout of general repairs and internal decorations of the married quarters of Kilmessan Garda station are virtually completed. It is hoped that a contract will be placed in the new year.

Mr. Tully:  When was the decision made to do this work? I am sure the Minister of State has that on his file?

Mr. McEllistrim:  I have not got it on my file.

Mr. Tully:  The Minister of State should have it on his file. He told me six months ago the work was being carried out.

8.

Mr. Harte:  asked the Minister for Finance if he is aware of the recurring flooding at River Row, Moville, County Donegal; and if he will take steps to have the matter corrected.

Mr. McEllistrim:  I have no information on the flooding referred to. The Moville area is in the Bredagh River catchment — a small independent catchment not included in the priority lists on which the arterial drainage programme is based. There are no proposals at present [1479] for the preparation of an arterial drainage scheme for that catchment.

Mr. Harte:  The flooding in this area has nothing to do with the flooding of a river. It is the tides that are causing the flooding. It is on the edge of the sea and has nothing to do with the Bredagh river.

Mr. McEllistrim:  The Bredagh river is not on a par with the catchment of the national drainage programme.

Mr. Harte:  Obviously, as Deputy Begley says, the Minister is at sea. I wish he was.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Would the Deputy please ask a question?

Mr. Harte:  I am not asking the Minister about the priority listing of the Bredagh river. I am asking about flooding at River Row, Moville. For the benefit of the Minister, River Row is on the very edge of the coast at Lough Foyle. Tidal flooding is causing the problem and it has nothing to do with river flooding. Could the Minister take the matter up again with his Department and write to me about it and give the correct reply?

Mr. McEllistrim:  Although it is not possible positively to identify River Row, Moville, the area in the Bredagh catchment outfall enters Lough Foyle.

Mr. Harte:  I do not know how the Minister can tell the House that it is not possible to identify River Row, Moville. It has been there for the last 100 years.

An Ceann Comhairle:  A question, please, Deputy.

Mr. Harte:  It is a group of single storey houses below the level of the town almost at sea level. It is now subject to flooding.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Would the Deputy please ask a question?

Mr. Harte:  I am asking a question.

[1480]An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy is making a statement.

Dr. FitzGerald:  The Minister never heard of the area.

Mr. Harte:  I am asking the Minister what he is going to do about the recurring flooding. If the Minister does not believe the area is there if he comes up over Christmas I will show it to him. It was there last Saturday night.

Mr. McEllistrim:  The Commissioners of Public Works have no information on the record about drainage conditions——

Mr. Harte:  I am not talking about drainage conditions but about flooding.

An Ceann Comhairle:  A final supplementary. We are not going to have a debate on Question No. 8.

Mr. Harte:  My question is about flooding and has nothing to do with drainage.

Mr. L'Estrange:  What is in the script, Minister?

Mr. McEllistrim:  I read out what is in the script and I said my Department do not know anything about drainage in that area.

Mr. Harte:  I am not talking about drainage. My question is about flooding. Would somebody please tell the Minister that I am asking about flooding?

An Ceann Comhairle:  Question No. 9.

Mr. Harte:  Would the Minister not consider that there are families there who will be flooded over Christmas time while he is talking about the drainage of a river?

9.

Mr. Begley:  asked the Minister for Finance the reason the old premises of Kilgarvan national school was not handed over to the local community.

Mr. McEllistrim:  Before disposal [1481] could be considered it was necessary to ascertain if the former national school at Kilgarvan was surplus to State requirements. It has now been established that the premises are not required for State purposes and a decision regarding its disposal will be made in the near future.

Mr. Begley:  Will the Minister give an assurance to the House that local committees will get first preference and not a member of the Fianna Fáil Party?

Mr. McEllistrim:  As I said, a decision will be made on this in the near future.

Mr. L'Estrange:  That is not the question the Minister was asked.

Mr. McEllistrim:  It is. All matters will be taken into consideration.

Mr. Begley:  Will the Minister tell the House how many people are interested in the school?

Mr. McEllistrim:  We have had requests from many different organisations in the immediate area.

An Ceann Comhairle:  A final supplementary, please.

Mr. Begley:  It is all right to say a final supplementary but the Minister did not answer a specific question I put to him. Has any private individual who is a member of Fianna Fáil received an indication from the Minister that he is getting this school?

Mr. McEllistrim:  We have had requests from many different organisations in the immediate area.

Dr. FitzGerald:  But not from individuals?

Mr. McEllistrim:  From two individuals.

Dr. FitzGerald:  The Minister could have told us that the first time.

[1482]Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick:  (Cavan-Monaghan): Would the Minister not agree that it is practically general practice to give first preference to the purchase of a building like this for a community centre if it is so required? Will he give the House an assurance that he will give the local community first preference on reasonable terms?

Mr. McEllistrim:  A community organisation has requested that the school be made available to them. When I am making a decision on it I will look at their application the same as the rest.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Next question.

Mr. Begley:  I do not know why the Chair is cloaking the Minister on this issue. It is sharp practice by the Chair.

An Ceann Comhairle:  I have allowed four supplementaries on one question.

Mr. L'Estrange:  The Minister is not answering the question.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Nobody complains as much about the Chair as Deputy Begley. Every time he stands up he complains about the Chair.

Mr. Begley:  Every time I stand up I am told to shut up.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Question No. 10.

Mr. Begley:  I am entitled to ask a final supplementary. I do not see why the Chair should cloak members of the local Fianna Fáil cumann in this House.

An Ceann Comhairle:  That is an outrageous statement.

Mr. Begley:  It is true. I cannot understand why the Chair is cloaking the local Fianna Fáil cumann on this issue.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Question No. 10.

[1483]Mr. Begley:  I am entitled to ask a final supplementary on this issue.

An Ceann Comhairle:  I am calling the next question and would the Minister please obey the Chair and answer it?

Mr. Begley:  Allow me to ask a final supplementary on this issue. I am entitled to do so.

Mr. McEllistrim:  If the Deputy attended the meeting last week——

Mr. Begley:  The Minister knows why I did not attend.

(Interruptions.)

10.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Finance if moneys have been requested from the EEC specifically for the prevention of coast erosion; and, if not, why.

Mr. McEllistrim:  EEC fund assistance has not been sought for the prevention of coastal erosion because there is a sufficient availability of other projects to utilise this country's fund quota.

Mr. Begley:  I am entitled to ask a final supplementary on Question No. 9.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Deputy Deasy to ask a supplementary.

Mr. Begley:  I wish to ask a final supplementary.

An Ceann Comhairle:  If Deputy Deasy does not ask a supplementary I will pass on to the next question.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Begley:  I wish to raise this matter on the Adjournment.

An Ceann Comhairle:  I will communicate with the Deputy.

Mr. Deasy:  Where can funds for the prevention of coast erosion be obtained?

[1484]Mr. McEllistrim:  The Department of Finance make funds available for coast erosion protection work every year.

Mr. Deasy:  Is the Minister aware that the amount of funds being made available is entirely inadequate? A number of projects in my county have been before the Department for years. One in particular has been before the Minister's Department since 1964 and I should like to know why funds have not been made available.

Mr. McEllistrim:  We get a substantial amount of money each year for this work but no matter how much we would get it would not be adequate to do all the coast protection work we have to do.

Mr. Harte:  The Minister did very little with River Row, Moville. If I tell the Minister where it is will he spend some money on it?

An Ceann Comhairle:  Deputy Harte should allow Deputy Deasy to ask a supplementary.

Mr. Deasy:  The Minister referred to a substantial amount of money being made available. How much has been made available in the current year?

Mr. McEllistrim:  If the Deputy puts down a question on that I will answer it.

Mr. Deasy:  No money has been made available.

11.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for finance if he will list the Garda stations in County Waterford which have been identified as being sub-standard and where repairs or replacements have been requested by the Garda representative Body; and when the necessary remedial work or replacement in each case is scheduled to take place.

Mr. McEllistrim:  The Garda stations at Ballyduff, Cappoquin, Kilmeaden, Lismore, Tallow, Tramore, Kilmacthomas, [1485] Villierstown, Dungarvan and Passage East have been listed for replacement under the Garda building programme, but it would not be possible at this stage to say when the new Garda stations at these centres will be completed. There has been no recent request from the Garda Representative Association to have works or repairs carried out to any Garda station in County Waterford.

Mr. Deasy:  Perhaps it is not possible at present to provide the information sought but will the Minister promise to give the information within the next month about the replacement of these stations?

Mr. McEllistrim:  I will do that.

12.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Finance if accommodation at the rear of the Garda station, Ballybricken, Waterford, at present occupied by some Government Departments who are due to vacate it shortly, will be made available to the Garda Síochána.

Mr. McEllistrim:  No decision has been taken regarding the future allocation of the accommodation at the rear of the Garda station, Ballybricken, Waterford, which is at present occupied by Revenue Commissioners staff. Plans are being considered for the erection of an extension to the existing station to meet the current accommodation needs of the gardaí at Ballybricken.

Mr. Deasy:  Is the Minister aware that there is an acute accommodation problem there, that the recreational facilities were taken over last year following the bank robbery and that they have not been re-allocated?

Mr. McEllistrim:  Following a recent request from the Garda authorities, proposals for the provision of the required additional accommodation are being examined in the OPW and preliminary plans are being prepared.

[1486]Mr. Deasy:  When does the Minister expect the matter to be finalised?

Mr. McEllistrim:  Sometime in the future.

13.

Mr. M. O'Leary:  asked the Minister for Finance whether his Department are aware of a breakdown in communications between the Office of Public Works and Dublin Corporation which resulted in an extra cost of £49,500 being borne by the taxpayer; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Mr. McEllistrim:  It is not agreed that there was any breakdown in communications between the Office of Public Works and Dublin Corporation.

The position is that the Office of Public Works had expected, following consultation with Dublin Corporation, that a plot of ground sought as a site extension for the new headquarters building for the Department of Defence, would be made available following acquisition of adjoining lands by compulsory purchase order. The Office of Public Works were prepared to offer some areas of State ground in the vicinity in exchange for the plot sought. Subsequently, Dublin Corporation decided that, having regard to the acute housing shortage at the time, they could cede only a small portion of the ground in question. This development necessitated a redesign of the scheme for which fees were properly payable. A contributory factor was the space for road widening which was required by the corporation in connection with access to the proposed housing scheme.

Dr. FitzGerald:  Would the Minister indicate the grounds the OPW had for expecting the corporation so to act?

Mr. McEllistrim:  I did not hear the Deputy's question.

Dr. FitzGerald:  The Minister said the Board of Works had expected the corporation to take certain action. Was it simply that they hoped this would happen [1487] or had they a written committment from the corporation?

Mr. McEllistrim:  Indications had been, following discussions with Dublin Corporation, that such an extension would be available. The corporation were preparing to acquire the adjoining lands by compulsory purchase and in agreement with them it was decided to await the completion of the proceedings when they would be in a position to transfer an area of approximately one acre to the Commissioners. At that stage there was no question of paying any extra fees.

Dr. FitzGerald:  The Minister substituted the words “indications had been” for “had expected”. What I want to know is whether there was any written commitment from the corporation or was this money spent without any written commitment, on a highly speculative basis, by the Board of Works?

Mr. McEllistrim:  I do not think so.

Dr. FitzGerald:  The Minister does not think what? What relevance has that to my question, or to which part of my question is the Minister supposed to be replying? Was there a written commitment from the corporation?

Mr. McEllistrim:  It is relevant to the fact that they were redesigning the scheme.

Dr. FitzGerald:  Did the OPW have chats with the corporation and was it on the basis of these chats that the money was spent?

Mr. McEllistrim:  There was written confirmation from the corporation.

Dr. FitzGerald:  It took a long time to extract that.

Mr. Tully:  Is it not extraordinary that without having the matter fully clarified this sort of thing should have been entered into? Will there be a surcharge on anybody and, if so, on whom?

[1488]Mr. McEllistrim:  The amount was £49,500. That was the increased cost.

Mr. Tully:  Does the Minister understand what a surcharge is?

Mr. McEllistrim:  Of course, I do.

Mr. Tully:  Does the Minister know that somebody who gave the order to have the work carried out without proper authorisation could be held responsible for the payment back to the State of this money? Will he say whether somebody will be so surcharged and if not why not?

Mr. McEllistrim:  I do not think anybody will be surcharged.

Mr. Tully:  So public money is public money and it is all right to throw it away.

14.

Mr. Tully:  asked the Minister for the Public Service if he is aware that under the Pensions' Act, 1964, public service pensions are revised only on 1 July each year with the result that many pensioners do not receive pension adjustments, arising from appropriate pay adjustments, for up to 11 months after this adjustment occurs; and if he will arrange for a review of pensions more frequently than once a year.

15.

Mr. Tully:  asked the Minister for the Public Service if he is aware that under the Pensions Act, 1964, pensions of former State industrial workers are revised only on 1 July each year with the result that many pensioners do not receive pension adjustments arising from appropriate pay adjustments, for up to 11 months after adjustment occurs; and if he will arrange for a review of pensions more frequently than once a year.

Minister for the Public Service (Mr. G. Fitzgerald):  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 14 and 15 together.

The arrangement under which public service pensions are revised on 1 July [1489] each year by reference to the rates of pay in force on that date has been in operation for a number of years and is considered quite generous. Any question of varying the present arrangement would fall to be considered in the context of the coming budget.

State industrial workers are in the public service.

Mr. Tully:  I appreciate that has been the position for a number of years, but will the Minister not agree that from time to time it can be very unfair to pensioners when their former colleagues get a substantial wage increase while they are subsisting on a much reduced pension because the increase does not operate for up to 11 months in some cases? Will the Minister agree this should be looked at?

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  The Deputy will appreciate from his experience in Government that any varying of this arrangement would fall to be considered in the context of the coming budget. He will also appreciate that I would not be in a position to say.

Mr. Tully:  I am not asking the Minister to say. I am asking him to take it up with his colleague so that the anomaly can be remedied. It has been in operation for a number of years and on some occasions it has been found to be terribly unfair. Will the Minister have a look at it and consider doing something about it with his colleagues?

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  As I have said, any question of varying the position, which has been in operation for a number of years, would fall to be considered in the context of the coming budget.

Mr. Tully:  The Minister is nearly as bad as his Minister of State.

Mr. P. Barry:  Will the Minister agree that an improvement was made in the position of those people some years ago when the date was brought back from 30 September to 1 July?

[1490]Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  That is true, but one date can sometimes be more beneficial than another. This year it is unfortunately true that the increases in the national understanding came after 1 July.

Mr. P. Barry:  The National Coalition brought the date back and the intention was to bring it back gradually over a number of years so that ultimately the pensioners would get their increases at the same time as beneficiaries under the national pay agreements. Is it the present Government's intention to have this effected?

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  I do not know how the Deputy can say what the intention of his Government was.

Mr. P. Barry:  I know what the intention was.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  I cannot understand that, because if the Deputy goes into the arrangements he will see that bringing forward a date would not have worked beneficially this year because the increases came after 1 July. It is true to say that a new date was set by the last Government and it is also true that the original moves in that direction were taken by a previous Fianna Fáil Government.

Mr. Tully:  Is the Minister aware that the promise was made by one of his predecessors 20 years ago? The then Minister, Deputy Jim Ryan, said he would ultimately give parity by doing exactly what Deputy Barry suggested. In view of that will the Minister try to honour what his predecessor promised even if it only means starting by asking his colleagues to consider it?

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  As I indicated to the Deputy, it will be considered in the context of the budget.

Mr. Deasy:  Can the Minister give us an approximate estimate of the average cost to the Exchequer of such parity being introduced?

[1491]Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  The approximate cost of full parity would be almost £11 million.

16.

Mr. Kelly:  asked the Minister for the Public Service whether there is any section of the public service, the establishment of which is now smaller than it was in July 1977; and, if so, the section or sections involved.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  The only section of the public service where numbers have decreased since 1977 is the Permanent Defence Force. Here, however, there has been a more than offsetting increase in the strength of the Reserve Defence Force.

Mr. P. Barry:  Is it the case that since the Government changed in 1977 the only part of the public service that has not increased is the Army?

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  That is correct.

17.

Mr. Kelly:  asked the Minister for the Public Service the increased costs to the Exchequer in 1980, by comparison with the year 1977, attributable to the growth of numbers employed in the non-industrial civil service.

[1492]Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  The annual cost to the Exchequer as at 1 January 1980 of additional staff employed in the non-industrial civil service since 1 January 1977 was £27 million.

Dr. Fitzgerald:  How many people are involved?

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  Approximately 5,000.

18.

Mr. Enright:  asked the Minister for the Public Service if he will outline in the form of a tabular statement (a) the number of staff employed in the public service, (b) the names of the different bodies over which his Department have responsibility, (c) the bodies over which his Department have (i) direct responsibility and (ii) indirect responsibility and (d) the total expenditure incurred by his Department in respect of all of the staff employed, together with the cost of running his Department in each year 1977, 1978 and 1979.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  On the basis that (a) of the Deputy's question relates to the number of staff employed in the Department of the Public Service, the information requested by him is set out in a tabular statement which, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to circulate with the Official Report.

Following is the statement:

[1493][1494]Number of Staff in Department of the Public Service The following independent bodies come under the aegis of the DPS Expenditure by Department in respect of staff Total cost of running the Department
£ £
There were 482 staff in the Department of the Public Service on 1 December 1980. (1) Civil Service Commission 1977 1.591m 2.357m
(2) Public Service Advisory Council 1978 1.815m 2.576m
(3) Institute of Public Administration 1979 2.498m 3.622m
(4) Review Body on Higher Remuneration in the Public Sector.
The Minister for the Public Service has also statutory and non-statutory responsibilities in relation to other public sector bodies including state-sponsored bodies mainly in the field of pay.

[1495]19.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  asked the Minister for Defence if he intends to visit the Irish troops in the Lebanon.

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Mr. Moore):  I intend to visit Irish officers and men serving with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and with other United Nations Missions as soon as practicable.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  What does the Minister mean by “as soon as practicable”?

Mr. Moore:  There are operational considerations. The last contingent are not very long out there. The Minister would want them to settle down before visiting them.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  Would the Minister not accept that it would be good for the morale of the troops to have such a visit in the light of the fact that this has not taken place for quite some time in relation to the former contingent?

Mr. Moore:  The matter has been discussed between the Minister and the Army and this is the best way of dealing with the matter. The Minister will go at the most suitable time.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  So long as he goes.

Mr. Moore:  He will go all right.

20.

Mr. Horgan:  asked the Minister for Defence the number of occasions on which the Taoiseach has been carried by an Army helicopter as a passenger since 16 October 1980.

Mr. Moore:  The Taoiseach has not been carried by an Army helicopter as a passenger since 16 October 1980.

Mr. Harte:  That is not the question. I would like to know the number of occasions since 16 October, but I would also [1496] like to know how many occasions there were before that.

Mr. Moore:  The question relates to the use of helicopters since that day.

Mr. Harte:  The supplementary question relates to the period before that.

Mr. Moore:  I only have the information that is here and it provides a reply to the question that was asked.

Mr. Harte:  Could the Minister tell me the number of occasions prior to 16 October?

Mr. Moore:  I was not asked that.

21.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence if there will be any cutback in Naval Service activities due to the reduction being made in the estimate for patrol duty allowance and for the maintenance of vessels.

Mr. Moore:  No. A cut-back in Naval Service activities is not envisaged.

Mr. Creed:  The Estimate allowance for patrol duty is down from £190,000 to £110,000. The allowance for vessels is down from £8 million to £5 million. On maintenance of vessels it is down from £500,000 to £400,000. Will those reductions have a serious effect on the amount of duty which can be carried out by the Defence forces?

Mr. Moore:  I think the Deputy is mistaken here. This year a certain amount of money could be spent on overhauling a vessel but next year she would not need the same overhaul and less money would be required. Therefore, that would not entail a cut-back in the accepted sense of the word. Money is provided when it is needed.

Mr. Creed:  Would the Minister agree that as a result of this cut-back only 25 per cent of the time necessary will be spent on duties?

[1497]Mr. Moore:  I have answered the question. There is no cut-back on Naval Service duties and it is not envisaged either.

Mr. Creed:  If there is a reduction in the Estimate does that mean that there will be a scarcity of men?

Mr. Moore:  I have explained the position.

Mr. Creed:  I am talking about patrol duty. There is a serious reduction.

Mr. Moore:  It is a matter of operational considerations. We are never short of money for a worthy object. The Deputy knows that.

Mr. Creed:  I am concerned about the reduction in the Estimate. It means one of two things, that one has not the men to do the duty or one is going to have to cut-back on the duty. Which is it?

Mr. Moore:  We are providing for a very efficient Naval Service.

22.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence if he is now in a position to give the information requested in Parliamentary Question No. 21 of 18 June 1980; if these vessels are Irish designed; and the foreign participation, if any, there has been in this project.

23.

Mr. Hegarty:  asked the Minister for Defence when work will commence at Verolme Dockyard, Cork on the new naval vessels.

Mr. Moore:  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 22 and 23 together. While the detailed specifications have not, as yet, been fully completed the principal characteristics of the two new helicopter bearing vessels for the Naval Service which have already been decided are as follows:—

Length overall 80.75 metres[1498]
Loaded displacement 1,760 tonnes
Range at cruising speed of 15 knots 7,000 nautical miles
Main propulsion machinery 2 diesel engines of 3,600 H.P. (approx.) each
Accommodation 85 all ranks
Trial speed 19.00 knots

The specifications will be finalised as quickly as possible and it is expected that an order will be placed shortly thereafter.

Extensive investigations were carried out to determine the optimum design of vessel suited to conditions in our waters. My Department, the Naval Service, Irish Shipping and a number of external agencies have contributed to the development of the design.

Mr. Creed:  Do we own the design of these vessels? Can we sell it to other countries? Is there foreign participation here in the design of these vessels?

Mr. Moore:  We have gone to considerable trouble to get the best available knowledge on this design. It has affected the starting date of the vessel. This is the first helicopter-bearing vessel to be built for the Naval Service.

Mr. Creed:  That does not answer my question. Do we own the design or can we sell it to other countries?

Mr. Moore:  I do not know. I would say that we are certainly paying for the design and therefore we own it. I am not certain whether we can sell it again or not.

Mr. Creed:  I take it that that means we can sell it to other countries.

Mr. Moore:  I honestly do not know. I do not think the question arises anyway.

Mr. Creed:  The question arises out of Question No. 22.

Dr. FitzGerald:  Why is it that, although the Minister has said he wanted to take Questions Nos. 22 and 23 together, he has not answered Question No. 23?

Mr. Moore:  I have replied to it.

[1499]Dr. FitzGerald:  I must have missed that.

Mr. Moore:  I can read the whole answer again if the Deputy thinks that would be helpful.

Dr. FitzGerald:  I simply want to know the date on which the work will commence.

Mr. Moore:  I will read the whole answer again.

Dr. FitzGerald:  Would the Minister just tell me the date the work will commence? If the Minister mentioned that, I missed it. I am sorry.

Mr. Moore:  It is not possible to say when the work will commence. They are still not finished preparing it, but it will be as soon as possible.

An Ceann Comhairle:  A final supplementary.

Mr. P. Barry:  Would the Minister agree that talks about these two vessels for the Cork dockyard have been going on in his Department for the past 12 months and every time the matter is raised in this House the answer from the Minister is “as soon as possible”? Would the Minister agree that unless an order is given very shortly to the dockyard 300 people will be laid off on 1 January? That being so, will the Minister ensure that an order is given to the dockyard before the end of the week?

Mr. Moore:  I assure the Deputy in all sincerity that steps have been taken to ensure that the future of the dockyard is safeguarded.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Question No. 24.

Mr. P. Barry:  This dockyard cannot survive on the verbosity of Fianna Fáil. It needs orders.

[1500]Mr. Moore:  I assure Deputy Barry that he will see the launching of the vessel.

24.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence if any Naval Service NCO training was carried out outside Haulbowline; and, if so, if he will give details; and the reason why it is necessary to have training carried on outside the base.

Mr. Moore:  Since May 1979 Naval Service personnel attended potential non-commissioned officers' courses and senior non-commissioned officers' courses conducted for the Defence Forces as follows:

Potential NCO Courses Senior NCO Courses
Curragh 22 2
Collins Barracks Cork 49
Custume Barracks 6
Athlone
Cathal Brugha 5
Barracks Dublin

Mr. Creed:  Does the Minister consider that conditions of service and pay and unsocial hours are a deterrent to recruitment?

Mr. Moore:  Sin ceist eile.

Mr. Creed:  It arises on the question.

Mr. Moore:  It does not arise.

Mr. Creed:  Are the unsocial hours, together with pay and conditions, a deterrent to potential recruits?

Mr. Moore:  If the Deputy puts down a question on this matter I am sure the Minister will answer it.

Mr. Harte:  Deputy Hegarty put down a question and was not given an answer.

25.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence if he will outline the success he has had in recruiting direct entry officers to the Naval Service this year; the number recruited; and whether those [1501] recruited were marine engineers or navigation officers.

Mr. Moore:  A total of eight direct entry officers have been appointed to the Naval Service in 1980 to date, comprising five marine engineer officers and three navigation officers.

Mr. Creed:  The supplementary I asked earlier arises on this question. Are the long hours and the conditions of service and pay a deterrent to potential recruits?

Mr. Moore:  I am answering the question asked. The Naval Service have enlisted eight direct entry officers. I am sure they must have found the remuneration quite satisfactory.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Question No. 26.

Mr. Creed:  Will the Minister outline the success achieved in recruited direct entry officers to the Naval Service this year?

Mr. Moore:  The success is shown by the fact that eight direct entry officers have enlisted this year to date.

Mr. Creed:  How many were sought and how many applicants were there?

Mr. Moore:  Significant inducements have been used during the past few years in order to attract suitably qualified direct entry officers to the Naval Service. In the case of engineer officers these include appointment to the rank of lieutenant in the Naval Service, payment of short-service pay in addition to normal pay amounting to £12,250 over five years and, in the case of officers who hold a first-class certificate of competency, entry on the fifth point of the lieutenant's pay scale. The following are examples of amounts which may be earned by direct entry officers over five years: officers with a first-class certificate of competency, £63,659; officers with a second-class certificate of competency, £60,937. A patrol duty allowance of £5.67 per day for each day [1502] spent away from base is also payable to officers on sea-going duty.

Mr. P. Barry:  How many applicants were there?

Mr. Moore:  There were eight this year.

Mr. P. Barry:  That is the number recruited. What was the number of applicants?

An Ceann Comhairle:  We cannot remain all day on this question. Next question, please.

26.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence if the reason for not establishing naval service sub-bases at present is due to the shortage of funds and the inadequate number of men in the service; and if he will outline his policy on this matter.

Mr. Moore:  No. Since the reply to Question No. 23 on 18 June 1980, the Naval Service have taken over facilities at Spike Island where recruit and potential NCO training is now being carried out. There are no plans for the establishment of sub-bases elsewhere.

Mr. Creed:  In view of the drive to recruit more naval personnel, would the Minister consider maintaining the headquarters in Haulbowline and create sub-bases around the country as an incentive to recruitment?

Mr. Moore:  I understand there are great difficulties to be overcome in the creation of sub-bases. Consideration has been given to this matter from time to time and various places around the coast have been considered for alternative or additional naval bases, for example, Castletownbere, the Shannon Estuary at Foynes, Galway, Cashla Bay, the Aran Islands, Blacksod Bay, Sligo, Killybegs, Lough Swilly, Rathmullen, Howth and Dunmore East.

Mr. Creed:  Will the search continue?

Mr. Moore:  The search for a suitable [1503] base is continuing but there are many difficulties to be overcome in the establishment of a sub-base.

An Ceann Comhairle:  A final supplementary.

Mr. Creed:  Does the Minister regard the fact that there is only one base at Haulbowline as a disincentive to recruitment?

Mr. Moore:  We are satisfied for the moment with the Haulbowline base but we are always on the lookout for more suitable sub-bases.

27.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence if, in view of the reply to Parliamentary Question No. 3 on 25 June 1980, he will have a study undertaken of requirements of the Naval Service in the light of the Law of the Sea Conference.

Mr. Moore:  The requirements of the Naval Service are being kept under review in the light of developments at the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea.

28.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence whether his Department are now carrying out hydrographic surveys.

Mr. Moore:  The Government decided in July 1963 that, in principle, an Irish hydrographic service should be established as part of the Naval Service and that implementation of that decision should be deferred until such time as the staffing resources of the Naval Service and financial considerations would permit.

The position obtaining since then was explained in the second and third paragraphs of my predecessor's reply to Question No. 5 on 19 June 1980.

Mr. Creed:  That question was put down to the Minister's predecessor and I was told that an agency under the Taoiseach's Department was dealing with it. Consequently I put down a question to [1504] the Taoiseach. Would the Minister state why it has now been transferred to his office?

Mr. Moore:  The fount of truth and all that.

Mr. Creed:  The Minister's predecessor informed me that the National Board for Science and Technology under the Department of the Taoiseach had responsibility for this matter. That was the reply to an earlier question. I then tabled a question to the Taoiseach and I am amazed to find that the answer is being given by the Minister of State at the Department of Defence. Will anything be done in this matter since nothing has been done for 17 years?

Mr. Moore:  The Naval Service have many serious duties and onerous duties to carry out and hydrographic surveying is not a high priority with them, although they would certainly like to do it. They are heavily involved in fishery patrols and many other duties.

Mr. Creed:  This is not a matter for the Naval Service because it is now under the Department of the Taoiseach. May I have some indication as to whether anything will be done in this regard? The question was put to the Taoiseach and for some reason it was transferred to the Minister for Defence.

Mr. Moore:  The rules and regulations of the House decide where questions are placed.

An Ceann Comhairle:  A final supplementary.

Mr. P. Barry:  Is the Minister of State correct in saying that the rules of the House determine who answers questions?

An Ceann Comhairle:  A question is transferred on the basis of collective responsibility.

Mr. P. Barry:  It is not a function of the Chair.

[1505]An Ceann Comhairle:  No, it is not the function of the Chair.

Mr. P. Barry:  The question was transferred by the Taoiseach because he does not like answering questions in this House. Any questions which might be embarrassing are transferred to one of the boys down the line.

Dr. FitzGerald:  I want to ask the Minister whether hydrographic surveys have been carried out during this 17-year period?

Mr. Moore:  I am not sure, but the general practice in Dublin is to correct the Admiralty charts without carrying out full surveys.

Dr. FitzGerald:  Does the Minister's brief not cover that point? Surely that arises directly from the question? Is the Minister in a position to tell us if any surveys have been carried out?

Mr. Moore:  The Naval Service have not carried out surveys, so far as I know.

Dr. FitzGerald:  Have other naval services carried out surveys on our behalf?

Mr. Moore:  Admiralty charts are corrected from time to time but we do not always carry out full hydrographic surveys.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Question No. 29.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  On a point of information, is it not a fact that the Royal Navy still have to do the job for us? I saw them doing it in West Cork.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Will the Minister answer the question called by the Chair.

29.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence the length of time evaluations and examinations have been going on to [1506] acquire a twin-engined helicopter; if there have been delays in acquiring such an aircraft, in view of the quick acquistion of an executive jet by the Air Corps; if similar action could be taken to acquire this vital type of helicopter for the Air Corps; if he will give an undertaking to have such aircraft in service by the end of the year; and if he will give a date for delivery.

Mr. Moore:  As stated in reply to the Deputy's question on 24 June 1980, provision was included in the Defence Vote, 1979, for a down payment on the purchase of a twin-engined helicopter. Tenders were invited with a view to purchase but, as it was indicated by the manufacturers of certain aircraft in which the Defence Forces were interested that these would be phased out of production and replaced with newer models over the next few years, it was decided not to proceed with purchase; it was intended instead to arrange for the lease of a twin-engined helicopter this year. Tenders for the lease of a twin-engined helicopter were invited and, after evaluation, a contract was placed for the lease of a suitable twin-engined helicopter. Delivery is due by the end of May 1981.

Having regard to the necessity for detailed technical investigation and examination of the aircraft offered, including their suitability for the roles required of them and the change in procurement arrangements occasioned by the developments relating to the introduction of new models. I do not consider that there was any undue delay in finalising arrangements for the acquisition of a suitable aircraft in this case.

30.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence if he will state in relation to a report (details supplied) concerning the Army's Churchill tanks: (a) if the report was accurate and, if so, the reason action was taken; and (b) the number of Churchill tanks still in existence and the condition of each; if he will give, in the interests of preservation, an undertaking that such items will be examined by a military analyst before their destruction is allowed to take place; if examples of [1507] this type of vehicle will be retained for military museum purposes; and if any vehicles have been or will be made available to the Ulster Folk Museum.

Mr. Moore:  An old Churchill tank which had been located on my Department's lands at Leitrim, Glen of Imaal, close to the public road, was buried because it attracted young persons to enter the lands which are a source of danger. The Department have one other Churchill tank which is unserviceable. It is located in a military museum at the Curragh Camp.

31.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence the role he envisages for An Slua Mhuirí; and if he considers that the training, experience and number of personnel indicate any meaningful role for it in Naval Service operations.

Mr. Moore:  The role laid down for An Slua Muirí is to assist the Naval Service in seaward defence, port control and examination of vessels and training is directed towards making the personnel involved proficient in these tasks. The present effective strength is 424 all ranks and with the training and experience available I am satisfied that in an emergency situation An Slua would be capable of fulfilling a meaningful and effective role in support of the Naval Service.

32.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence if he has examined Army pay and conditions including accommodation since he took office; if he considers the present position satisfactory; if the position expressed in reply to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 24 and 342 of 18 June 1980 has changed as indicated in the last paragraph of his reply to Parliamentary Question 369 of 21 October 1980 and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Mr. Moore:  The pay and conditions of service of all Defence Forces personnel are kept under constant review by my [1508] Department and I am satisfied that, within the resources available, the present situation in this regard is generally satisfactory.

The accommodation provided for members of the Permanent Defence Force is generally of a satisfactory standard. New billets have been provided at a number of locations and others are under construction. Existing billets are continuing to be improved where practicable.

Pay, additional pay, and allowances, other than allowances in respect of duties of a security nature, have been increased with effect from 1 October 1980 in accordance with the terms of the first phase of the agreement on pay policy in the second national understanding.

Mr. Creed:  Would the Minister give some indication of the number of hours expected to be worked by these personnel?

Mr. Moore:  I do not have that information.

Mr. Creed:  May I inform the Minister that some of these men are working up to 90 hours per week. Does the Minister consider that the accommodation provided is adequate to meet the needs of the personnel concerned?

Mr. Moore:  There are cases where accommodation is not of the highest standard, but efforts are being made to improve it.

Mr. Creed:  Is the Minister aware that married quarters for many of these people were built by the British over 70 years ago? Would he consider that these are inadequate for married quarters?

Mr. Moore:  We are striving all the time to improve barracks accommodation for married and single personnel.

Mr. Creed:  Would the Minister set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the pay, conditions, allowances and accommodation available to our Defence Forces?

[1509]Mr. Moore:  I suggest to the Deputy that he put down a question on those lines.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  A waste of time.

Mr. Creed:  Recently the situation was highlighted when we heard about the amounts paid to tanker drivers and the allowances paid to the men who had to take over when there was a strike. Would the Minister accept that we expect cheap labour from the Army because they do not have any union to represent them and that the Army, Navy and Air Corps are suffering as a result of the restrictions imposed by the Government?

Mr. Moore:  We do not seek cheap labour but I suggest——

An Ceann Comhairle:  Question No. 33.

Mr. Creed:  The Minister must be aware of the allowances paid to these men recently. How do they compare with allowances given to people doing similar jobs in civilian life?

Mr. Moore:  I suggest the Deputy put down a question on these points.

Mr. Creed:  In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the Minister's reply, I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to raise the matter on the adjournment.

An Ceann Comhairle:  I will communicate with the Deputy.

33.

Mr. Bermingham:  asked the Minister for Defence how the intake of apprentices to the Army apprentice school at Naas, County Kildare in 1980 compares with similar figures for the previous three years.

Mr. Moore:  The intake of apprentices to the Army Apprentice School, Naas, in [1510] the years 1977 to 1979 was as follows: 1977, 61; 1978, 64; 1979, 62.

The intake of apprentices to the school in 1980 to date is 42. As enlistment is continuing at present, it is not yet possible to furnish the final figure for this year.

Mr. Bermingham:  Is the Minister aware that there has been a serious drop in the number of admissions to this school although there is a clamour for admission?

Mr. Moore:  The year has not finished yet.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  Ever hopeful. Santa Claus might bring a few apprentices.

Mr. Bermingham:  Is the Minister seriously suggesting that people will go on a course during the remainder of 1980? There has been a withdrawal of the canteen services resulting in civilian unemployment. Is that the reason for the drop in numbers?

Mr. Moore:  I am not so aware.

Mr. Harte:  Does the manifesto not deal with that?

Mr. Bermingham:  Will the Minister of State ask the Minister for Defence to let me know if the withdrawal of canteen services has resulted in a drop in numbers at that school? It must be admitted that we are cutting back on the services being provided in that school.

Mr. Moore:  I will bring the Deputy's remarks to the notice of the Minister.

34.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence if the provision of one 70 man billet for the Naval Service, referred to in the reply to Parliamentary Question No. 25 of 18 June 1980 is adequate to cope with the increase in establishment strength this year from 866 to 1,105; and where Naval Service personnel, other than those referred to in the reply to Parliamentary Question No. 404 of 30

[1511] October 1980 are accommodated as there is only accommodation for 336.

Mr. Moore:  Apart from the living accommodation at the Naval Base, Haulbowline, of which I gave details to the Deputy on 30 October, 1980, such accommodation is provided for personnel of the Naval Service on Spike Island, in a number of military barracks and on ships of the service. There is a substantial number of personnel who live outside official quarters and do not, therefore, require to be accommodated in such quarters.

35.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence if he will make a statement on reports that the Dutch Navy is to supervise the training of Naval Service personnel for the new helicopter carrying vessels, if these reports are accurate; if any other foreign navy will be involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Mr. Moore:  The Dutch Navy have not been asked to undertake the role envisaged in the Deputy's question.

Dr. FitzGerald:  Has any other foreign navy been asked?

Mr. Moore:  I was asked about the Dutch Navy.

Dr. FitzGerald:  The question asked if any other foreign navy will be involved. Would the Minister answer that part of the question?

Mr. Moore:  The Dutch have not been asked to undertake the role.

Dr. FitzGerald:  I know the Minister said that. Would he answer the question put down, which is whether any foreign aid was involved? That is either yes or no.

Mr. L'Estrange:  It will not be yes or no. It has to be an ambivalent answer.

[1512]Mr. Moore:  I am afraid that I have not got the information on this.

Dr. FitzGerald:  The Minister should ensure that when questions are put down the reply is in his brief.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  and Mr. White asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry if, in view of reports in this morning's papers with regard to statements by him in Brussels about the negotiating situation in relation to the coastal band, he will make an urgent statement on the matter.

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Lenihan) (for the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry):  The Fish Council has now ended without reaching any decision on quotas or access and the Irish position in relation to these two important aspects of fishery policy remains unchanged.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  Could the Minister state exactly what is the Irish position on the question of the coastal band bearing in mind that in 1977 the position of the Government was for a 50-mile band and, more important, that the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry is quoted in today's Irish Independent as saying that it was not realistic now to think in terms of a totally exclusive 12-mile band?

Mr. Lenihan:  The Irish position now clearly is one of quotas and access, provisional quotas. What we want to ensure in regard to access is that to as great degree as possible Irish fishermen with their boats and gear will have the greatest possible share in fishing the waters adjacent to Ireland.

Dr. FitzGerald:  Does that mean that the exclusive band is now sold out by this Government?

Mr. Lenihan:  No.

Deputies:  Yes.

[1513]Mr. Lenihan:  No.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. L'Estrange:  The Taoiseach has a smile at that and I do not blame him.

Mr. Harte:  That is the first time he has smiled in 18 months.

Mr. Lenihan:  As far as Ireland is concerned, our objective is to ensure that the 12-mile zone from our base line is reserved for Irish fishermen subject to a quantification in regard to historic rights. One of the matters that has to be resolved historically is regarding rights which exist already.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  May I take it, then, that the substance of the Minister's reply is——

An Ceann Comhairle:  A question please, Deputy, not a statement.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  Is it a fact that the Minister, his Government and his friends have thrown in the towel in regard to an exclusive band and what we are talking about now is preferential treatment in regard to this 12-mile band with reference to French trawlers and so on?

Mr. Lenihan:  No, our negotiating position is the 12-mile limit.

Dr. FitzGerald:  Abandoned by the Minister in this morning's paper.

Mr. Lenihan:  No.

Dr. FitzGerald:  Is that report incorrect?

Mr. Lenihan:  That report is incorrect.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Lenihan:  Our negotiating position is that we retain our objective to secure a 12-mile band for Irish fishermen and reserve zones in that area and, in addition to that, in the whole area out to 200 miles to secure preferential quotas which [1514] already have been acknowledged by the Commission and the Community.

Mr. Deasy:  In his reply the Minister made reference to access for our fishermen. Access to what?

Mr. Lenihan:  To our waters.

Mr. Deasy:  What waters?

Mr. Lenihan:  Fishing waters out to 200 miles.

Dr. FitzGerald:  The Minister states that this morning's paper is incorrect and that the journalist who quoted him as saying that to think in terms of quotas——

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy should not quote.

Dr. FitzGerald:  ——was falsifying the Minister's remark. Is that the Minister's allegation?

Mr. Lenihan:  I have no knowledge whatever of what report appears in the daily papers. All I know is that the Fish Council ended today and that our negotiating position remains until the Fish Council is reconvened.

An Ceann Comhairle:  A final supplementary.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  I ask the Minister to bear in mind that, if after selling out the 50-mile limit they now sell out the 12-mile limit, they have done immeasurable harm to this country for decades and centuries ahead.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Mr. Lenihan:  The Deputy is talking nonsense.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  You threw out the 50-mile limit.

An Ceann Comhairle:  This is the last day for questions before the recess. Written replies will be given to the remaining questions for oral answer on the Order [1515] Paper. However, if any Deputy wishes to have his questions left until after the recess, he should notify the General Office to that effect.

The Taoiseach:  A Cheann Comhairle, b'áil liom cead a chur in iúl, mar eolas don Dáil:

(1) gur cheap an tUachtarán innéan Teachta Tomás Ó Nualláin mar chomhalta den Rialtas, tar éis dom a chur in iúl don Uachtarán go raibh Dáil Éireann tar éis comhaontú [1671] le méd'ainmniú an Teachta Ó Nualláin;

(2) go bhfuilim innétar éis sannadh na Roinne Saothair do Eoghan Mac Gearailt a fhorcheannadh agus an Roinn Airgeadais a shannadh dó agus an Roinn Saothair a shannadh do Thomás Ó Nualláin; agus

(3) go bhfuil an Rialtas inniu, ar m'ainmniú, tar éis an Teachta Micheál Mac Gabhann a cheapadh mar Aire Stáit ag an Roinn Talmhaíochta agus Tomás Ó hEodhusa, An tAire Stáit roimhe seo ag an Roinn sin, a cheapadh mar Aire Stáit ag an Roinn Sláinte agus ag an Roinn Leasa Shóisialaigh.

A Cheann Comhairle, I beg leave to announce, for the information of the Dáil,

(1) that, having informed the President that Dáil Éireann had approved my nomination of Deputy Nolan to be a member of the Government, the President yesterday appointed him accordingly;

(2) that I terminated the assignment of the Department of Labour to Deputy G. Fitzgerald yesterday and assigned the Department of Finance to him and assigned the Department of Labour to Deputy Nolan; and

(3) that, on my recommendation, the Government today appointed Deputy Smith to be Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and appointed Deputy Hussey, formerly Minister of State at that Department, to be Minister of State at the Department of Health and at the Department of Social Welfare.

An Ceann Comhairle:  I wish to make a statement and a report to the House. I have received a preliminary report on the incident today when the Chamber was invaded by unauthorised persons. At approximately midday about ten young [1672] people climbed over the railings dividing the College of Art from the Leinster House courtyard and dashed through the hallway and up the main stairway to the Dáil Chamber. Attempts to stop them by ushers in the hall and at the bottom and top of the stairway were unsuccessful and the intruders entered the Chamber. Four or five of these succeeded in reaching the door of the Chamber, the rest being held successfully by the Captain of the Guard and the ushers. It took about three minutes before the Chamber was cleared. Two of the intruders were taken into custody by the Garda and the remainder were ejected from the premises. I am calling a special meeting of the Dáil Committee on Procedure and Privileges to consider the matter at 7.00 p.m. this evening.

The Taoiseach:  In common with most other Deputies I view this morning's incident as a matter of grave concern and I welcome your action in regard to it, Sir.

Dr. FitzGerald:  I share the concern at the ease with which unauthorised persons entered the precincts of the House and the House itself. Apparently the majority succeeded in leaving again and I am a little disturbed by the implication of your statement, Sir, that they were ejected instead of being arrested, if that is the case. I am glad to hear that the matter is being considered by the Committee on Procedure and Privileges this evening. I trust that arising from this meeting effective measure will be taken forthwith to ensure that there will be no repetition of this kind of incident.

Mr. Horgan:  On behalf of the Labour Party I welcome the step you have taken in referring this as a matter of urgency to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges which, as the body most concerned directly with security in this House, will have to take whatever lesson has been learned from today's affair into consideration. Any event of this kind is serious for a number of reasons. It underlines the difficulty of combining reasonable security with reasonable access to the Houses of the Oireachtas for Deputies and members [1673] of the public. Nobody here wants Leinster House, the Dáil or Seanad turned into an armed camp because of the sort of event that happened today. It underlines also the right and, indeed we would argue, the duty of our democratic institutions to defend themselves against attack.

An Ceann Comhairle:  We will now move on to item No. 7, Education. Deputy Horgan is in possession and has eight minutes left.

Debate resumed on the following motion:

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £5,080,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 1980, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Education (including Institutions of Science and Art), for certain miscellaneous educational and cultural services and for payment of sundry grants-in-aid.

—(Minister for Education.)

Mr. Horgan:  I was referring to the Supplementary Estimate for higher education and to the fact that this is the third Supplementary Estimate in relation to some of the institutions of higher education that has come before us this year. I should like the Minister to explain whether it is the accounting of the Higher Education Authority or of the institutions themselves that is at fault to the extent that it is necessary for him to come back twice or three times to the House for sums of money to enable the third-level institutions to complete the year's work. I also note that there is no provision in the Supplementary Estimate for any increase in higher education grants for this or any year and I would remind the House that there is an obvious connection between this fact and the fact that [1674] the proportion of third-level students who are grant holders seems to be sadly going down. At the beginning of my speech I said that the Minister's Santa Claus image would fool nobody. It is more of an Alice in Wonderland exercise and I believe that time and the complaints of the people who are trying to operate our educational system will bear me out.

I should like to give the remainder of my time, by prior agreement with the Ceann Comhairle, to Deputy John Ryan.

Mr. J. Ryan:  I thank Deputy Horgan and the Chair for their co-operation in this matter. I am concerned about the development of regional colleges and the impact on the future needs of our youth. In recent times we have heard and read of professors and people of knowledge indicating, due to the arrival of the microchip, the need to prepare our youth for this tremendous challenge in the next 20 years. Because of this call for more technocrats and the need for further development in this region I am very concerned as a member of a vocational education committee that the position regarding regional colleges and their needs and finances be assessed as a matter of urgency by the Minister. For that reason alone I intervene in this debate.

There is great and urgent need for an increase in the number of scholarships to regional colleges if we are to meet the challenge of the microchip and prepare our young people for it. In the future more boys and girls will need assistance from the Department in preparation for this challenge through regional college education. For that reason I strongly recommend to the Minister an in-depth study and urgent review of the situation and a substantial increase in the number of scholarships to regional colleges. I should also like to emphasise the need for a review of the means test in regard to these scholarships. We need many thousands of boys and girls if we are to withstand this challenge in the future and a review of the means test is vitally necessary in the case of thousands of parents whose sons and daughters are anxious to learn the new technology for employment in industry.

[1675] I should like the Minister to look into another matter. There seems to be confusion and overlapping in the allocation and preparation of schemes by county councils and vocational education committees. If there was co-ordination through the Minister's Department and more relevant arrangements between the county councils and the VECs in regard to the grants scheme it might avoid some confusion among pupils seeking scholarships.

As we may be approaching the possibility of another package I should like to direct the Minister's attention to the very strong case submitted to the Higher Education Authority for the Minister's final sanction on the question of the recognition of the new vocational school in Thurles as a regional college in County Tipperary. The need is there and the case has been constructively put forward and I ask the Minister to give the matter urgent consideration. County Tipperary as a unit is entitled to a regional college. The White Paper submitted to the HEA will bear me out. I appreciate that the HEA have a big say in the matter but the ultimate decision I believe will rest with the Minister. We in Tipperary look forward to the new school in Thurles which will be completed for the school year commencing in September 1981 and I hope that by that time the Minister will have accepted that the school should be a regional technical college. In that way he will be doing great service to County Tipperary.

As a layman I want to say that what is now offered is a travesty of free education. Gone are the days when we heard the late Deputy Donagh O'Malley introduce free education. The position has changed today. I have had numerous requests from primary schools — the Minister I know has also had them — indicating a crisis in primary education because of shortage of money. The shortage has now gone to the secondary sector. A school in Thurles that I know found it necessary to write to the Minister personally on 1 December indicating a crisis in that school. That indicates a national crisis both in primary and secondary education. [1676] I should like the Minister to bear in mind the points I have mentioned and I hope that what I said in regard to Thurles and the package for north Tipperary will be remembered in the impending by-election.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Minister has about 13 minutes.

Mr. Harte:  The Minister is being called at this point?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Yes, to conclude. That is the arrangement with the Whips. Actually the Minister is seven minutes late in being called.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  I thank the Deputies who contributed to the debate. I shall have to skip fairly quickly through various points I wanted to make in reply, ach is mian liom ar dtús mo bhuíochas a ghabháil leo mar gur thóg siad páirt san díospóireacht agus gur léirigh siad a dtuairimí dom.

I was a bit flattered at being compared with Saint Nicholas of Myra by Deputy Horgan.

Mr. Harte:  Not favourably.

Mr. Wilson:  I regret that I did not measure up to the image with my red cloak and white trimmings. I envisaged Deputy Collins as Don Quixote de la Mancha when he was on his mission tilting at windmills because he came out fighting about the school transport service and began attacking something that unlike in Don Quixote's case was not there, some problem regarding school transport. At least Don Quixote had the windmill to remind him of the realities of life and one of its vanes struck him. I want to tell Deputy Collins that I found it very difficult to refrain from laughing when he expressed his great concern about our school transport system.

As he admitted himself, a Minister from his own party set up a special committee to find out how the transport service should be organised and to suggest a scale of charges, which is precisely what happened. When Deputy Ryan was Minister for Finance he flew a kite — in fact, [1677] he was an expert kite flyer — about the transport system but he was made aware in no uncertain fashion that he would not be allowed to interfere with it. I want to direct the attention of the Deputy and the House to the fact that more than £20 million was provided this year for the school transport system. I should not like any worry about it to come between Deputy Collins and his night's sleep during the next few weeks.

The Government are committed to education to the extent that they have allocated £536,318,000 for this purpose. That is £100 million more than was provided in the 1979 budget. If I include the non-voted money the sum is £545,397,000 which is a considerable sum to provide for educational services. Recently all Deputies received a memo regarding the census. I ask them to look at some of the statistics in that memo and in the census report. Speaking in general terms there are about 1,029,000 children in the category 0-14 years and more than 800,000 in the 14-29 category. The latter figure is not very helpful: it would be much better if we had a 14-22 grouping. On the continent the 14-29 grouping is much more significant because students there continue for a longer period in third-level education. The young people are the concern of the Government and it is for them the moneys I have mentioned have been allocated by the Government and have been voted by the House.

Deputy Horgan said there was a reduction in capital expenditure. However, if he examines the figures he will see that total expenditure on capital works this year was £59,500,000 which is £9.3 million more than the out-turn for last year.

Mr. J. Ryan:  A 10 per cent increase.

Mr. Wilson:  It is £9.3 million on £48 million. The increase is substantial. It is £31,857,000 greater than the 1976 figure, the last full year of the National Coalition.

Mr. E. Collins:  We have had no inflation of course.

[1678]Mr. Wilson:  There has been inflation. In 1980 some 121 new primary schools or major extensions were sanctioned and 55 building projects at post-primary level have been approved for contract or tenders have been invited. Despite the impassioned plea of Deputy Collins about Wood Quay — a late-founded enthusiasm I might remark——

Mr. E. Collins:  That is not true.

Mr. Wilson:  ——a sum of £283,000 was provided.

Mr. E. Collins:  The Minister should know that I raised the matter two years ago in the Council of Europe.

Mr. Wilson:  Deputy Horgan reluctantly mentioned that we had some success with regard to teachers's pay but then he proceeded to do some nit-picking with regard to expenditure under the various subheads. The Deputy mentioned the £100,000 being made available under subhead G.3 for the purchase of hurleys for young people. The original Estimate, according to Deputy Horgan, was £12,000 less than was provided in 1979. The Deputy should study the Estimate more closely because he overlooked the fact that the 1979 Estimate provided £300,000 for capital. In 1980 capital is being provided from the tripartite fund. In fact, under subhead G.3 the Estimate for current expenditure is £300,000 more than was provided in 1979. He mentioned something about NESC and I said I would refer to it in my reply. The reason I said they were unscientific was that they were comparing 1979 with 1980 but they were comparing the out-turn in 1979 with Estimates in 1980. That is unpardonable. The exercise we are going through here at the moment indicates how unscientific that procedure was because the moneys being voted now as a result of the Supplementary Estmates and the moneys voted during the year must be added to the amount in the Book of Estimates to get a fair basis for comparison. This should have been done.

Reference is made to the review body [1679] on teachers' pay. The Supplementary Estimates make provision for payment in respect of an increase in salaries as from 1 September 1980 following agreement at the teachers' conciliation council who processed it on proposals deriving from the review body. I am very glad to have this opportunity of expressing my thanks to members of that review body for their sterling work——

Mr. E. Collins:  They nearly resigned.

Mr. Wilson:  ——in connection with the assignment given to them within their terms of reference. That was to examine and report on the levels of salary and allowances for teachers and the common basic scale, taking cognisance of the circumstances of other groups with comparable professional qualifications and responsibilities. Their approach to the task was thorough and expeditious——

Mr. E. Collins:  Unlike the Minister's attitude to their report.

Mr. Wilson:  I did not interrupt the Deputy. What I am saying seems to rile him for some reason.

Mr. E. Collins:  They nearly resigned.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Deputy must allow the Minister to continue without interruption.

Mr. Wilson:  The people who criticised them have put at risk the voluntary service of very able public servants. I want to condemn with all possible vehemence the cheap attacks made by some people on the review body. One member told me he was accused of making money as a result of acting on the review body. I want to stress they were a totally voluntary body and the members gave of their services to the community. They issued a fine report.

Mr. E. Collins:  Hear, hear.

Mr. Wilson:  The structures of that report were incorporated in the final agreement with the teachers. I must dispel [1680] any impression that the proposals that eventually were put before the conciliation council for the purpose of an agreed recommendation departed fundamentally from the proposals of the review body. Perhaps it was inevitable that proposals so revolutionary, in particular in relation to the introduction of long-phased increments, should have needed to be negotiated before being accepted by the teachers. It was agreed, by way of negotiation, that the span of the long phased increments should be reduced from 23 to 11 years, but the length of the normal scale, on the other hand, should remain at 15 points instead of 13 as recommended in the report of the review body. The minimum of the new scale was fixed at £5,300 instead of the recommended £5,050, but the amounts of the increment over most of the scale were precisely as recommended in the report, and the maximum to be attained by the long phased increments was fixed at the level of £10,200 recommended by the review body. I am saying this in order to indicate to the House how the structures were worked out by the review body and adhered to and that what he did after that was build on the work of the review body.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Minister will have to conclude now.

Mr. Wilson:  How much time have I left?

Mr. O'Toole:  Injury time.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  By agreement with the Minister, as a result of a late question or whatever one would like to call it, and an announcement by the Chair, he was denied seven minutes to which he was entitled. If the people for the next session wish, we can go to five minutes past four. It depends on them.

Mr. O'Malley:  It would not be fair to deprive the House of the Minister's eloquence.

Mr. Wilson:  I am indebted to the Minister [1681] for Industry, Commerce and Tourism for these remarks.

Mr. O'Malley:  This is a much more ethereal Department than mine.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  He is wasting his time now.

Mr. O'Malley:  My Department is all about nuts and bolts. These are fine soul ideas.

Mr. E. Collins:  Tilting at windmills.

Mr. Wilson:  I want to refer to Deputy Horgan's reference in relation to the lack of specialist teachers. I am on record, in this House and elsewhere, as stating that my ambition is that any post-primary school which needs a teacher of engineering workshop theory and practice or building construction should have that teacher available. The House must know that this is the first year that Thomond College was brought into this teacher-training area. It had already been in existence as a physical education training college for teachers. This year, we have started off with a new crop of rural science, engineering workshop theory and practice and building construction students. There is a great future for Thomond College and we hope that that college will provide enough teachers to leave enough available for each post-primary school in the country.

The problems which will arise in the year, when the new long course is getting under way, is a serious one but one which we hope to be able to deal with. With reference to the number of grants going down, I want to say that the number of scholarships from vocational education committees has rocketed in comparison and that the number of ESF grants available for regional technical colleges has also increased and is well up over 11,000 altogether.

I take the point that Deputy Ryan made about the regional colleges. Of course, he had to put in his plug for his own constituency and nobody blames him for that. Let him not forget, however, [1682] that Bray, Dún Laoghaire, Tallaght, Blanchardstown, Cavan and Mayo are also plugging for new regional technical colleges and I must keep all their claims in mind.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Minister must finish now.

Mr. Wilson:  I recommend to the House that they welcome with open arms this huge increase in educational spending which is an indication of the Government's confidence in the youth of the country. We will need, and the Minister who is succeeding me particularly will need people with the training, expertise and sophistication which will become increasingly necessary in the years ahead. We intend not to let the country down as far as this is concerned. I know that our young people — and I gave the statistics to the House, well over one million in the 0 to 14 year group — will answer the challenge adequately, as the Government are doing.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  A brief question from Deputy Collins.

Mr. E. Collins:  When will the White Paper be published? This is somewhat overdue. Secondly, will the excess capital moneys voted here today, have been spent by the end of this calendar year, or will there be a carry-over into the next year?

Mr. Wilson:  In answer to the second question, there is always a roll-over as far as building is concerned, but the money voted is for the year 1980.

Mr. E. Collins:  Will there be much of it going on to 1981?

Mr. Wilson:  Commitments will be going into 1981 but the money voted here will be paid out in 1980.

Mr. E. Collins:  And the answer to the first question?

Mr. Wilson:  Very shortly. I will be in touch with the Deputy.

[1683]Mr. E. Collins:  Oh, Minister.

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  I move:

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £13,620,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December 1980, for Primary Education, including National School Teachers' Superannuation, etc.

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  I move:

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £4,623,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December 1980, for Secondary Education.

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  I move:

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £5,778,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December 1980, for Vocational Education.

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  I move:

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £3,935,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending [1684] on the 31st day of December 1980, for grants-in-aid of An tÚdarás um Ard-Oideachas, certain Higher Education Institutions and Services and the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

Vote put and agreed to.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  I move:

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £55,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December 1980, for the salaries and expenses of the National Gallery including certain grants-in-aid.

Vote put and agreed to.

Debate resumed on the following motion:

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £13,866,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December 1980, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism, including certain services administered by that Office, and for payment of certain subsidies, grants and grants-in-aid.

—(Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  There are 85 minutes left for this debate, 45 minutes for the Opposition and the two Members present will need to decide between themselves. On the other Estimates we were dividing the time equally but Deputy O'Toole had already an innings on this.

Mr. O'Toole:  What I had in mind was that, in the division, I would speak for about seven minutes; Deputy Ryan and Deputy Hegarty wish also to take part of the time.

[1685]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Minister has 25 minutes to reply, which leaves almost 60 minutes.

Mr. O'Toole:  As the Minister has said, we are back to the nuts and bolts. When leaving them last week, I referred briefly to the problems which now confront us despite the best efforts of the IDA to try to break the log jam which is now causing severe unemployment. The Minister for Education, in winding up, referred to the faith which the Fianna Fáil Government have in our youth, which was expressed in the amount of money now being poured into education. However, faith without good works is of little use. What is needed now is some emergency approach by the Government in the form of a positive reaction to the present diabolical state of the economy which is causing severe hardship to many thousands of people.

The Irish Goods Council, which comes under Subhead P, are doing very fine work and they are to be complimented on the campaign which they have spearheaded in relation to the purchase and sale of Irish-made goods in the Guaranteed Irish campaign. They are also to be complimented on their efforts to promote import substitution. However, despite their best efforts and despite the fact that the IDA will reach their target of job creation this year, we are still losing ground. It is not good enough for the Government to say that they have introduced specific measures to meet the needs of the time. The measures which have been introduced do not seem to be having the corrective effect they were meant to have. The most lamentable statement I have seen in a long time was made by the former Minister for Labour, who is now Minister for Finance. A week ago, when commenting on the latest unemployment figures from the CSO, he stated that the impact of those provisions showed that matters were improving. How can they be improving with an increase in the unemployment figure of 4,000 people for the month of November? When any Minister can stand up and say that, speaking on behalf of the Government, [1686] we have reached a lamentable stage.

With regard to subhead R.1, I note that we are in excess of £40 million under this subhead. During the election campaign of 1977 a Fianna Fáil Minister in the first week in June went on the radio and stated that the existing level of subsidy was inadequate and that on assuming office Fianna Fáil would ensure that subsidies on essential food items would be increased. The subsidies at the time that man was speaking were £66 million. Inflation then was not as high as it is today. That particular Minister was party to a decision to reduce, and in some cases abolish, subsidies on essential items. Subsidies no longer seem to be a priority with the Government, despite the fact that they always tell us it was they who campaigned, when we were in office, to have subsidies introduced because of the hardship caused by high inflation. We have now had a high inflation rate for approximately three years. Inflation is at the level where Fianna Fáil Ministers maintained subsidies should be introduced.

The theory behind subsidies is a very sound and logical one. If you have high prices causing severe hardship to the lower paid and people in receipt of social welfare benefits and allowances, the application of subsidies reduces hardship for them. It also helps to reduce the cost of living which in turn, helps to reduce the high wage demands made during a high inflationary period. High inflation reduces our competitiveness abroad. The logic of that kind of progression makes sense to me but the Government, who pride themselves on putting enough pressure on us to have subsidies introduced in the first place, are now in the position where they could increase subsidies. I am not surprised at this as it is not the first time we have seen promises broken and a gullible electorate left disappointed with promises made by Fianna Fáil at election time.

A very large number of our people depend for their livelihood on industrial production and many of our people are now leaving the land to seek employment elsewhere. Now that the traditional [1687] escape route for those people is closed, it is incumbent on the Government to look at this problem and to do something to relieve the seriousness of our economic position. I assure the Minister that those problems will not go away. We hope that an upward trend in international economic affairs will occur some time, but we cannot go on forever as we are. Unless we have some plans to take advantage of that when it happens, we will be left behind. The people who are now suffering will have to suffer for a longer period because of the inadequate inputs by the Government to ensure that they are looked after and something done for them in this emergency situation.

Mr. J. Ryan:  I should like to deal, under Subhead A1. with the Office of the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism and with the activities of the present holder of the office. The Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism is second in importance only to the Minister for Finance. He has a great responsibility in relation to our people. His top priority must be the creation of further employment through greater national investment in industry. We are facing, according to well-informed sources, a very serious time next year. The unemployment situation is very serious and is escalating. The reports we are getting are even more dismal and indicate a rise to a disastrous figure of 150,000 unemployed by the end of 1981.

As a layman I can see that our economy is in chaos and the unemployment crisis, together with the state of the economy, is the greatest challenge yet to the Minister and his Department. If we are to make any impact or stem the tide of the unfortunate escalation of unemployment predicted by the experts there is grave need for a substantial increase in national investment in industry. While I agree that the IDA have made substantial gains in job creation, despite this the net result for the past two years has been that job losses have been greater. Nineteen eighty-one will be a year of great challenge to the Minister and his Department.

[1688] As an Opposition back-bencher I feel that the present incumbent of the office has an abysmal record. His abject failure on price control is second to none in our history. He seems completely indifferent to the savage onslaught on living standards because of the ever-increasing cost of living. This is an area of grave responsibility for the Minister. In 1977 the rate of increase was in the region of 7 per cent. In 1978, it had reached 13 per cent; in 1979, 20 per cent, and it is expected that a similar figure will be reached this year. Unfortunately there seems to be no light at the end of the economic tunnel to indicate any defusing of this explosive situation. In the past few days we have heard of substantial increases in the pipeline.

In my budget contribution last year I said that the budget was a timebomb, the main ingredient of which was a substantial and highly explosive petrol increase which in time would create a massive conflagration in the cost of living standards, an erosion of living standards, substantial unemployment and industrial unrest. My predictions were unfortunately very correct. In the space of over two-and-a-half years we had in the region of a 50 per cent increase in the cost of living. This is a frightening prospect as we face 1981. How can one blame the industrial work force for the unrest that is there?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Deputy is getting into a field that would be more relevant to tomorrow's debate. There is nothing in this Estimate for the Prices Commission. I am giving the Deputy every latitude.

Mr. J. Ryan:  I am trying to emphasise the Minister's role, or lack of it, in the area of price control.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  There is nothing in the Supplementary Estimate about price control.

Mr. J. Ryan:  Am I not entitled under subhead A1 to refer to the Minister's salary?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Deputy [1689] can only refer to the salaries or increases in wages and salaries.

Mr. J. Ryan:  The Minister's salary is included in that and it is under that heading I am speaking.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Deputy cannot develop any point on salaries. That has been a ruling of the Chair during the years.

Mr. J. Ryan:  Even though it is under the subhead?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  There would have to be something in it for the Prices Commission. I have given the Deputy the opportunity to raise it tomorrow. It would be more relevant to tomorrow's debate.

Mr. J. Ryan:  I am at variance with the Chair. If a subhead indicates salaries and the salary of the Minister is included, surely I am entitled to discuss his performance?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  No. We cannot debate administration at all on a Supplementary Estimate.

Mr. J. Ryan:  It is a misleading subhead.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Deputy can discuss wages and salaries.

Mr. J. Ryan:  I presume I can refer back to the 1973-1977 era, I well remember that the Minister, our new Minister for Finance, and a TV entertainer and Fianna Fáil preacher, Mr. Frank Hall, recently defrocked, since the advent of the Taoiseach, succeeded in their efforts in the House, on television and through many of their established consumer bodies to create an image for the Minister for Industry and Commerce of the time as “the Minister for Rising Prices”. After three-and-a-half years the day of criticism is at hand for the present holder of the office because of his inefficient handling of the cost of living. With all due respect, [1690] I would describe him as the Minister for raging inflation. Housewives and people generally would readily accept this description.

There is no price control. I regret to say that in the past year the Minister seems to have ignored the situation completely. Prices have got completely out of control. The Minister made a statement in America to the effect that we were pricing ourselves out of the world market. This was an inference I resented, because it was intended to convey that it was workers and their demands for increases that had priced products out of the world market. The Minister has a responsibility to control prices and he is not doing so and it is time to put this on record.

During the four years we were in Government I listened to the present Minister and present Minister for Finance swinging out of the rafters and decrying the then Deputy Justin Keating as “The Minister for Rising Prices”. Now, after two and a half years, the cost of living has risen by 50 per cent.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  We will leave it for tomorrow's debate.

Mr. J. Ryan:  Under subheads F.1 and P, I should like to refer to the Irish Goods Council, to Mr. Murray and his executives and compliment them on the efforts they are making to enlighten the people on their responsibilities to support the Buy Irish campaign. Without the support of the people there will be further unemployment because many of our traditional industries have already gone to the wall—footwear, textiles and furniture. All this is because of a terrific invasion from the EEC and Third World countries into our home market. Unfortunately the major portion of our retail trade has been taken over by multi-nationals who have little regard for the country, the people, the economy, or the worsening unemployment situation.

To ensure a successful Buy Irish campaign the Minister should, without delay, emphasise the need for a Sell Irish campaign. The shelves in many of the multi-national supermarkets and hypermarkets [1691] carry about 90 per cent non-Irish produce brought in from all over the world. The promise in 1977 was to improve, expand and develop our food processing industry. Surely when we go into supermarkets and see such a vast proportion of their stock imported we must do something about it. The Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism should make every effort to develop the Sell Irish campaign. Those people have no interest in us and it is therefore up to us to ensure that what is put before the consumer is the good produce of native industry.

I appreciate that some of our produce is inferior and that one cannot expect the housewife to buy an inferior Irish product if a better imported item is on general sale. There should be a relationship between the IIRS and the Irish Goods Council so that they could work together. We want to sell our goods at home as well as abroad and we want to be able to buy best quality Irish goods, and here the IIRS have a big role to play.

I should like to compliment the IDA on their efforts overseas to inveigle and to invite major industries to come in here. In particular I compliment the outgoing chairman. Mr. Michael Killeen, on his years of effort, on his contribution to the development of Irish industry. I and all sectors of the community are sorry to see him go. I doubt if it will be possible to improve on his efforts.

I have referred to the terrible crisis in Irish industry and to the employment position. Today we heard about the £157 million made available to complete this year's programme. In 1981 that figure will have to be increased by at least 50 per cent so that there will be an investment of at least £250 million to ensure that the terrible scourge of unemployment will be challenged, slowed down and ultimately defeated. This year 40,000 new jobs were created and I was delighted to learn that 10,000 of them are in the smaller firms.

I congratulate SFADCo, who had the foresight to recognise the expertise among local industrialists. Together they have been able to assess prospects for future development in factories with [1692] work forces of 50 people each. I am most concerned that we should have development of native small industries employing between 50 and 100 people. If a big industry is closed in a small town it is a major calamity but if one of a number of small industries fails it has not the same effect and it is possible to find alternative work for those disemployed.

In SFADCo, Mr. Quigley and his staff have done marvellous work for the midwest region. Indeed I should like to pay tribute to the local officers who work in the towns and villages and I would say a special word in praise of Tom O'Donnell——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  It would be better if you did not. Somebody else might come in later to attack him.

Mr. J. Ryan:  He is beyond reproach and his concern for the development of small industries cannot be faulted. His efforts have resulted in a big increase in employment and I compliment him. As I said earlier, I welcome the efforts of the IDA to bring in major industries but sometimes I worry that a day may come when we will have such industries shut down because of decisions taken abroad. I advocate encouragement for the Irishman who is prepared to invest to develop industries at home.

SFADCo, as I have said, have gone from strength to strength in my region and I should like to see their efforts copied in other parts of the country, complementary with the efforts of the IDA.

There has been reference to the bread subsidy of £14½ million, but the time is appropriate for the reintroduction of the total food subsidies which were available in 1977, because at the moment the housewife is under extreme pressure from day to day increases in food prices. It is because of this pressure that trade unions, through the national pay talks, endeavour to ease this pressure. As we approach 1981 the Government must show their concern for the underprivileged, the lowly paid, by reintroducing the food subsidies in full and I propose to the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism that he will fight for this at [1693] budget time. Deputy O'Malley has energy in the field of industrial development and I should like to see him use some of it in the field of price control.

Mr. Hegarty:  I do not intend to cover ground already covered by Deputies Ryan and O'Toole. My main topic will be tourism, but before I come to that I compliment the IDA for their foresight in acquiring land at reasonable prices on which to build advance factories, making it easier for industrialists to move in. In the case of Little Island in Cork Harbour tremendous work has been done. There has been criticism of efforts to develop a certain part of the Cork area which had been designated a green area. If industrialists specify certain areas, they will have to be facilitated. It is all very well to say that we must put an industry here or there, but very often the final decision rests with the person who intends to set up the industry. It is very difficult to change his mind and, if we try, it is possible that we could lose industries.

Whatever we do about money, this is one area where we should not cut back. The local authorities have been facilitating industrialists in regard to infrastructures — water, sewerage and so on — but at this stage we could be spending more on promoting new industries. We should be pushing a bit harder to get these factories into production in view of the number of industries running into trouble and that have in fact closed. I am not going to make an issue of this, but I believe more should be done to help industries in trouble at the moment. We are not doing enough in this area. I am afraid that the skills connected with the various carpet and cotton industries, skills that have been developed over many lifetimes, will be lost. Our woollen mills are gone, and with them the related skills. They were lost during this period of recession and the danger is that when things buck up again they will not be around to cash in on the boom times. A bigger effort should be made to protect the skills where there are problems at the moment.

Many of the problems are caused by not buying Irish. It is no use saying anything [1694] else. We must introduce some enticement to shopkeepers to sell Irish. The shopkeepers and the bigger supermarkets are very much to blame for this problem because they give pride of place to overseas products. It is terrible to see stuff coming in from Taiwan, Korea and so on. We have no links with those countries. They are not in the Common Market and the only employment they have created here is for somebody with a telex and a secretary and that is about all and their goods find their way into our shops. We should consider giving some grant inducement to shops that are selling Irish to the exclusion of these products where an Irish product is available. It is hard to blame the hard-pressed housewife who will often go for the cheapest item in an effort to balance the budget. It is all very well to preach to her about buying Irish, but if we promoted the selling of Irish goods we would in the long run be doing ourselves a good turn.

In relation to tourism, the Minister gave quite a bit of space to it in his opening remarks. That was only right because it is a very important industry. It has grown from a neglected one to a full industry in its own right. It earns over £500 million and, more important, 99 per cent of it is Irish-owned and controlled, thus contributing in a big way to the economy and playing an important role in our commercial and industrial development. At the moment, unfortunately, this industry is faced with many problems. We have a very high inflation rate. There is trouble in the North. There is very strong overseas competition. There is internal industrial unrest. As yet, we have a pretty undeveloped tourist industry. As the Minister pointed out, tourism is going through some difficult times.

I would be the last person to talk about gloom, but we have some very big problems. There have been a lot of cancellations and a lot of empty hotel rooms in the resort areas. However, I would compliment Bord Fáilte for coming out fighting at this critical time because they have shown professional competence and they fully realise their accountability to the nation. If we realised the magnitude of our problems the battle would be half [1695] won. Bishop Lucey once said that most of our tourists were exiles coming back. That was true once, but it is not so true now.

Tourism came our way with comparative ease — Ireland of the welcomes, cheap holidays, friendly people. I hope we are still a friendly people, but our holidays are no longer cheap. At the moment competition for tourists can best be described as savage. Countries hitherto not involved in tourism, such as Yugoslavia, are offering strong competition. The United States are launching a massive campaign. Last year they were offering two or three weeks in Miami for £300, but they forgot to say that one would be scalded to death there.

Mr. O'Malley:  Financially or physically?

Mr. Hegarty:  From the sun. Inflation is an important factor. At 20 per cent it has hit us worse than most other countries. The Government's fiscal policies and the budget decisions are calculated to strike a direct blow at our industry. Word has got around about our high prices for petrol, drink and cigarettes.

The cost of transport here is a major factor and it is affecting the industry. One of the biggest impediments to a prosperous industry is the high cost and low quality of transport. However, Bord Fáilte, Aer Lingus, CIE and B&I face a dilemma. Carriers are obliged to pay their way and, as a result, they probably give priority to commercial rather than tourist interests, In times of recession the carriers are inclined to rationalise. Their capacity is tailored to expected demand and decisions reflect commercial priorities. Bord Fáilte's transport objective must be to ensure that there is a well-balanced economic network of services to and within Ireland.

The industry is still reeling from the disastrous effects of last year's postal dispute and petrol shortage. Every effort must be made by all concerned to maintain industrial peace. In difficult times it is reasonable that there should be a closing of ranks among the various interests [1696] to ensure maximum benefit to the nation. In this ruthless competition we are not advantageously placed. This is a tiny island off the beaten track. There is a danger of being bypassed and it is easy to understand the reluctance of the various carriers to lose revenue by reducing fares for a specific service. But these carriers must co-operate and risk initiatives that will increase traffic and result in profit rather than loss for all concerned. There is a clear-cut case for the Government to intervene to underwrite the carriers' risk.

Overseas visitors rightly resent the cost of car hire and these firms are at a very serious disadvantage because of the 15 per cent VAT on car hire turnover and the high cost of car insurance. An obvious relief would be the remission of VAT on their turnover.

It is accepted that tourist accommodation must be of the highest quality, well distributed throughout the country to enable visitors to see as much as possible of Ireland in comfortable circumstances. With the success we have experienced over a number of years, Irish hotels, expecially resort hotels, have developed and expanded and in many cases borrowed heavily to do so. Hotels and guesthouses make a significant contribution in their own right to the tourist industry, as well as being part of the tourist and social infrastructure in their own areas, and help to attract tourists to those areas, even though the tourists may not stay in the hotels. In general tourists frequenting hotels and farm guesthouses come from hard currency areas and spend an average of £200 per visit. Hotel and guesthouse accommodation of a very high standard is an essential prerequisite for servicing the requirements of these tourists, many of whom still insist on a mobile-type holiday which enables them to sample a large number of our hotels in one visit. Hence the necessity for uniformly high standards because one weak link spoils the chain.

I will spell out briefly the causes of some of the problems being faced at present. Hotels must pay very high bank interest rates and have difficulty in the repayment of loans. I note that the Minister has taken £700,000 out of the industry [1697] because of development problems. There is a case for the Minister to become involved and to cut through a lot of the messing which can go on with local authorities regarding planning permission and so on. Quite a number of hotels are encountering stupid little problems which hold them up. That £700,000 should have been put into the industry in the last year because it is badly needed.

I gather that grants to hotels for improving bedrooms are not available in respect of existing bedrooms but for only new bedrooms.

Mr. O'Malley:  That is not the case.

Mr. Hegarty:  I am glad to know that they are available for existing bedrooms.

The Minister should also examine the essential but expensive matter of providing fire escapes in hotels. There should be a 100 per cent grant for this work because so many of our buildings are old. I hope that the £700,000 will be recovered by the industry next year.

The excise duty on drink, cigarettes and petrol adds up to higher charges and more expensive holidays. If the hotel and guesthouse industry is to survive and prosper it must be treated by the Government as an industry, nor merely as a reliable source of revenue. To encourage hoteliers to carry out improvements or in some cases just to stay in business, finance must be made available forthwith from the ICC at the preferential rate of 12 per cent which is given to industry. There should be a top 10 per cent rate of profit tax. VAT should be removed from food consumed——

Mr. O'Malley:  It might help the House if the Deputy in accordance with normal practice would circulate copies of his volume.

Mr. Hegarty:  I have only one.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  If the Deputy is reading from a booklet he should give his source.

Mr. Hegarty:  When I have finished I will give my notes to the Minister. They [1698] are simply a few notes I strung together because I was told that my time was limited.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Deputy might recall a row created in the House by Deputy Tully the other evening over people reading speeches.

Mr. O'Malley:  The source of some of the material might be helpful to the House.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Deputy is entitled to use notes but the Chair finds it very difficult to decide when notes are simply notes.

Mr. O'Malley:  Or handouts.

Mr. Hegarty:  If I had copies I would have no objection to circulating them.

In the likely event of changing trends and the swing away from the mobile tourist because of petrol costs, we must look at amenities attached not necessarily to hotels but to resort areas. I refer to amenities such as tennis courts and swimming pools, pony trekking, boating, fishing, shooting and so on. This will involve local government initiative and participation by central government. Tourist centres must be provided with golf courses and tennis courts and there must be substantial grants for festivals of music and culture. In seaside resorts people with small boats should be encouraged to provide boating facilities and this is an area which should be further developed. Even in areas where such facilities are available, the fact is not generally known. Clean beaches are also very important. Deep sea angling events have proved in the south to be very successful and are a major attraction.

Our road network badly needs improvement. This is not the direct function of this Minister but we must try to improve the appearance of the countryside. Hedge cutting is being neglected and there is widespread dumping of litter. The Minister and his colleagues will need to impose much more severe penalties in this area.

[1699] The problem of pollution was mentioned in the NESC report.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  That is a matter for another Minister.

Mr. Hegarty:  It affects tourism. The local authorities are the worst offenders in this respect. One local authority is proposing to dump raw effluent into the most beautiful part of Cork harbour, comparable in beauty to the lakes of Killarney. Some of us went to the trouble of proving that it would be just as cheap to treat it.

Every Irishman who holidays at home is as good as two overseas visitors. By encouraging Irish tourists we could spread the tourist load over the whole season and avoid problems associated with the peak period.

When we consider some of our competitors we find that they give all sorts of concessions. Perhaps they are better off than we are but we must try to copy them. We have much to offer. Visitors from EEC countries are very interested in the new member states. Euro-tourists are coming in large numbers, despite the cost, but they are conscious of value for money. I have spoken to a number of these people and they are satisfied with the hotels, meals and so on. They commend very highly family and farm guesthouses and would like to see more of these guesthouses especially in areas not designated tourist areas in the Bord Fáilte catalogue.

Bord Fáilte have been doing an excellent job promoting certain areas but they are inclined to neglect other areas, such as east Cork, Cobh and so on. I am not being parochial but these areas come to mind. People are inclined to look for things one would least expect. Recently I met some Germans who were most interested in looking at a good Irish farm, village, crops, cattle and so on. Many tourists are interested in this kind of thing. Their interests are diverse and we should cater for them.

I would like the Minister to spend some of the £700,000 by taking VAT off food [1700] consumed in hotels — I am not talking about drink — guesthouse operations, hire cars, which at present stands at 15 per cent, and give preferential loans to the people involved in the industry. The wine licence increased to £100. Some of these small guesthouses would hardly make £100 a year profit from their operations. Obviously that was a prohibitive increase.

The tourist industry must be a matter of prime concern for everybody. Every facet of the industry should be involved with the tourist board. Regional tourist boards should be given more teeth and more money and further developed because they are doing a great job, but I am not happy that they are getting their fair share of the cake. For instance, little things happened this year, like closing offices. Maybe we could do without some of them but in areas where we are trying to develop tourism these offices are essential. I was not in favour of those closures.

Regional tourist boards consist of voluntary workers who take pride in what they are doing. They live in tourist areas and seem to have their fingers on the pulse of the problem.

Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism (Mr. O'Malley):  I would like to refer first to something Deputy O'Toole said on the last occasion in regard to Córas Trachtála Teoranta and their apparent lack of services to small firms and their apparent concentration on larger ones. This is a misapprehension, although it is a fairly common one. It probably arises from the fact that larger firms tend to be in evidence at the more visible CTT activities — in group promotions, such as trade missions and trade fairs. These activities are a relatively small part of that organisation's overall budget; they constitute only 16 per cent of expenditure. The bulk of their resources are allocated in a much less visible area — the provision of marketing advice on an individual firm basis. It is this service which is availed of mainly by these small firms.

In a survey carried out by CTT last June it was found that 59 per cent of the [1701] firms they were helping had less than 50 employees and in order to cater particularly for the smaller firms, the organisation recently decided to establish a small firm export department to try to encourage new firms of that type who are not exporting into that business and to try to get many of those who were exporting to Britain, for example, to diversify out of it. Already this new section has had meetings with 200 small firms of which they identified 75 as potential new exporters.

The recently established CTT regional offices furnish small firms in the regions with the first point of contact and give them an opportunity they would not have had up to now. A major priority of these regional offices is to conduct a drive to get as many firms as possible in those regions, particularly the smaller ones, involved in exporting. Helping them is of course proportionately much more expensive because a great deal more effort has to be put into doing things for them that would, in the normal course of events, be done by a larger company for itself. In the long term this is worth doing and a very high proportion of their resources and energy are being devoted to these smaller firms.

There was a traditional outlook here that a small firm was set up to satisfy a local need, but increasingly one would like to convince small firms, wherever they are, that looking within the confines of this very small island with its tiny population can be a restrictng attitude and they should look to the European Community with 260 million people and beyond it. The scope for them if they are prepared to broaden their vision in that respect is enormous.

Deputy O'Toole referred at some length to job losses in industry. From everybody's point of view, they are running at an unsatisfactorily high level, particularly after the very substantial net gain in jobs in manufacturing industry in each of the last two years, the biggest gains ever achieved, perhaps in the history of the State. At the moment the indications are that, notwithstanding the enormous job creation this year, there will be no gain in manufacturing employment. Indeed, there may be some marginal [1702] loss. We will not know that until January. The fact that I can say in respect of Irish industry in 1980 that it will only have a marginal loss of jobs is a considerable achievement on the part of this country. It is worth recollecting, for example, that less than six years ago the number of people unemployed in the UK was 400,000 and the number of people unemployed there today is 2¼ million. Unless we get carried away by the sight of figures like 114,000 or 115,000 unemployed, which we have not seen since 1976 when we saw a lot of such figures with a smaller population than now——

Mr. O'Toole:  And a smaller public service at that time.

Mr. O'Malley:  In case we get carried away with those type of figures, which are repeating now after four years and in a much more severe recession than the one which existed then, it is as well not to look at this part of the country in complete isolation. We should look, for example, towards Northern Ireland. If present trends continue it looks as if the unemployment figure in Northern Ireland will begin to catch up with the figure for the Republic. That is in spite of the fact that our population is substantially more than double the population in Northern Ireland. It is fair to draw the conclusion from that that the real rate of unemployment in Northern Ireland is just about twice what it is here. We are only too tragically aware of the problems that exist in Northern Ireland and the obvious influence they have on that kind of situation, but we should be also equally aware of the enormous rate of subsidy that is pumped into Northern Ireland by the British taxpayers. If notwithstanding that kind of subsidy, which we could never hope or expect to match, the rate of unemployment is still running at a level which is roughly twice ours in real terms, then I do not think we are exactly among the most destitute economies in Europe.

From some of the things Deputies O'Toole and Ryan have said one would think that the Republic of Ireland was some kind of self-contained unit isolated in space not affected in any way by anything [1703] that went on in the rest of the world. One would get the impression that everything, good or bad, that might happen here was directly under the control of the Government. The reality of course of the modern world is very different, and those who have had any experience of these matters know that well and have given up making statements that are based on the implication of total isolation. It can be demonstrated, for example, by a reference to our situation in the British market, which is of such paramount importance to us, taking 46 or 47 per cent of our exports. We have currently a tremendous advantage in the British market in currency terms. It is approaching a differential of almost 20 per cent. One would imagine in those circumstances that normal economic laws apply. One could envisage a huge upsurge in our exports to Britain, but that is not happening in spite of the tremendous currency differential. The reason is that, even if we were to offer those goods at half the price again on the British market, we could not sell them because there is no demand in Britain for them.

That type of situation is unfortunate. We have lost the benefit of our currency advantage. There is nothing anybody here can do about that. That is, unhappily for us as well as for the British, the state of the British economy today and that is one of the reasons why for several years at my instigation or encouragement CTT have been seeking to divert firms out of the British market. If more of them had gone out sooner we would be in a somewhat stronger position today. I do not expect our sales to Britain to drop and I look forward to a continuing strong presence in the British market but, at the same time, a declining and, hopefully, quickly declining, percentage of our total exports.

Mr. O'Toole:  The loss of the differential is not due entirely to a loss of demand in the UK: it is due to a loss of competitiveness at home.

Mr. O'Malley:  There is an element of [1704] that in it also but the differential has been so big in the last couple of months, 20 per cent, that it should, if the British market was normal, have meant a tremendous advantage for us, not just against other exporters to Britain but against domestic producers there. It has failed to do that principally because of an extraordinary basic lack of demand in Britain. It is worth nothing that if we had not the currency differential our present problem in competitiveness vis-à-vis Britain with much lower wage increases would create definite problems for us. It should be borne in mind that to some extent the good fortune of our currency relationship with Britain is only temporarily buying us time in the problems we will have to face up to soon. The fact that they have not happened yet does not mean they are not going to happen. We would be well advised to bear those difficulties in mind now and make up our minds that we are anxious and willing to take the necessary steps to prevent them having a serious effect on our economy.

Notwithstanding the best efforts of the Chair, Deputy Ryan spent a lot of time on the question of my functions in regard to price control. I dealt with that matter some time ago and I did not expect to hear any more about it but it is possible that Deputy Ryan was not here at the time. I involved myself to such an extent in price control that at times the members of the Prices Commission began to resent my interference or interventions in regard to this. They began to feel that they were not being allowed the traditional kind of independence they had enjoyed under my predecessor. I do not know what the current figure is but I am aware that, when it was added up one year ago, I found that on 54 occassions I had intervened to reduce or disallow price rises recommended to me. Obviously, the current figure is a good deal more than 54. I also discovered, having had the records in the Department gone through, that on no occasion in more than four years had my predecessor bothered to intervene in any recommendation. Deputy Ryan's suggestions of my alleged inactivity in this area are not well-founded.

[1705]Mr. O'Toole:  They have not been a success.

Mr. O'Malley:  Deputy Ryan quoted a whole lot of incorrect figures and he got them all wrong and for the wrong years, but I will not be pursuing that. On the question of buying and selling Irish mentioned by Deputy Ryan, and also by Deputy Hegarty, I would draw the attention of the House to the fact that the chief executive of the Irish Goods Council chaired a meeting on 15 September last between the Irish wholesale and retail food trade which included multiples and multi-nationals. The participants at that meeting agreed for a six-month period from then to (a) initiate no new importation of primary food lines (b) enter into discussions with Irish manufacturers with a view to substitution of lines being imported currently (c) where imported products were sold by an Irish manufacturer to procure those products from that manufacturer rather than through external sources and (d) undertake special steps to ensure that the Irish-made products are highlighted on their shop shelves. The representatives of that meeting of the wholesale and retail food trade also agreed that the Irish Goods Council should monitor progress in these areas.

It was refreshing for me to listen to two Deputies here today speak in support of the Irish Goods Council and of their campaign. My recollection is that since I launched this campaign almost three years ago it is the first time I have had any support from that side of the House in respect of it.

Mr. O'Toole:  That is not so.

Mr. O'Malley:  That campaign was disparaged for years by Deputy Kelly in particular when he was dealing with Industry and Commerce matters. It was regarded as a joke, a waste of money and time, something that was just a sort of gimmick that I had dreamed up which was getting worse and worse rather than better. It is noticeable that within the last six months there has been generally—I suppose reflected in what is said here [1706] today—a much higher public awareness and acceptance of the necessity for this campaign as well as much more practical support for it. Much of the credit for that probably is due to the present Minister for the Environment, who when he was in my Department devoted a great deal of time and energy to getting that message across. It had to be done painfully and repetitively at times, but it is fair to say that it had really begun to pay off. Because the type of work involved in getting people to sell Irish necessarily must be carried out privately, Deputies and the public at large perhaps would not be aware of what has been done in this respect. The Irish Goods Council over the past year have visited virtually every store in the country of any consequence to encourage the staff in every way open to them to give much greater prominence to Irish goods and to push Irish goods to a much greater extent. From what one can see that certainly is beginning to pay off.

Deputy Ryan spoke at some length about SFADCo and the good work they have done in his constituency in recent years. I was very glad that Deputy Ryan should say that because I recall that here almost three years ago, when I announced that SFADCo would be changing their role fairly dramatically, there was a very great feel of opposition. I recall in particular that one of those who were very vocal in condemning what I was trying to do was Deputy Ryan. At the time he was encouraging SFADCo to resist any change in their activities, something which fortunately they did not do. I am glad that now he rejoices with me in the success of what we set out to do nearly three years ago.

Deputy Hegarty raised the point that I wanted to refer to particularly, and that is the fact that this Supplementary Estimate discloses that Bord Fáilte were unable to spend £700,000 this year on new hotel development or additions to new hotels which had been allocated in the Estimates for 1980. As the Deputy mentioned, one of the principal reasons that they were not able to spend it — not the only reason — was that so many hotels that were thinking of undertaking [1707] development or anxious to do it were running into planning permission difficulties. The Deputy suggested that I should involve myself in these matters, but I have found that I have no statutory right to do that. If I as Minister seek to dictate to local authorities about matters such as this, they resent it and resist it. As far as I know, I have no right other than to make normal, ordinary representations to An Bord Pleanála. I will not make any comment about An Bord Pleanála. I will leave it at that. Charity is best expressed there by silence.

Mr. Bruton:  He is at it again.

Mr. O'Malley:  In regard to the difficulties which hotels have run into, one of the big problem areas — not just in relation to hotels but to development generally and I have in mind in particular industrial development — is in a certain large county in the extreme south of this country which shall be nameless. It is pretty devastating that they take up the sort of attitude that they do in regard to certain development, and it is a pity. However, I am glad that the Deputy has drawn attention to this problem where money is going unspent. While this is not the only reason — there are others — this is one of the major reasons why it is going unspent. One would hope that the local authorities and planning authorities generally would take a more positive line or, as the Deputy puts it more directly than I do, cop themselves on in this respect.

Mr. O'Toole:  Could the Minister give us the benefit of his wisdom on subsidies?

Mr. O'Malley:  Decision on subsidies is a matter for the Minister for Finance who, I have no doubt, will shortly make his proposals to the Government in this respect. At the meeting certainly I will convey to him Deputy O'Toole's views on subsidies.

Mr. O'Toole:  And the Minister's own when he was over here.

Mr. O'Malley:  I have no doubt that [1708] Deputy O'Toole's views will be given the weight they deserve.

Mr. O'Toole:  With all the cynicism the Minister can muster.

Vote put and agreed to.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  For Lands we have 45 minutes. The Minister in moving will have ten minutes and in replying five minutes and the two Opposition parties will have 15 minutes each.

Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism (Mr. O'Malley) (for the Minister for Agriculture):  I move:

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £855,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December 1980, for the salaries and expenses of the Irish Land Commission, including certain grants-in-aid.

Mr. Bruton:  It is a joke that the Minister responsible is not here.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Minister of State is here. The Vote must be moved by a Minister and then the Minister of State is entitled to deal with it.

Minister for State at the Department of Health and at the Department of Social Welfare (Mr. Hussey):  The main Estimate for Lands for 1980 amounted to £9,852,000 which, with this Supplementary Estimate, brings the total net provision for the year to £10,707,000.

The Supplementary Estimate is necessary because income derived this year from the letting of lands on hands of the Land Commission is not sufficient to meet outgoings. Subhead G — which must be looked at in conjunction with subhead M (3) — is a contingency provision to meet the situation that has now arisen. Receipts from the letting of lands are paid into the rent and interest account, from which outgoings on the [1709] lands are also met. Such outgoings comprise the charge for servicing the land bonds issued for the purchase of the lands, rates, wages of herds and caretakers and such items as temporary fencing to facilitate lettings. In addition, the receipts from lettings go towards meeting part of the losses incurred on resale of lands. The balance required to meet such losses is provided for under subhead E (3).

Due to the buoyancy of letting income a call on subhead G has not been necessary in other years. The general trend has been a surplus in the rent and interest account which is brought to credit of the Vote under subhead M (3). On the basis that a similar situation would obtain for this year, therefore, only a token provision was made for subhead G. In the event, the income from lettings is down by some 20 per cent on last year. One of the reasons for this is that the area of land available for letting is lower by as much as 13 per cent as compared with 1979. This reduction is the result of the accelerated programme of allotment being pursued by the Land Commission. The level of receipts from lettings has also been affected by the difficult conditions in agriculture generally, by the poor weather in the early spring of this year — the time of year when the bulk of the lettings are made — and by the fact that estates exceeding 40 hectares are now let by private treaty to facilitate smallholders who could not be assured of securing a letting division if the public auction procedure were employed. The cumulative effect is that the expected surplus has not materialised and recourse must be had to subhead G to meet the deficit in the rent and interest account.

Receipts from contributions towards improvements expenditure and from the resale of retirement scheme lands are also less than anticipated. These come under headings 5 and 6 of subhead M. The drop in these items is, however, almost entirely compensated for by the increased receipts under the sundries heading 8 of the subhead.

The total shortfall under subheads G and M is £985,000, but as against that [1710] there is an anticipated saving of £130,000 on subheads H.1 and H.3 due to the fact that intake of land under the retirement scheme has not been of the volume estimated. When the latter savings are taken into account the net additional sum for which provision must now be made is £855,000.

Mr. Bruton:  There is not a great deal to be said about this Estimate in itself but it is a matter of concern that a supplementary estimate does not contain provision for a new land policy. We had been given to understand that a new land policy would be in operation by now but all we had in the past few days was a Government White Paper with no date set for the introduction of legislation giving effect to new land policy. I realise that land policy is not an easy subject but I would have thought that, given the time devoted to this by the inter-departmental committee and the very comprehensive report presented to the Government, the Government would have come forward with something more than a rewrite of the report in summary with some changes: I should have thought we would now have reached the stage of actually having legislation.

I should like to make a few comments on the Government's proposals regarding land policy. I note in paragraph 27 of the report that all land purchases will now require the approval of the Land Commission. This will lead to a tremendous increase in bureaucratic activity and I imagine endanger the operation of the auction system. If a person sells land at an auction and somebody buys it and the buyer applies for approval which is not given the person may be forced to have a new auction. There is no guarantee that the under-bidder will accept the land six months later — the probable period the Land Commission will take to give an opinion on the highest bidder's title to buy the land. There is at least the possibility that the system of free sale of land based on auction could be seriously undermined. Perhaps the Minister may be able to set our minds at rest on that subject; I hope he can.

I am very disappointed that notwithstanding [1711] the strong recommendation by the inter-departmental committee the Minister has decided to retain land bonds. In the vast majority of cases land bonds are paid to small farmers in the west of Ireland who are selling land to the commission. It is not big farmers who get land bonds but small farmers and to give them something that is not cash, something very often worth much less than its apparent face value in place of cash is to do an injustice to these people, to my mind. I am disappointed that the White Paper does not contain a clear commitment to get rid of land bonds, if not immediately, at least over a period. It is clear from the White Paper that land bonds are to be retained forever. I regret that very much, particularly in view of the type of people who will be getting these bonds instead of cash for the land they are selling which is valuable.

I am also disappointed at the passage in the White Paper on late inheritance. The Government have done very little to encourage the early transfer of land. Almost all their efforts are concentrated in the White Paper on trying to influence the direction of the small proportion of land which passes through the market place. They ignore the fact that the vast bulk of land will not go through the market place in any year and in terms of restructuring land there are far greater opportunities for improving the management of land and bringing new and better farmers into the control of it by influencing inheritance and gifts of land between people and their relatives than by trying to influence the market place. The passages in this document on inheritance boil down to nothing at all. We have a page of words but no serious proposals to bring about earlier inheritance of land by younger farmers.

We on this side of the House have made a specific proposal on this matter regarding a two-year abolition of stamp duty on transfers of land to farmers under 35 years of age who have an agricultural education. Something on these lines accompanied by a radically reformed farm retirement scheme would be necessary.

[1712] I am deeply disappointed with what is said in the White Paper regarding the farm retirement scheme. The Government have sought to put the entire onus for the reform of this scheme on the EEC authorities. They have copped out of the subject themselves and have ignored the fact that there are two specific things within the competence of an Irish Government to do that could be done to improve the scheme. If it were improved there would be a marked transfer of land to younger farmers. First, they could increase the level of pension and bring it into line with other pensions. Up to now pensions under the Farm Retirement Scheme increased in line with the cost of living, not with the level of increases in other pensions, with the result that since the scheme was introduced pensions under it have increased at almost exactly half the rate of equivalent pensions under the social welfare code. People who retire under the farm scheme are losing as against social welfare pensioners and that is an obvious direct disincentive to participation in the scheme. Bringing that pension in line with social welfare pensions would be entirely within the competence of the Government without any reference to Brussels.

Further there is nothing in the scheme about enabling people under the farm retirement scheme to get benefits under the social welfare code such as free light or electricity. If those facilities were made available to people retiring under the farm scheme, which again would be entirely within the competence of our own Government, it would have a direct effect in encouraging people to use the scheme. The Government deliberately ignored what they could do to improve the scheme and tried to concentrate all attention on what might or might not be done in Brussels. In other words, they washed their hands of trying to improve the scheme themselves.

I am disappointed about the proposals with regard to long-term leasing. I am glad a model lease is to be introduced but I am disappointed that it is not proposed to provide a financial incentive to get people involved. To get this under way, for an initial period at least there should [1713] be some form of financial incentive, whether by way of grant or tax concesion on rent. Such an incentive is needed in order to get an initial batch of farmers into long-term leasing. Once that initial impetus has been given other farmers will follow. I do not see the need for an indefinite financial incentive but, to get it off the ground, some financial imput is necessary. What is proposed here by way of model leases and giving pious advice will not work. In five years time there will not be any long-term leasing and in retrospect it will be seen that the reason was that the Government did not have courage to make financial incentives available.

I am disappointed with the attitude of the Government in regard to the division of commonages. The paragraph dealing with this matter is similar to what was said with regard to late inheritance — full of pious words, encouragement, support and so on but no concrete measures are proposed to encourage the division of commonages. We know existing instruments have not been successful in dividing commonages. The Government should have changed the rule that exists at the moment where a small minority of people with an interest in a commonage can prevent the majority from dividing it. If the Government had changed that law there would have been a rapid improvement in the division rate. This problem should have been close to the heart of the Minister of State because he knows the situation as a TD in the west of Ireland. I am surprised he did not make a change in this area.

I note that in addition to requiring all land purchase to be approved by the Land Commission there will be substantial taxes on certain categories of purchasers. Has the Minister considered in detail the effect this might have, particularly in the current state of agriculture? The Minister is aware that many farmers who are in serious financial trouble are faced with the prospect of having to sell their farms. As a result of what is being proposed now each purchaser will be scrutinised and many will have to pay a substantial surcharge. Obviously this will mean fewer people will be prepared to [1714] buy land and, in turn, it will lead to a reduction in the price of land. If land prices are halved — and this is on the cards as a result of the policy of the Government — it means that where a farmer would have been obliged to sell ten acres to pay his debts he will now have to sell 20 acres to raise the same amount of money. The effect will be even greater fragmentation of holdings and much hardship for farmers. Many young farmers will have to sell even more land in order to repay the banks. The Minister should consider this matter very carefully. I know these measures have had a long gestation period. For instance, in 1978 the problem I mentioned about farmers having to sell land would not have been a consideration one would have had to bear in mind in assessing the merits or otherwise of this kind of tax but now we know there are many farmers in such a situation. They are already in trouble but this policy could ruin them completely. Perhaps the Minister has not much sympathy for that kind of farmer, although I doubt very much if he would lack sympathy for them. I should like him to address himself to that subject, either in his reply or on some other occasion.

I wish to express my good wishes and that of my party to Deputy Hussey on his dual appointment to the Departments of Health and Social Welfare. In the job he has held I have found him to be most constructive and I mention in particular his attitude when we were dealing with the legislation dealing with plant varieties. He showed a most welcome willingness to accept ideas from the other side of the House. I hope he is glad about his new job and that he will do at least as well there as he has done in the job he has held up to now.

Minister of State at the Department of Health and at the Department of Social Welfare (Mr. Hussey):  I should like to thank Deputy Bruton for his good wishes on my transfer to the Departments of Health and Social Welfare. I appreciate what he said. I was very happy to have had the opportunity of working with him in the past few years on the subject of agriculture. I can honestly say we got on [1715] well together and that is as it should be because both of us are concerned about the agricultural industry and would like to contribute in that area.

Here we are discussing a Supplementary Estimate for Lands and I gave the reasons in my opening remarks. It is necessary because income derived from the letting of lands on hands by the Land Commission is not sufficient to meet outgoings. The income from lettings is down by 20 per cent on last year and the amount of lettable land available is down by as much as 13 per cent as compared with 1979. Hence the reason for the Supplementary Estimate.

Deputy Bruton dealt mainly with the proposals outlined in the White Paper on land policy issued recently and he regretted that the estimate did not make provision for a new land policy. This was discussed on a number of occasions here. The Government are committed to introduce a new land policy and I am sure that legislative proposals on the matters outlined in the White Paper will be brought before the Dáil in due course.

Mr. Bruton:  Will the Minister deal with the points I raised?

Mr. Hussey:  Yes, I will deal with them as I go along. Any discussion on land policy is emotive. It takes a long time to formulate something that will be acceptable to farmers in general.

Deputy Bruton referred to the position of vendors, about whom he was particularly concerned. The operation of the land control system will be designed to ensure that no unnecessary hardship is imposed on vendors. Of course, the details will have to be worked out as regards auctions. There is no reason why a person seeking to buy should not apply for approval before the auction. As regards inheritance, the White Paper argues forcibly that this is a sensitive area and I think we all agree with that. It does not lend itself to legislative action. We would need to change the whole climate of opinion and attitudes. ACOT will have an important role to play in that.

[1716] As regards leasing, here again there is a limit to what the State can do. Like inheritance, it is largely a matter of changing attitudes. We are going to take positive action, as spelled out in the White Paper. Leasing of Land Commission land is one of the things outlined in the White Paper and that a model lease would be prepared and also that there would be a campaign of advice on the feasibility of a leasing scheme, and so on.

As regards the farmers retirement scheme, the Deputy says that the pensions have not kept pace with social welfare payments. He has not, however, adverted to the fact that annuitants under the retirement scheme get the market price of their land plus a premium.

Mr. Bruton:  But it was their land, anyway.

Mr. Hussey:  As regards commonages, since 1939 the Land Commission have power to devide a commonage where all the owners do not agree. The problem is not on the legal side but on the question of the practical application of compulsory division of a commonage. It is one thing to have compulsory powers; it is another thing to use them in circumstances where trouble would ensue. We all accept that this can happen, particularly in the case of commonages where a number of people are involved and where it is absolutely necessary to get the full co-operation of all the people before one can draw up a satisfactory scheme. From my own experience I have found time and time again in dealing with these problems that it is not always easy to get the full co-operation of all the people involved. There are always one or two people who for various reasons seem to think that they could get more than they are actually entitled to. This, in effect, stops the putting into operation of a scheme regardless of who tries to prepare it.

Mr. Bruton:  The Minister should have done something about it.

Vote put and agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Seanad Éireann [1717] has accepted the Local Loans Fund (Amendment) Bill, 1980, without recommendation.

An Ceann Comhairle:  This is a 45 minute debate. The Minister opens the debate and has ten minutes; Fine Gael, 15 minutes and Labour 15 minutes; and the Minister replies in five minutes.

Mr. P. Barry:  Is only one Fine Gael speaker allowed?

An Ceann Comhairle:  No, provided it is inside the 15 minutes. This is an informal agreement.

Minister for Finance (Mr. G. Fitzgerald):  I move:

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £417,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 1980, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Finance, including the Paymaster-General's Office, and for payment of certain grants-in-aid.

This Supplementary Estimate is required to provide mainly for increased salaries and wages for offices of the Department, for increases in the cost of office machinery, in Post Office services and for an increase in the grant-in-aid to the Economic and Social Research Institute.

The Estimate contains two new provisions, namely the expenses of the Commission on Taxation, which was established earlier this year, about April, and a contribution to the special Border areas programme fund which is being set up to finance a five-year Border areas programme. In addition to this Vote, we have a number of others. If the Opposition Deputies so wish, they can, if they have enough time, comment on these and, with the permission of the Chair, I [1718] shall move these other Votes at the end. They are as follows — the President's Establishment, Houses of the Oireachtas and the European Assembly, and Miscellaneous Expences.

Mr. P. Barry:  We shall have something to comment on that.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  If the Deputy wishes to comment, he can. There are also Votes for the Stationery Office, Agricultural Grants, and the Supplementary Estimate for Remuneration. Any of these Votes may be commented on in the course of the Estimate. I shall, if the House is agreeable, move those Votes at the end.

Mr. P. Barry:  The first Estimate before us is Vote 6, salary increases in the Minister's own Department, and he says that we can discuss the Votes on the President's Establishment, the Houses of the Oireachtas and the European Assembly, Miscellaneous Expenses — whatever that means — the Stationery Office and Agricultural Grants as well, under this Department. Is that right?

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  Agricultural grants, that is the rates.

Mr. Bruton:  For what it is worth.

Mr. Reynolds:  Does the Deputy want to give them back?

Mr. P. Barry:  I again formally congratulate Deputy Fitzgerald on taking up this very difficult task of Minister for Finance.

Mr. Bruton:  His tenure will be short.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  Not as short as the Deputy might wish.

Mr. P. Barry:  I hope that his tenure will be sweet but short, as short as possible. However, whether it is for three weeks, three months or — from the country's point of view with the appalling possibility of Fiánna Fáil winning the next election — three years, I hope that the responsibility which he undertakes in the [1719] Department of Finance is fully appreciated by him and that he appreciates the damage which has been done to the economy in the last four years by the Government of which he is a member.

I do not like to talk about somebody who has left that office. However we had a performance here yesterday from the Minister's predecessor in office which was confused. He made a number of contradictory statements in relation to the balance of payments which were not borne out by the facts, even though he had figures at his disposal which I had not. At one stage during Question Time yesterday the Minister said “There is a significant increase in industrial exports”. I do not know if the Minister had the figures issued by the CSO, which we received this morning, which show that the exports were not up as much in real terms over 12 months. I presume the Minister had that information yesterday. It was not fair of him not to give it to the House. The statement he made in the House was not correct.

I have been endeavouring for the last fortnight to ask questions regarding the NESC. I put them down to the Taoiseach, who did not reply to them but passed them on to the Minister for Finance. The Minister said yesterday, in reply to supplementary questions, that they were the responsibility of the Taoiseach. I want to warn the Minister that, if we put down questions to the Taoiseach on matters which are his responsibility, it is not right that they are put off on to one of his Ministers. We had another example today of that when questions which Deputy Creed put down to the Taoiseach were answered by the Government Chief Whip, who is Minister of State at the Department of Defence. He admitted during the reply that these were matters within the responsibility of the Taoiseach. We have had this on a number of occasions in this House. Obviously, the Minister cannot answer questions relating to NESC if he is not the Minister responsible for that organisation. He said that portion of the planning functions remained in his Department and this was [1720] the excuse he gave for taking the question at the time. I presume there is a planning function in every Department for which the particular Minister is responsible.

The NESC report was commissioned by the Taoiseach and for the last 12 months it has been under the control of his Department. Its funds come through the Taoiseach's office and they submit their report to him. If we want to ask questions relating to planning or on points that are brought out in the various reports published by NESC there is no point in the questions being answered by the Minister for Finance, because he can say: “This is not the responsibility of my Department”. Collective responsibility is more bowed to than practised by the Government. I do not believe that the present Minister for Finance or his predecessor would say that the Taoiseach discusses everything with them. Every Minister should be answerable to the House in relation to any questions which are asked of him.

I want to say something about the task facing the Minister in his new Department. The budget date was announced today as 28 January next. I warn the Minister that we cannot have a budget in 1981 like the one we had in 1980. That budget did a greater amount of damage to the employment prospects, the export prospects, the tourist industry and the agricultural industry than any day's work any time over the last 60 years in this country. It added at one stroke 4 per cent immediately, which probably became 6 per cent by the time it had worked its way through the economy through the rate of inflation. If the Government had not passed that budget our inflation rate would now be 6 per cent lower. Our interest rates would consequently be that much lower, our competitive position would be that much better and our exports would be that much higher.

As I said earlier, the Minister's predecessor said that manufacturing exports were increasing significantly. The figures out today show that in real terms exports are down. They would be down much more except for the statement on the back of the sheet of figures which we got this morning. The first item here shows [1721] that between November 1979 and November 1980 live animal exports chiefly for food, increased from £14.6 million to £17.4 million. This is the single largest increase in that category. If the Minister repeats in the next budget the indirect taxation of the 1980 Budget then we will further damage our export potential, we will further damage tourism, we will increase inflation and we will have more people out of work than the 180,000 people out of work at the moment. I see the Minister making a note about this figure. I want to tell him how I got that figure.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  The Deputy could not possibly see that. He is telling lies.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Minister should not accuse the Deputy of telling lies.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  I did not mean that seriously. I am sorry.

Mr. P. Barry:  I see the Minister making a note. I want to explain where I got that figure of 180,000. There are 115,000 on the register, there are 8,000 on short-term and I am adding to that the figure which the present Minister for Finance, when he was on this side of the House, said must be added to every level of unemployment to show the real number of people looking for work. The figure he gave then was 60,000. The figure for unemployment, according to the present Minister for Finance, is 183,000.

This is the worst level of unemployment the country has ever experienced. It is because of all the actions of the Government but because of one factor especially. When it was quite obvious in 1979 that the world would move into a recessionary period, the country did not need last year a budgetary policy which would damage the prospects of keeping people in employment, because that would damage our prospects of exporting. No month has passed when the organisations who speak for the business and manufacturing community have not said that one of the most serious things [1722] affecting their competitive position was the imposition in the last budget of the tax on oil. Ministers have said many times that the high rate of inflation was due to external factors. Germany does not import a lower percentage of oil than we do, yet their inflation and unemployment rates are much lower than ours. We must conclude that the problems of inflation and unemployment are due to the policies pursued by the Government. There must not be a repeat in 1981 of the budgets of 1980 and 1979. The Minister is taking on this job at a time when all the Government's wits and brains will have to be applied to bringing down the rate of inflation, getting people back to work, increasing exports and holding our position on imports.

The Minister's predecessor was fond of saying that the balance of payments position was improving because our imports were down and our exports were up. Manufacturing exports have been doing well. A commentator in The Irish Times today said:

Manufactured exports increased by only 9.6% to £203 million between November 1979, and November, 1980, ...

An increase in money terms of 9.6 per cent is a reduction in volume terms because when the figure for inflation is announced it will probably be in the region of 18 per cent. There was a drop in volume terms of 9 per cent. During all the recessions in the last ten years, manufacturing exports have increased significantly but if this figure is correct it would appear for the first time there is a drop in volume.

The Government should be worried about destocking by farmers. At a time when they so badly need breeding stock to pay rate bills, taxation bills and bank interest, farmers have to sell their stock. This is very wrong and should be of great concern to the Minister and the Government. The drop in imports is in an area where we do not want a drop — in goods for further processing for re-export and also capital goods for manufacturing. The reasons for the improvement in the balance of payments position are not advantageous [1723] to the country. Exports are not increasing at a sufficient rate or, if they are, they are in the wrong categories.

I hope the Minister will say how successful the guaranteed Irish campaign has been. I appreciate that to quantify it is difficult but it did very well for the first 12 months when it was launched. The Government were very committed to it but then there appeared to be a lull in which we were going back to the old “Buy Irish” campaign. Only this year did the Government seem to put their full weight behind it. It is one of the most imaginative and beneficial campaigns ever launched. It could be extremely successful. I am satisfied that the Government are committed to it and are providing funds for it. I hope the Minister will be able to say if it has been successful and if there is any method of quantifying it because I do not believe we can use import figures to say that it has been successful. I am not sure what way we can measure its success or failure but my guess would be that it has been more successful this year than at any time in the past four or five years.

The tendency is for Government to feel that once the danger has passed they can relax the amount of funds they give to such campaigns. It is important when the recession seems to be lifting to ensure that there are adequate funds for such campaigns.

Mr. Bruton:  I take it that we are dealing with the Estimate for the Houses of the Oireachtas in this discussion. I should not allow this debate to pass — it is rarely that the Estimate for the Houses of the Oireachtas is discussed at all — without saying that this House is perhaps the institution in the State most urgently in need of reform. We do not do business in a proper fashion. We are now dealing with money which has already been spent and are giving retrospective approval to it.

I have argued before that estimates, supplementary or principal, should be approved before a single penny is spent. That means that estimates for 1981 should be presented during 1980 and not [1724] at the end of the year. No money should be spent on supplementary estimates until they have been approved. We need to establish a committee system and reform the general operation of the House to ensure that there is proper scrutiny of the spending of public money.

The present procedures are archaic and give us no control. All we are doing is giving our legal imprimatur to the spending of money over the initial allocation of which we have no control and of the use of which we have little knowledge.

Under the heading of miscellaneous expenditure there has been an overspending of £50,000 on State entertainment this year. I am not a kill-joy by any means but this is hardly a year in which the Government should decide to overspend on State entertainment to the tune of £50,000. I should like to know where the money went and why the over expenditure was so high. Is it possible that in the original Estimate account was not taken of the increase in the price of drink which the Government subsequently introduced and then they found they had to pay more in terms of entertainment expenses because they themselves had increased the price of drink?

I should like the Minister to explain why we have a separate Estimate for remuneration. I understood that substantial sums were made available in individual Estimates for remuneration. Why therefore did we have a separate Estimate for remuneration for certain categories, presumably, of officials within the Departments in question? This type of multiple accountability does not seem to lend itself to proper control. As well, in this Department of Finance group of Estimates I am surprised there is not a Supplementary Estimate for the Revenue Commissioners. If the Estimates before us are for the purpose of paying increased salaries, have increased salaries not been paid or to be paid under the National Understanding in the Revenue Commissioners? How has that office been able to cope with the National Understanding increases without a Supplementary Estimate?

I sincerely hope that it is not a question [1725] of extra salaries being paid or additional money being provided for such salaries in the Revenue Commissioners without a Supplementary Estimate. I would take the gravest exception to that happening. The Department would not have any right to use savings within the Revenue Commissioners under particular headings and re-allocate them for additional salaries. If additional salaries are to be paid in that office the figures should come in here in the form of a Supplementary Estimate. Why have we not before us a Supplementary Estimate in respect of the Revenue Commissioners?

Minister for Finance (Mr. G. Fitzgerald):  I enjoyed the lecture and the warnings issued to me by Deputy Barry. He does not have to lecture me or any Fianna Fáil Minister on the responsibility we assumed when we took office. I will not comment on his flippant remarks about my appointment or on the rather guarded congratulations he extended to me. I thank him for them.

Mr. P. Barry:  They were not guarded.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  Qualified, perhaps I should have said. Most of the points made by Deputy Barry are more relevant to the debate we will be having tomorrow than to the Supplementary Estimate before us. I will go into them more deeply then. I strongly disagree, as do the majority of the people of the country, with his views on the Government's handling of the economy. During this Government's term vast strides have been made in growth and development despite serious international difficulties, but we do not preach gloom and doom. We are resolved to endeavour to guide and direct the country through this deep economic recession, and to date we have had remarkable success.

I reject Deputy Barry's comments in relation to the effect of the 1980 budget and its strategy. The budgetary measures were designed carefully in the light of the circumstances then prevailing and having regard to factors with which the Government were forced to grapple. For example, there was the matter of taxation of [1726] married persons. I assure Deputy Barry that in the next budget we will have similar regard to the realities of the current economic situation. Deputy Barry made a general comment on the agricultural situation but he did not comment on the very valuable Supplementary Estimate before us this evening in regard to agricultural grants. We have a concession being given to a group of people in the £40 to £60 valuation bracket. It is a substantial and very welcome concession to many of my constituents who happen to be in that situation.

Mr. Bruton:  The Minister is only giving back what had been taken from them earlier in the year.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  The Deputy opposite would not be familiar enough with that particular farming scene to be able to know the problems we had to deal with during the year. He will be learning in his new constituency. Deputy Bruton raised a point on the Houses of the Oireachtas. It is a tribute to us that this year more than ever we have given an opportunity to the Opposition to debate such Estimates in detail. The Deputy said that never before had he been given such an opportunity. The Estimate is before the House——

Mr. Bruton:  That is not the point I made.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  This is progress. The Deputy spoke about remuneration. The figure here covers cases where Supplementary Estimates were not taken and cases where Supplementary Estimates were taken but subsequent special pay increases arose. The Deputy mentioned the Revenue Commissioners. He will find that savings have been made in the Vote for the Revenue Commissioners. In other words, the Deputy does not have to worry that the National Understanding increase will not be paid to those people.

Mr. P. Barry:  Would the Minister say that again, please?

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  Deputy Bruton [1727] asked whether the increase were being met from savings on the vote.

Mr. Bruton:  I asked where are they in the remuneration vote.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  Increases are provided for in the remuneration vote, but the Deputy asked whether the Revenue Commissioners' officers had been given the National Understanding benefits. That was met from savings on the vote.

Mr. Bruton:  What about State entertainment — why was it overshot?

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  Most of that relates to the six months of our EEC Presidency in 1979.

Mr. Bruton:  Surely it was known that this would arise when the Estimates were being prepared?

Mr. P. Barry:  Surely the bills had come in before the Book of Estimates was prepared?

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  Our Presidency did not expire until 31 December 1979.

Mr. P. Barry:  There could not have been much entertainment in the last two weeks of December. That would all have been in the first few months.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  The two busiest months were June and December.

Mr. Bruton:  Late payment of the caterers — they were left out of their money.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  Flippancy.

Vote put and agreed to.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  I move:

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £10,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 1980, for [1728] the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Secretary to the President, and for certain other expenses of the President's Establishment.

Vote put and agreed to.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  I move:

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £315,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 1980 for the salaries and expenses of the Houses of the Oireachtas, including certain grants-in-aid and for certain expenses in connection with the European Assembly.

Vote put and agreed to.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  I move:

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £62,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 1980, for certain Miscellaneous Expenses.

Vote put and agreed to.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  I move:

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £300,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 1980, for the salaries and expenses of the Stationery Office; for printing and binding, paper, publications, office machinery and other office supplies for Public Services; and for sundry miscellaneous purposes.

Vote put and agreed to.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  I move:

[1729] That a supplementary sum not exceeding £6,000,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 1980, for grants to Local Authorities in relief of rates on agricultural land.

Vote put and agreed to.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  I move:

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £5,601,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 1980, for Remuneration.

Vote put and agreed to.

Leave granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to appropriate to the proper supply services and purposes sums granted by the Central Fund (Permanent Provisions) Act, 1965, and this Act.

—(Minister for Finance).

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Second Stage is being taken now, as soon as the Bill has been circulated.

Agreed to take remaining Stages today.

Minister for Finance (Mr. G. Fitzgerald):  I move: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”

Mr P. Barry:  I want to refer to one point that Deputy Bruton rightly made before he went out. Three minutes ago we passed a Supplementary Estimate for the Department of Finance and it is now included in a printed Bill ready to be discussed here. I appreciate that there is no other way of doing this and the money must be passed now. But this underlines the point that Deputy Bruton made that [1730] our management of finance in this House is crazy. I am not saying this in any party sense but it is time we got down to looking at how money is spent and accounted for in this House. We are going to pass here £3,441,326,550, almost on the nod of a head. I know a lot of the individual Estimates have been discussed but it is time we started trying to see how Estimates can be put before the House and debated on before the money is actually spent. Even if it takes five years we should certainly be working towards it.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  The Deputy will be aware that the Appropriation Bill cannot be passed until the last Estimates are through.

Mr. P. Barry:  That is the point I am making.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  In this year the amount of time devoted by this Government to debating Estimates was substantially greater than has been the case in this House for many years. As the House will remember in the earlier part of the year we specifically set aside Friday for Estimates. That more than doubled the time devoted to Estimates last year. The time devoted to Estimates this year was 113 hours as against 51 in 1979, 64 in 1978, 18 in 1977 and 56 in 1976. I take the point Deputy Barry makes which is related to whether there should be a reorganisation. Obviously this is a matter that has been discussed by the Committee on Procedure and Privileges and one report has issued and the Government contributed to giving this extra time this year. I understand a further report will emanate from the Committee on Procedure and Privileges. I am aware that Deputy Bruton has raised this not only tonight but over the past two years. I am also aware that the greatest exponent on that theme was Deputy Vivion de Valera. But this Government, having discussed it with the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, did allow a substantial amount of time this year.

Mr. P. Barry:  I am not arguing with that. I am saying that we are passing [1731] £3,400 million here now, all of which has been spent.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald:  That is so on the Bill. But what I am saying is that we have given a lot of Government time for the Supplementary Estimates.

Mr. P. Barry:  I accept all the Minister's other points but we are always doing it after the money is spent.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill put through Committee, reported without amendment and passed.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  This Bill is certified a Money Bill in accordance with Article 22 of the Constitution.

Business suspended at 6.40 p.m. and resumed at 7.00 p.m.

The following motion was moved by Deputy B. Desmond on Tuesday, 16 December 1980.

“That Dáil Éireann, concerned about the substantial and increasing dependence of Irish industrial development, employment and economic growth on foreign and multinational capital, and about the implications of such trends for the future:

—calls on the Government immediately to ascertain and publish details of the extent to which our industrial base and employment is dependent on foreign and multi-national capital:

—asks the Government now to review the policies of the Industrial Development Authority in relation to over reliance on foreign and multi-national capital: and

—agrees on the need for the establishment of a National Development Corporation with a legislative and financial basis adequate to enable it [1732] to launch an industrial development programme based on Irish resources and utilising the most advanced technologies under Irish control.”

Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:

To delete all words after “That” and add:—

“Dáil Éireann endorses the industrial development strategy being pursued by the Government and its Agencies and notes with approval that the Government has already announced the carrying out of a fundamental review of industrial development policy by the National Economic and Social Council which review commenced early in 1980.”

—(Minister of State at the Department of Industry, Commerce and Tourism.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Deputy O'Toole is in possession and has five minutes.

Mr. O'Toole:  When I reported progress I had been dealing with the work of the IDA and the need for some form of new impetus to get over the present economic problems which have given rise to a very high unemployment rate. Today in the House the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism made the point that Córas Tráchtála were deeply conscious of the value of the small industrial unit and drew attention to their track record. I reiterate what I said regarding what might be done to complement the commitment by CTT and the IDA who are emphasising the need for and the value of the development of small industries. I am convinced that one of the major solutions to our economic problems lies in the sphere of small industries. I say this not because I am suggesting that the IDA will not continue to have such success in inducing large companies to come to this country, but because they know that competition for such industrial units is now very stiff indeed. While they must be encouraged in their efforts to attract such industries here, there is nothing [1733] wrong with a parallel impetus in the development of small industry.

The Government should show their commitment in this area by appointing a Minister of State at the Department of Industry, Commerce and Tourism who would have total responsibility for the small firm sector, backed by a national agency to help small firms to set up and to assist them in dealing with Government and various agencies. Such small firms face an enormous amount of red tape and have not the capacity and the personnel to deal with it.

Regarding our industrial development generally, we must retain our clean environment and the social fabric of our society. These are matters on which I could speak at length, but time does not permit. The warning lights are flashing regarding our treatment of the environment, and the existence of toxic waste as a consequence of industrial production is a matter which must be treated far more seriously. There is an urgent need for the safe disposal of this toxic matter, and the Minister should examine this problem because it will get worse as time goes on and our industrial base broadens.

I do not endorse the Government record on industry, and they have blatantly failed in their attempt to deal with the retention of jobs. I endorse the work of the IDA, the Government agency. Long may they continue to attract industry from anywhere they can get investment from abroad.

Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism (Mr. O'Malley):  This motion strikes me as a somewhat inept one in the sense that it was put down two days after I made a speech early last week on many of these points, and it displays, for that reason, if only for that alone, a singular lack of originality. It contains the potential danger of creating an appearance of xenophobia. I am glad Deputy Desmond in proposing the motion last night did not take that approach. In fairness to him, he almost went to the other extreme and made a very low key speech. I propose to respond on the basis that no element [1734] of xenophobia will be engendered here and no ammunition will therefore be given to those who spend part of their time abroad trying to run down this country.

Mr. Quinn:  I can assure the Minister that xenophobia has never been part of the philosophy of this party.

Mr. O'Malley:  Depending on how the motion was dealt with it could give rise to that. That is why I said I appreciated the manner in which Deputy Desmond approached it and it enables me to approach it in the same way without having to say things that might otherwise be necessary. I want to pass from that to make some general remarks in regard to our present industrial strategy.

We have two main ambitions for our economy — full employment and a rising standard of living. Together they provide the foundation for the stable development of our society — expanding opportunities, broadening the choice of goods and services, providing more resources for those in need and a feeling of confidence in the future. In their absence — particularly over a long period — this foundation is at risk; opportunities diminished; choices are narrowed; social justice becomes a luxury as the limited available resources go to those with the strongest muscle; confidence is displaced by doubt and uncertainty; and stability itself is threatened by internal conflict and, ultimately, by social disorder.

Over the past 25 years Ireland has undergone a “crash course” in industrial development. We have had to go through this process to ensure the foundation for the stable development of our society. Seán Lemass saw this need and began the highly successful programme of planned growth, based on rapid export development, a high level of investment and selective attraction of foreign enterprise to strengthen the industrial base. This period has seen a dramatic growth and broadening of employment opportunities and a steady rise in the country's living standards.

This country has been enormously successful in adapting in such a short space of time to the disciplines of modern [1735] industry. We have today the fastest growing industrial sector in the European Economic Community. Our growth rate in output, investment and jobs has been faster than any of our EEC neighbours. This growth has taken place in a free market economy in competition with the best of other countries. We have today an industrial management force with skills, experience and vision who are not dismayed either at the prospect of foreign competition or at the necessity to penetrate foreign markets to sell their products. We have, perhaps for the first time in our history, a healthy Irish industrial base with competent management personnel who know what they can achieve, who know they can measure up to competitive international standards. We have a general work force who have assimilated the latest manufacturing techniques and technologies with commendable speed.

The remarkable role played by the IDA in achieving this situation should not be underestimated. I do not need to recite again a litany of statistics in order to convince this House of the professionalism, the effectiveness and the achievements of the IDA. Through their efforts foreign enterprises operating in international growth markets have been persuaded in considerable numbers to locate in Ireland. As a result, an increasingly wide range of products is being exported and new markets — especially in Western Europe — are being opened up. During the last 15 years, this kind of investment has provided many of the new jobs that have been created in our economy and it has also taken up much of the slack as the older, more traditional industries have shed workers and as the number of jobs in agriculture has continued to shrink.

We should make no mistake about this. If it were not for these foreign industries coming into the country and the IDA's efforts we would be in a very poor state indeed job-wise.

Let no one underestimate the importance of the contribution made to our growth by these multinationals. They have been fundamental to the growth of the economy over the last quarter of a [1736] century. Without the solid base of productive effort represented by these foreign industries, we would not be able to afford many of the present expenditures on social welfare, health, education and housing.

For this country direct foreign investment has been “a means to an end”. The “end” I am talking about is the acceleration of the transition of the Irish economy from a primarily rural, agricultural-based one to a modern industrial economy with some of the most modern factories in Europe, with a solid base in the new growth industries of chemicals, electronics and pharmaceuticals. This is an economy which provides challenging and worthwhile employment opportunities for our rapidly growing young population and enables them to stay at home and to contribute to the development of their country. It is an economy in which young Irish businessmen can experience the best international management practices and technological developments; an economy in which these young Irish businessmen are stimulated and motivated to set up their own indigenous companies to complement the thrust of the foreign multinationals and go on to develop new overseas markets for new and innovative products made and rooted in this country.

There was no other realistic way in which these extraordinary results could have been achieved in as short a time frame and I am proud to have been a part of, and indeed to have made some small contribution to this process. I am particularly pleased to see during the last three years especially, the growth of indigenous Irish industry and the emergence of high-quality native Irish managers and entrepreneurs to manage these industries.

I have encouraged this trend because I believe it is the way of the future and that the eighties and nineties will increasingly see the growth of indigenous industries in all kinds of sophisticated and technologically advanced areas — industries which are owned and managed by Irish entrepreneurs and managers.

Even today there are clear signs that this is happening. While there is a widespread [1737] impression that the IDA have concentrated most of their efforts on the introduction of large overseas companies to Ireland, this is to a great extent due to the fact that the establishment of such companies here usually attracts much more attention in the press than similar investments by Irish firms. In fact, the most up-to-date estimates based on IDA employment surveys suggest that foreign-owned firms account for only about 33 per cent of total manufacturing employment. The IDA, with my strong support, are heavily committed to the maximum support and encouragement of Irish industry.

Over the last three years the number of jobs approved from domestic industry has increased significantly mainly as a result of the decisions I took in late 1977 regarding indigenous small industry. In 1973-74, for example, job approvals from domestic sources represented 41 per cent of the total job approvals while last year this figure was 58 per cent — a very substantial increase.

Last year small firms employing 50 persons or less accounted for 24 per cent of jobs approved for assistance by the IDA. This year the figure will be at least 33 per cent of the total approvals. The rapid growth of small industries in Ireland can be appreciated by a comparison of the results of the first year of the Small Industries Programme in 1967 when a total of 34 projects were approved, with 1979 when, on average, three projects were approved every working day.

I am particularly pleased to see this kind of progress not only because over 90 per cent of these projects are Irish-owned but also because small firms play a very important role in developing a balanced industrial structure. They bring jobs to towns which are not large enough to sustain major industries. Since 1967 small industries have located in 440 separate locations throughout the country. On top of this they encourage native entreprenurial talent. One in four projects helped by the IDA is created by persons not previously engaged in manufacturing, persons who are developing and exploiting their own ideas.

[1738] At the beginning of this year 23,000 persons were employed in small grant-aided firms, equivalent to 10 per cent of the manufacturing labour force. Over the decade of the 1980's the growth potential for small industries will be greater than ever due to the increasing number of spin-off opportunities arising from new larger scale industries. The 1980s will also see a vast array of new business and job opportunities becoming available to Irish entrepreneurs and managers. We will need these job opportunities and we will need to capitalise on them if we are to continue the momentum of the past 25 years.

Looking out into the 1980s our expanding population will place ever increasing pressure on our manufacturing industry to meet the future job requirements of our young people.

This pressure will be greatly increased by the continued labour shedding in the agricultural sector. This is expected to continue for a number of years to come, because productivity in Irish agriculture is on average below that of most European countries and the proportion of the population engaged in agriculture is still, by far, the highest in the EEC.

The international environment in which our industrial sector will have to operate to provide the job opportunities I refer to is likely to be dramatically different from that of the sixties and the seventies. We are likely to see only moderate economic growth in the developed countries of the world. Almost uniformly, forecasting institutes in most western countries are predicting slower growth in output, increasing inflationary forces, persistent monetary instability and increasing unemployment. We are likely to see rapid technological change continuing to be an essential element for development. We are likely to see increased free trade between countries and, despite current protectionist pressures, we are likely to see increasing participation from developing countries in world economic exchanges.

Here in Ireland we must be prepared for the fact that the determinants of economic growth in the decade ahead will be different in quality and in intensity from [1739] those that dominated the economic growth in earlier times. It is in this context that the Government last year asked the NESC to undertake a major review of our industrial policies and recommend the most appropriate strategies for the eighties.

This review, which is being carried out by a team of international consultants, will deal with: the competitive position of Irish industry at present; the prospects for new growth industries; the cost efficiency of the instruments of industrial policy; the lack, until very recently, of significant growth in indigenous Irish industry; the role of foreign industry; the sources of funds for industry; the likely consequences for Ireland of shifts in international advantages, and the co-ordination of industrial development policies with infrastructural and manpower policies.

The consultants involved expect to present their final report to NESC in early spring 1981 and the Government will consider what action is needed in response to these recommendations at that time.

The task of shaping our industrial policies and our industrial strategies to face the challenge of the eighties will not be an easy one. The next ten years will present many challenges and many problems. However, I believe that Irish industry today is capable of continuing real growth in the years ahead. There is no question in my mind that we have the resources here to make it happen. Let me enumerate some of the more important ones in my view: we have a high degree of political stability; Irish people have a clear sense of identity and a self-confidence greatly strengthened by the experience of the past 20 years, a period during which manufacturing industry grew by 6 per cent annually in real terms; we have had consistency of industrial development policies for over two decades; we have successful and dynamic promotional agencies and an attractive, well developed range of incentive programmes; we have some of the most modern plant in Western Europe, arising from the fact [1740] that our drive for industrialisation is less than 25 years old.

We have a skilful and adaptable work force who have proved themselves in modern technology. Our skills are not inhibited by hide-bound tradition and our industry is increasingly oriented towards sectors of long term growth. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, for the first time in the history of this country there is available a substantial group of Irish managers, capable of competing with the best in the world.

This, I believe, may be our greatest resource, and it is one that has only become available to the Irish economy in very recent years. In the fifties and earlier the enterprising Irishman too often went abroad out of necessity and was lost forever to us. But the Irish emigrants of the sixties have begun to come back bringing with them the skills, experience and vision acquired in their years abroad.

In the final analysis it is this human resource, and the attitudes, the vision and the motivation of our own Irish people, that will determine how successful we will be in the next decade. We need enterprising native businessmen to grasp the challenge of the eighties, to exploit the new product and market opportunities, to build a new generation of indigenous companies, technologically sophisticated and rooted here.

If I were to pick one example of the benefits to this country of the marriage of multi-national technology with local brainpower and of the opportunities available for native Irish talent, I would pick the electronics industry. The huge advances made in electronic technology and the fact that this country now houses some of the best companies in this field presents us, in my view, with a golden opportunity. The revolution in information processing is only gathering momentum. There are literally thousands of applications to which microprocessors can be put. Advanced electronics in the office, in industry or at home have a scope that knows no bounds. Electronic starting and fuel efficiency control in the most basic of cars is likely to become the norm of the future. Robot assembly is now quite common in almost every new car [1741] assembly plant and it is only a question of time before they are used in many other sectors of production line industry.

Ireland is now ideally placed to exploit this downstream development of the microprocessor. We have the technology, we have the educational infrastructure and we are acquiring the personnel. By 1985 the Industrial Development Authority reckon we should have over 30,000 people engaged in the electronics industry — we have 13,500 at present. By 1985 we will be turning out a plentiful supply of trained technicians and graduates. But will these people have the vision to see, and the motivation to exploit the development potential that the new technology affords us? It is being done in the United States all the time. Employees of one company move out to start up on their own, either in competition with their former employers and deploying greater efficiency, or in developing another product. Surely we can do it here.

Given our commitment to the free enterprise system and our industrial incentive programme, there is all the more reason why such spawning should occur here. This country offers ready-made factory units, substantial capital grants and a 100 per cent write-off of the investment in year one. Manufacturing industry in Ireland, whether for export or domestic consumption, will pay tax on profits at a maximum of 10 per cent from the beginning of next year until the year 2000. There is little excuse, therefore, for our businessmen and entrepreneurs not to seize the opportunities that are facing them.

I believe we have the opportunity to undergo in the eighties the most significant shift in emphasis in our manufacturing profile since Irish manufacturing industry got off the ground 25 years ago — and we have the chance to do it ourselves. The technology and the work force are here and, increasingly, the infrastructure is being set in place. The key ingredient that will determine our success is motivation. What is the attitude of the graduates and technicians likely to be?

Ireland has never really been regarded [1742] as a nation of enterprise. The next few years will afford us the best possible incentive to prove the world wrong. I not, then the enormous downstrean potential of the electronic revolution will pass us by, or what we do see of it will be as a result of foreign enterprise yet again taking the initiative.

Apart from electronic hardware the other areas of potential of the 1980s, such as bio-technology, synthetic fuels, software development and so on are areas of potential suited ideally to Ireland in that they are low energy, often low capital but always high brainpower technologies. The key requirement in all these areas will be enterprise.

Enterprise of all kinds will have an important contribution to make. I hope that domestic private enterprise will play a key role along the lines I have developed earlier in this speech. Foreign enterprise will continue to be a vital source of new investment and new jobs. Public enterprise, either alone or together with the private sector, has also a contribution to make. This potential contribution was recognised by the Government and discussed in detail with the unions and the employer organisations who took part in the negotiations leading to the last two national understandings. In that context, as all Deputies will be aware, the Government have undertaken already to provide for the establishment of a national enterprise agency.

Before going on to deal with this proposed agency I would like to make it clear that I do not share the view often expressed that only public enterprise can provide a really effective answer to the country's employment need. I acknowledge that public enterprise has, and must continue to have, a part to play. Unfortunately, the performance of many of the commercial State companies has been nothing short of abysmal. In fact, with only a few exceptions, they add up to a litany of financial failure. This may be due to some extent to the fact that the ventures themselves may not have been attractive in commercial terms in the beginning but quite obviously other factors are at work also. In the light of these unhappy experiences can anybody honestly [1743] or convincingly make a case for further large-scale direct State participation in commercial activities? The milestones along such a road would very soon become millstones round the necks of taxpayers. Is this what we want? The answer must definitely be no.

It will be recalled that the commitment to set up the National Development Agency was given in response to sustained requests from the trade union movement for a national development corporation which would research new ideas for industrial development and establish new industries based on native resources and on improved technology. The preparatory ground work needed to bring the new agency into operation has taken longer than anticipated but, given what I have said about our experience of public enterprise, Deputies will appreciate the importance of assuring that the necessary framework and modus operandi are worked out fully before its launching. Great care must be taken to ensure that there is no overlap between its functions and those of other State agencies, particularly the IDA and SFADCo. We must also avoid a situation where the agency would be bidding in competition with other State bodies for the same projects. I expect that detailed proposals for the establishment of the agency, taking those problems into account, will be considered by the Government shortly.

From all that I have said here tonight it is clear that in continuing the momentum of our industrial development the task which we face as we head into the 1980s is a daunting one. None of the difficulties which I have mentioned will be solved in any final sense, but they seem more manageable than those that faced Ireland 20 or even ten years ago.

The opportunities for progress, as I have said, will be there. However, to take advantage of opportunities calls for effort, co-operation and discipline. Progress will not come by sitting around waiting for things to happen and allowing those opportunities to slip by. Our country can be only what we make it. For too long this was a country where the feeling [1744] that nothing can be done lay heavily like lead on the soul. That era is over now.

We all agree that full employment and a high standard of living are important, but statements of hope or good intentions are not enough. To achieve our ambition we have to produce and sell goods and services that are wanted in home and overseas markets and we have to do this in a highly competitive world which does not owe us a living. We will have to be clear about the scale of the challenge that confronts us. We have to define the choices open to us, to set realistic targets and, above all, to commit ourselves to the action which is required to achieve these goals. This will call for leadership of a high order at all levels of our society from the Government down to individual workers on the shop floor.

For my part I assure the Deputies here tonight that I myself, my Department and all of the State agencies under my control are striving hard to provide an example to the industrial sector in this regard.

Mr. Quinn:  I would like to speak in support of the Labour motion and to respond to the speech that the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism has made and to the tone of that speech. I respect and appreciate the way in which he has proposed to deal with the resolution and the motion that we have put down.

As I said in my intervention, this party, unique in this House, have not traded in the obnoxious, political ideology of xenophobia which has beset this country for so many years and there is absolutely no suggestion of xenophobic antagonism in this motion. On the contrary it is fitting and right that a political party in a democratic assembly of the free Irish peoples should after 60 years look at the extent of their control and development of their own industrial base if we are to give any sense or meaning to the struggle for freedom that our forefathers had over many years. To celebrate the partial victory of our antecedents and forefathers in achieving freedom for ourselves is in no way to claim or assert to be xenophobic at all; on the contrary.

The present occupants of the Fianna [1745] Fáil benches like to refer to the late Deputy Seán Lemass and his contribution to the development of the State of this country. However, like most politicians they tend to be rather selective. I was brought up in a Fianna Fáil house with long memories, and, without being disrespectful in any way to the positive ultimate contribution that the late Deputy Lemass made to this country without any great personal gain — indeed, with very little personal gain to himself — the record will show that in coming to Government in 1932, with the support of the Labour Party, the late Deputy Lemass spent 19 years establishing a Sinn Fein tariff-protected economy to enable private enterprise to create an industrial base. When he saw the abysmal failure of Irish private enterprise he spent the last ten years of his life, from 1957 to 1966 when he retired, in dismantling it. The fact that he was more successful in dismantling it than in erecting it in terms of its net impact on the growth of this country is something that we welcome. Let the House be quite clear that if the record was to be objective, the strategy of Sinn Fein tariff-protected industrial growth in this country failed and was seen to fail by the return in 1957 of Fianna Fáil to office, and clearly so by Deputy Lemass in 1959, when he became Taoiseach.

Those years were lost at a time of difficult economic development internationally. We are being assured now by the present incumbent of the post once held by Deputy Lemass that this time Fianna Fáil have got it right, that this time the magic formula of industrial growth and development has been discovered and that they are going to deliver in a way that they were not delivering before the two objectives, if I quote the Minister correctly, of full employment and rising standards of living.

The Labour Party would like, first of all, to clarify the consensus of agreement which we share with other parties in this House, particularly with the Government. We share those objectives. I suspect that we share them to a degree far greater than the Minister realises fully, but we are not the ideologues in this House. The ideologues are over there. [1746] They are the people who believe consistently and frequently in the unique ability of private enterprise to deliver the jobs.

We have had the Fianna Fáil manifesto of 1977 and the subsequent and constant reiteration of private enterprise whether at chamber of commerce dinners in the US or at CII gatherings here. The ideologues, if one wants to read Deputy Desmond's speech yesterday or listen to me now, are not on this side of the House. We have frequently and consistently stated that we are in favour of a mixed economy with the dynamic role for the public sector. We accuse successive Governments of not having recognised the real dynamic contribution that a well-managed — I emphasise that phrase — public sector can make to the development of our economy. There is no such thing as private enterprise in our economy. The present Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism. I suspect, is better aware of that than any other occupant of that Department with the bleating queue of industries that do not want to pay taxes when making profits and are banging down his door seeking grants and bail-outs either from himself directly or from Fóir Teoranta when they are in trouble. If that is private enterprise it does not square with usage of the English language.

We already have a mixed economy — some would say a mixed-up economy. The public sector which in terms of direct employment is the largest sector is being misused and abused by elements within the private sector and in private industry where it is required to provide at below cost level an infrastructure for the development of the private sector without any guarantee that the private sector will automatically reinvest within the economy to create employment. I do not wish these comments to be seen as an attack on the private sector; on the contrary, this party believe the representatives of private industry when they say they represent private interests. They do represent private interests first and foremost. The history since 1977 as represented by spokesmen for the industry, Mr. Liam Connellan and others, clearly indicates that the survival of their own companies [1747] and the interests, not of their employees, but of their shareholders and debenture holders are their first concern and will be looked after first.

What then does this motion seek? We say there is a mixed economy. We recognise the role and positive dynamic interaction of a mixed economy. We say that the so-called privacy of that sector is very small and that the potential for dynamic growth and development within our economy from the public sector has been denied by successive Governments. Specifically the present Government and the present Minister whose competency is in no way doubted by any Deputy — have regrettably failed to implement a commitment in relation to the industrial consortium — if that is the correct phrase — in the manifesto. There may be difficulties attached to this. The Minister indicated some of them. The reports and analyses that now for the first time are being made available directly to Deputies and Senators by the State Sponsored Bodies Committee would indicate that for far too long the involvement of the Oireachtas in the public sector in terms of accountability has resulted in considerable mismanagement in more than one State enterprise.

One swallow does not make a summer. The bankruptcy of not one but of hundreds of private enterprise firms does not in any way diminish the faith of the Fianna Fáil ideologues in the propriety of private enterprise, so why should those who believe in and argue for an increasing role for the public sector accept that faults and mistakes in management in the public sector somehow remove the correctness of that side of the economy for economic growth and development. I say that so as to suggest that the dynamic positive mix between public and private has never really been sought and will not be sought until such time as the rather mild terms of our motion are implemented by some Government.

We are asking the Government immediately to ascertain and publish details of the extent to which our industrial base in employment depends on foreign and multinational capital. We are asking the [1748] Government now to review the policies of the Industrial Development Authority in relation to over-reliance on foreign and multinational capital. Finally, we ask them again to look at the whole question of a national development corporation. There are many ways in which this might be done. In my personal view there is an argument for taking all of the semi-State bodies under the wing of one Department and of creating a Department of Public Enterprise and assigning, for example, to the Department of Transport the role of regulator and not have it trapped as it currently is by either Irish Shipping on the one hand or Aer Lingus on the other. Instead of being an independent agency between the commercial interests of that company and the general public it somehow becomes a political lobbyist for the semi-State company as every working politician will readily concede. Until such time as you can get all the semi-State companies together, separate those providing direct services which can be seen as services of a social nature — such as CIE — from those clearly in the business of manufacturing products, whether energy or foodstuffs, and look at the deployment of capital, how the capital is used, the return on it, its long-term and short-term benefits in the way any banking consortium would evaluate a proposal for funding from a group of commercial companies, we shall not get the growth-orientated, job-producing public sector that our economy desperately needs.

I referred earlier to the consensus between this party and the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism who is present — I am not sure that it would extend to all the members of his party — in regard to the commitment to full employment and to increasing living standards. I recognise that the Minister is personally committed to that as the former Minister for Economic Planning and Development was very sincerely committed to it. The strategy of the last three years has not produced from the private sector the kind of response that the present Minister and Deputy O'Donoghue hoped for. They gave every possible incentive to the private sector to produce. In the same way as the late [1749] Deputy Lemass learned from his mistakes over 19 years of trying to protect Irish businessmen from foreign competition, in the vain hope that they would produce a wealth base in the country which would obviate the need for emigration. I should like to think that just as he learned from the mistakes of that strategy and set about dismantling the tariffs he had spent many years establishing and critically — and this is what we are looking for——

Mr. O'Malley:  Would the Deputy not agree that Deputy Lemass had no option in the thirties because the whole world was protecting or was “sinn féin” if you like in its outlook then. If he did not protect the Irish market he would have no other market available for manufacturing industry here because everybody was doing the same thing. Our difficulty was that we had such a tiny market.

Mr. Quinn:  I welcome the Minister's intervention and I accept it is a fair point. The option was whether one went for a public involvement, a mixed involvement or an exclusively private involvement. Regrettably because of the ideology of the 1930's — and neither the Deputy nor I were responsible for that — the thrust was exclusively in the private sector with very few State companies. Perhaps the most successful was the sugar company which was established in 1936.

The Labour Party have no illusions about the matter. We cannot wave a magic wand and get rid of the problems that face the country. As the Minister stated, re-echoing again the much-quoted Deputy Lemass — nobody owes the Irish people a living. We live very well relative to the rest of the world. It is up to us to look after ourselves. The Labour Party recognise the contributions made to this State by people before and after independence but we ask if it is wise to have 50 per cent of our GNP controlled by foreign-owned companies. Even though we are directly involved in the technology of the micro-processor and the whole question of the silicon chip, despite the positive efforts of the Minister [1750] to locate and integrate that technology with NIHE, Limerick, the control does not rest within our economy. There is a hope and a belief that there will be a spin-off in this technology and that it will generate secondary and tertiary industries on the basis of the managerial expertise that exists now. I would like to think that will happen — in many cases it will — but I must point out that the same hope and belief was shared when Shannon was established in the late 1950's and early 1960's. The Minister knows better than I that there has not been that kind of spin-off either technologically or industrially in the Shannon region. It has only been in the last two or three years with the commitment to the small industries programme, initially at SFADCo and then with the IDA, that we have had a take-off in terms of employment.

I suspect that the majority of people are agreed on this issue which has not been well articulated either by this side of the House or by the Government. There is a belief in the comfort and solidity of State employment. Why not build on that? Why not extend it? As the Minister said, we have the technology and the expertise. In my opinion we have the marketing capability to sell our products to hundreds of countries. What is preventing the State from getting involved? In his speech the Minister mentioned the level of capital investment by various countries since 1960. He told us that from 1960 to 1976 there has been an investment of £200 million from the UK, £106 million from the FGR, £133 million from Holland, £74 million from Japan, £120 million from Canada and the same amount from the United States. All of this investment has been in a period of 16 years. However, we are talking now of a current account budget of more than £3,000 million. We are talking about capital funds that exist now. Not only do we have the technology but we also have the capital resources to fund ourselves.

Any Finance Minister will have to consider again the investment potential and role of pension funds in the matter of our economic and infrastructural development. It is clear that the private individual operating through the stock market [1751] in classic capitalist terms is a minor, insignificant component in the overall investment area. It is major companies and institutions who are providing investment capital or, alternately, it is people such as the Minister who are investing taxpayers money into private companies without an equity involvement in the belief that somehow private industry will do the job. Why is it that, after 20 years of struggling to get a satisfactory standard of employment, with 100,000 employees in the public sector investing each month part of their salaries in investment funds, that some of those funds cannot be diverted into the ownership of some factories and the provision of infrastructural facilities. whether it be toll roads or harbour facilities?

People in State companies take certain matters into account in making provision for the future — pensions for themselves and their wives, as well as jobs for their children and their grandchildren. We should look at the capital investment potential of State employees who, by the success of the labour movement, have got solid and substantial pensions that are not being used to the full. One of the things a national development corporation could do would be to look at the entire public sector as a whole, at the various corporations and companies that operate in it, at the 100,000 employees concerned, at their pension fund investment capital and consider how to make this marvellous achievement of Irish endeavour work to its full capacity. That achievement was not as a result of executives of the IDA going to Japan or Germany in the same tradition that Dermot MacMurrough went to Pembrokeshire in 1160 — in saying this I do not wish to denigrate the efforts of the IDA — begging people to come along to do something for us. The State sector gives more than ten times the amount of employment generated on the multinational side. We could use that as a base to develop and expand.

I will conclude by using the phraseology used by the Minister when speaking at a meeting of the National Dairy Council when he referred to some of the promises [1752] made by his party in their manifesto in regard to growth and development. One such area is the food processing sector. Since 1977 the record has been abysmal even though there are companies with considerable capability in this area. What is stopping the Irish people from putting together the acreage now owned by us, which was reclaimed from the bogs that countless generations of British administrations said were useless and which are now developed by Bord na Mona? When a land area the size of County Louth becomes free of peat with the technology put together by General Costello in the Sugar Company, in Erin Foods, the skills and abilities of Bord Bainne and the marketing experience of CTT, what is stopping the Irish people from using together, under the umbrella of a national development corporation, the incredible resources of these four or five organisations and producing intensive foodstuffs in prime land the size of County Louth, from packaging and marketing it in a world which daily sees the deaths of millions of people from starvation? Is it the Arabs who are stopping us, the bankers in Zurich, the bankers in New York? What major constraint is preventing us? What better utilisation could there be for the pension fund of 100,000 State employees than to go into that kind of endeavour? What better pension could anyone have than secure employment for children and grand-children?

Is this not the very essence of what the Labour Party are saying in this Motion? Is it not the very logic of the rational application of our own technology, our own resources, our own skills and our own endeavours, free of the control of foreigners? I use that phrase without any sense of denigration because in hard times—and they will come—someone sitting on the board of a company based in New York or Tokyo, owned primarily by New Yorkers or Japanese, will and must have regard to their own and where shall we be left then? What we are doing —and perhaps far too mildly—is simply asking this House to agree on the need for the establishment of a national development corporation. We are not prescribing [1753] the way or manner in which that should be done. We are leaving that open to those people who have immediate— and hopefully temporary—access to the resources of the civil service and the specialists to establish the most appropriate framework. Can this House seriously deny the real need for such a development, and at a time when the BBC and RTE are showing on screens here, in the UK and the Six Counties the history of the struggle of our people for a measure of control over their own destiny? Can anyone in this House seriously oppose a request that a certain section of our economy, which currently employs 100,000 people and which produces light, heat, shipping, aviation, foodstuffs and has the capability, from the existing combined resources and technology, should expand into an opening and ever demanding market? Can anybody seriously oppose the need for such development? If they do, and if it comes from the right wing. Ronald Reagan republicans who sit on the far side of this House. I should like to hear the ideological justification for such opposition. Having heard it. I should like them to match and stitch it into their own historical ideology.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Deputy Horgan concluding.

Mr. Moore:  I get the last ten minutes.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  The Minister gets ten minutes now, if he wants it, but he will get no ten minutes later.

Mr. Moore:  I was keeping the good wine until last.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle:  Deputy Horgan, I presume, is concluding.

Mr. Horgan:  I was sorry that Deputy Moore did not take the opportunity to speak. I should like to have heard what he would have said about the splendid contribution of his fellow representative in Dublin south east.

Mr. Moore:  Tomorrow.

[1754]Mr. Horgan:  First, I want to make clear the stance from which the Labour Party approaches this topic. The Labour Party is a socialist party. It is not a Leninist party. It is not a party which believes that the State must own everything and that nobody else can own anything. It does so because one of the central beliefs of socialism is in a diffusion of political and economic power and the maximum degree of participation by people in the economic and social life of the country in which they live. For this reason, our approach to questions such as industrial policy is basically a balanced one. It is because we see the present situation in Ireland becoming dangerously unbalanced that we have put down this resolution. It has prompted an excellent debate in this House.

The first question which must be asked is, what exactly is the situation in relation to the balance between foreign and domestic-owned industry in Ireland? The sad fact of the matter is that, while we may have some suspicions in broad outline, we simply do not know. I asked the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism a number of parliamentary questions which were answered yesterday, about the percentage of industrial jobs in firms or industries which were foreign owned, about the percentage of Irish industry, excluding agriculture, which was foreign-owned and for the approximate breakdown of IDA investment in relation to firms or enterprises owned by Irish nationals and firms or enterprises owned by non-nationals. The reference is questions 351, 353 and 354 of yesterday's date. The answer was “The information which is maintained on the ownership of industry is not in the form requested in these questions. Because of the difficult problems of definition which arise, it has not been possible, in the time available, to re-process the data into the headings which the Deputy appears to have in mind.”

Now, that was not a total put-down, but it was as near to it as you will meet in a long day's walk. The Minister, apparently, did not see fit to tell the House or me exactly the form in which the data is [1755] kept, so that I could rephrase the question and get the necessary information.

I also asked the Minister whether he had, at any time since assuming office, indicated to the IDA his or the Government's view as to what their policy in relation to foreign or multi-national investment should be and the nature of any such view or instruction in relation to IDA policy. The reference is Question No. 352 of Tuesday 16 December. The Minister replied:

My Department has frequent liaison with the Industrial Development Authority and my views on all aspects of industrial development policy are conveyed to and implemented by them. Moreover, in formulating their industrial plan, the authority take full account of the Government's overall economic targets and policies.

I would point out that the 1978-82 IDA industrial plan has set a very high target to provide 75,000 new grant-aided manufacturing jobs in the period. A central target of this plan is that over 50 per cent of these jobs should come from within Ireland. This reflects my desire that the employment creation potential of Irish industry should be developed to the maximum, while at the same time recognising that, in the medium term at least, overseas-sponsored investment will continue to make a very important contribution to the industrial base.

The Minister enlarged, to some degree, on these rather inadequate replies in his speech here this evening in which he gave his estimate that some 33 per cent of industrial jobs in the country at the moment were jobs in foreign-owned industry. I do not know if it is too unrealistic to project from that figure the hypothesis that roughly one-third of our industry is foreign-owned. If that is correct, this raises very serious questions for our economic stability in the long term. I spoke not very long ago to the former Prime Minister of Finland, a member of the Socialist Party, whose country has a population of four million people, who are not very rich in their own resources [1756] and who have several large, somewhat suspicious and antagonistic neighbours. The percentage of foreign-owned industry in that country is about 3 per cent, one-tenth of what it is here. He expressed concern, which we share, over this high proportion here.

The next question is to ask what is the cost to us of this heavy and increasing reliance on foreign industry? The latest IDA report has some very interesting figures on this on page 7, which deals with the year 1979. It states:

The average fixed asset investment per job in new overseas industry increased in real terms by 20 per cent from £13.167 in 1978 to £15,684 in 1979. This increase is largely due to the capital intensity of several major overseas electronic and mechanical engineering projects negotiated during the year. If these industries are excluded the trend shows a decline in real terms. This continues a trend evidenced in 1978, reflecting a move in new investment towards the more labour-intensive industries.

I would like to parse and analyse that paragraph because it has the air of a paragraph that was written by somebody who had his mind made up in advance when he came to look at the figures and used them in a way which would best justify a certain point of view.

It is obviously true that several major projects were, as the report makes clear, negotiated during the year. It is not so very clear why those industries should be excluded from the calculations in relation to fixed asset investment per job. If we are to exclude the industries which have a high capital ratio, then obviously we will get a situation in which the trend in cost per job will decline. There is no reason I am aware of why we should exclude things in order to make it easier for us to prove our case. The IDA may argue that this is a once-off type of investment and that therefore there is a logical reason for excluding it. I suspect it may well be true that in relation to some of the other industries the initial cost per job is low but the major part of capital investment, especially in very expensive [1757] machinery, may come at a time when the plant has been open for several years. The degree, therefore, to which these industries are labour or capital intensive cannot be estimated adequately until they have been in operation for a number of years and have reached their full running potential.

I find it hard to believe that there is a move in new investment towards the more labour intensive industries, or if there is such a move that this trend in any sense can be long lived. When we turned to the trend in average grant costs per job, the problem of the cost of these jobs in foreign-owned industries is even more marked. The report states:

The average grant cost in real terms per job approved in new overseas industries increased from £4.998 in 1978 to £7.063 in 1979 prices.

That is a 75 per cent increase in one year. The report goes on:

This largely reflects the very stiff international competition encountered in attracting the electronic and mechanical engineering industries. The expected spin-off benefits from these industries should more than offset the extra initial cost.

We have here a mixture of fact and optimism. I hope, like the IDA, that the optimism is justified, but standing here tonight we have not a guarantee that it will be.

I have talked about the costs in cash and money terms of the present IDA policy, supported and promoted by the Government. I would now like to turn to how our present industrial situation has been brought about. The IDA coin has two sides. On the one hand it has succeeded in attracting to the country a considerable measure of foreign investment in the electronic and mechanical engineering fields. Much of this is very modern industry. I predict it will become more capital than labour intensive in the long run, but it is modern. It is viable at least for the immediate future.

The other side of the IDA coin is that the older industries here have been allowed to die. The problems of the old [1758] and dying industries are reflected in the ferocious rate of redundancies and job losses in those traditional industries. It has been a very hard-hearted policy in many ways. The Minister and the Government may justify it on the grounds that there were no alternatives, but there are families and whole communities on this island who still wish that the transition from a small and perhaps inefficient but largely nationally-owned industrial base to a larger, more efficient, more profitable, more modern foreign-owned industrial base could be less traumatic for them and for their families.

In all this, the IDA have been assisted by the tax situation under which the rate of corporate taxation has effectively been reduced almost to nothing. It has also been assisted by the fact that this country is in a very real sense the only underdeveloped region of the EEC which has its own national Government. There are many other underdeveloped regions of the EEC looking for grants of one kind or another, infrastructural support and this, that and the other. Wales, Scotland, Southern Italy and we presume large parts of Greece, Portugal and Spain will be looking for them. In relation to countries that form part of the EEC at present, when underdeveloped areas look for money from the EEC they must compete with their own Governments. When the British Government look for money from the EEC for its own purposes and its social fund, in a certain sense what Wales and Scotland are looking for represents a threat to what London is looking for. There are many areas in which the claims of peripheral regions of other EEC countries cannot and will not, for political reasons, be pressed at Brussels with much assiduity. The situation in Ireland is different. We are, in the entirety of our State, an underdeveloped region so that when the Government go to bargain it is not with an eye cocked over their shoulder to see what, as in the British case, the Welsh and Scots are doing.

Listening to the Minister's speech, I was intrigued by what he said and what he did not say. I was especially intrigued by the reference—it was so fleeting that I barely caught it—to new and larger [1759] State industries which he said would be a feature of the scene of the eighties. We in the Labour Party are delighted to hear that. It is somewhat at odds with his categoric refusal, in the same speech, to countenance any further major State involvement in industry. Further on in his speech the Minister itemised five reasons why we had a good chance for the future —political stability, consistency of policy, modern plant and equipment; a skilful work force and good managers. He omitted or ignored one of the main reasons why IDA policy has been so successful and that is the fact that the majority of us speak the English language. When we realise the huge bulk of investment that has come from the United States we must also realise that a US investment manager faced with the prospect of locating a plant in this country or in another European country in order to gain access to European markets will most likely come to the conclusion, all other things being equal, that he would prefer to locate in a country where he does not have to set up language courses as well as factories and where managers will be able to communicate directly with the work force without intermediaries.

The problem about foreign investment is that it is mobile capital. If it can be moved in, it can be moved out again: and, if world conditions, recessions or trends in the parent countries of these investments cause it to move out, it will move out and leave not a rock behind. We are being short-sighted if we regard the present policy as an adequate basis for industrial development. I was intrigued by the Minister's reference to the fact that in the 1978-82 industrial development plan 50 per cent of the new jobs should come from within Ireland. He half tried to imply by the fact that only 33 per cent of the jobs at present in industry in Ireland are in foreign-owned firms that the situation is well under control. The former Minister of State. Deputy Burke, told me not long ago that since 1977 six jobs out of every ten new ones provided have been in foreign-owned industry. Let us not be fooled by the figure of 33 per cent. The proportion [1760] is not only high but it is rising despite the targets of the 1978-82 plan.

I would also enter a caveat in relation to the Minister's praise of the electronics industry. One of the main features of the new electronics industry is low pay and female employment. One of the reasons it is able to get away with low pay is that it is able to maintain that the work it is providing has not been previously done by men and, therefore, it can pay women the going rate. The going rate is very low. No wonder Ireland is a profitable place for foreign industrial development.

I was astonished to hear the Minister's effrontery in claiming that we have the educational infrastructure for industrial development within days of a report put out by a committee, of which his colleague — the now Minister for Finance — is chairman, pointing out that the situation was precisely the opposite and that we have huge shortfalls in the kind of skills that schools, third level colleges and universities should provide and which could produce young people to take up the industrial and mechanical jobs which will be available in the future. It is not so long since I overheard a very senior personage in the IDA laughingly remark to a senior personage in the Higher Education Authority that perhaps the IDA should allocate some of its funds to the HEA to let the HEA do things they knew have to be done but for which they could not get money from the Department of Education. The Department have been one of the biggest log-jammers in the drive towards industrial development that the country has ever experienced.

We need a national development corporation, and views about what it should do will differ. Deputy Quinn spoke about the possibility of all semi-State bodies being grouped under it. There is another alternative which deserves thought. It should act as a goad to every Government Department. They are all hide-bound by the Victorian tradition of making sure that money is not spent for anything that it was not voted for and saving money wherever possible. If every Department is to be a development corporation in its own right as Seán Lemass used to say he [1761] wanted the situation to be, they will have to be goaded to the point where they are all busy thinking of ways to spend money whether or not they have it to spend. There are times when money comes on stream for projects and if the projects are not there the money goes away.

The modern approach to industrial development and social planning is evident in the EEC and is one based on projects. Projects are on the shelf to create jobs and industries. If the money is [1762] there they are taken down from the shelf and put into operation. At present I doubt if many Departments have a shelf and the role of the National Development Corporation would be central in promoting public enterprise through the public Departments of the State. That is one of the main things they are set up to do and should do but unfortunately it is something they do not do.

Amendment put.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 60; Nil, 37.

Ahern, Bertie.
Ahern, Kit.
Allen, Lorcan.
Andrews, David.
Andrews, Niall.
Aylward, Liam.
Brady, Gerard.
Brady, Vincent.
Briscoe, Ben.
Browne, Seán.
Burke, Raphael P.
Callanan, John.
Calleary, Seán.
Cogan, Barry.
Colley, George.
Conaghan, Hugh.
Connolly, Gerard.
Coughlan, Clement.
Cowen, Bernard.
Daly, Brendan.
Doherty, Seán.
Fahey, Jackie.
Farrell, Joe.
Fitzgerald, Gene.
Fitzsimons, James N.
Fox, Christopher J.
French, Seán.
Gallagher, Dennis.
Gallagher, James.
Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
Haughey, Charles J.
Herbert, Michael.
Hussey, Thomas.
Keegan, Seán.
Kenneally, William.
Killeen, Tim.
Killilea, Mark.
Lawlor, Liam.
Lemass, Eileen.
Lenihan, Brian.
Leonard, Jimmy.
Leonard, Tom.
Leyden, Terry.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
Meaney, Tom.
Molloy, Robert.
Moore, Séan.
Murphy, Ciarán P.
Nolan, Tom.
Noonan, Michael.
O'Connor, Timothy C.
O'Donoghue, Martin.
O'Leary, John.
O'Malley, Desmond.
Reynolds, Albert.
Tunney, Jim.
Walsh, Joe.
Walsh, Seán.
Wilson, John P.
Woods, Michael J.
Woods, Michael J.

Níl

Barry, Myra.
Barry, Peter.
Begley, Michael.
Belton, Luke.
Boland, John.
Bruton, John.
Burke, Joan.
Burke, Liam.
Byrne, Hugh.
Corish, Brendan. [1763]Harte, Patrick D.!O'Keeffe, Jim.
Hegarty, Paddy.
Horgan, John.
Keating, Michael.
Kenny, Enda.
L'Estrange, Gerry.
McMahon, Larry.
Mitchell, Jim.
O'Brien, William.
Cosgrave, Liam.
Cosgrave, Michael J.
Creed, Donal.
Crotty, Kieran.
Deasy, Martin A.
Donnellan, John F.
Fitzpatrick, Tom (Cavan-Monaghan).
Gilhawley, Eugene.
Griffin, Brendan.
O'Keeffe, Jim.
O'Toole, Paddy.
Pattison, Séamus.
Ryan, John J.
Spring, Dan.
Taylor, Frank.
Timmins, Godfrey.
Tully, James.
White, James.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Moore and Briscoe; Níl, Deputies L'Estrange and Horgan.

Amendment declared carried.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Seanad Éireann has passed the Industrial Alcohol (Amendment) Bill, 1980, without amendment.

Seanad É has passed the Restrictive Practices (Confirmation of Order) (No. 2) Bill, 1980, without amendment.

Seanad É has passed the Irish Shipping Limited (Amendment) Bill, 1980, without amendment.

An Ceann Comhairle:  I have given permission to Deputy Begley to raise the subject matter of Question No. 9 on today's Order Paper. The Deputy has ten minutes and the Minister five minutes.

Mr. Begley:  I wish to thank the Chair for allowing me to raise this matter. If I was unruly earlier today I wish to take this opportunity of pleading mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. The reason was the depth of feeling provoked by seeing a united parish in danger of being deprived of a little community centre which has become available.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Is the Deputy apologising?

Mr. Begley:  Yes.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Well, I accept the apology. The incident is now closed. I hope that we will not have any similar behaviour in the future.

[1764]Mr. Begley:  It is nearly Christmas, a Ceann Comhairle.

I was surprised at the Minister remarking, during the criss-cross earlier today, that there was a meeting a fortnight ago and that I was not there. The Minister should know, and if he makes inquiries of any of the garages in Castlemaine he can confirm, that the roads on the Dingle Peninsula were treacherous that night. Perhaps a number of the Minister's friends had their cars repaired in those garages as a result of the condition of the roads that night.

The Minister should also know that my interest did not start there. On 14 December 1979 the Minister wrote to me saying that following representations he had received from Tom Randles of Kilgarvan he was looking into the position to see if the old school in Kilgarvan could be provided as a community centre.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Deputy should not name anybody.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick:  (Cavan-Monaghan): This fellow would not mind being named.

An Ceann Comhairle:  The Chair minds him being named.

Mr. Begley:  The Minister wrote to me again on 30 January 1980 indicating that there were some difficulties about the title and that he was not in a position to make a decision. Therefore the Minister was unfair today when he said that all this started with a meeting at Kilgarvan a fortnight ago.

I appeal to the Minister not to divide the parish. The GAA, the IFA, Macra [1765] na Feirme, the Youth Branch, and the Anglers' Association are all united with the parish priest in their efforts to have a community centre in the parish and they see the old school as an ideal location. It was always the practice of the Board of Works to sell off old schools, particularly in Kerry, to St. Brendan's Trust. The Minister knows well that St. Brendan's Trust still have an interest in the lease of that school. When the parish priest and all the organisations have come together in a united front the Minister should take the opportunity, coming up to Christmas, of giving them a Christmas present and acceding to their request. I would like to hear the Minister say quite positively that he will give the old school to the local community and put an end to the speculation there. It is known that certain individuals, who are very amenable to the Minister's party, have approached him and it is rumoured down there that those people are about to get the school.

The Minister has a golden opportunity now to give this small parish a community centre, a community centre that all the organisations that I have referred to will be only too glad to develop and which will do something positive for the parish of Kilgarvan. In this week before Christmas he should tell them that they can have the school for nothing and let them make their own arrangements with St. Brendan's Trust. I am quite sure the Minister's esteem will rise in South Kerry. When one Kerryman says that to another a person can be suspicious of it. The Minister has an opportunity to do something positive for the parish and he should put an end to the speculation and divisiveness.

Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Mr. McEllistrim):  The fee simple interest in Kilgarvan former national school is held by the Minister for Education. The premises were used as a national school until 31 August 1979. The Commissioners of Public Works were informed by the Department of Education in November 1979 that the premises [1766] were no longer required for school purposes. In accordance with normal practice the Commissioners then circulated all Government Departments to ascertain if the premises would be required for State purposes. The Department of Defence initially expressed an interest in the premises but subsequently indicated in August 1980 that, following investigations, they did not wish to proceed with the acquisition of the property.

In the meantime the Commissioners have notified the sport and youth section of the Department of Education that this property could be made available for the purposes of An Cospóir. The Kerry Diocesan Youth Council and the County Kerry Vocational Education Committee were approached regarding the possibility of the premises being made available to them, possibly for use by the local community. Earlier this month the Commissioners were informed by the Department of Education that the premises were not required by either of those organisations and that the way was now clear for me to decide on the best means of disposing of the property. Accordingly the commissioners were not in a position to dispose of the State interest in the property to any group before this time.

A number of local groups including Macra na Feirme, Kilgarvan GAA club, the IFA, the local Fine Gael Branch and others——

(Interruptions.)

Mr. McEllistrim:  ——have made representations to have the property made available to them. A number of representations have been made on behalf of local people interested in purchasing the property and inquiring if the premises will be put up for sale by public auction or by tender.

It is with interest that I have listened to the Deputy pontificating on the sale of the school. Unlike Deputy Begley during his term of office in the Office of Public Works, I have, in the short time since it became apparent that the property was surplus to State requirements, examined all applications for the use of the property, [1767] including those of his own party and its members.

Mr. Begley:  Specify them.

Mr. McEllistrim:  I am confident that following due consideration of those applications I will make a balanced judgment. Deputy Begley will, I am sure, remember and will not deny his record in this context while in the Office of Public Works. During his tenure there he was personally responsible for the sale by public treaty of five schools.

Mr. Begley:  When the community did not look for them.

Mr. McEllistrim:  This occured during his last month of office and two of them [1768] were in his own constituency. There appeared to be little regard for community interests at that time. I understand that recently the Deputy had no time to attend a meeting in Kilgarvan and they did not believe him about the frost. When I make a decision I will do so on the basis of facts and merits and not in the interest of political expediency, as the Deputy did before he left office.

An Ceann Comhairle:  Seanad Éireann has passed the Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 1980 without amendment.

The Dáil adjourned at 9 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, 18 December 1980.

36.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence the steps which have been taken to rehouse the families whose accommodation was destroyed by fire in the Curragh Camp; and if he is satisfied with the standard of Army accommodation having regard to the fire hazards which this old accommodation may present.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett):  The occupants of the married quarters at Clarke Barracks which were recently damaged by fire were provided with alternative accommodation, mainly in other married quarters, while repairs were being carried out.

Four of the quarters have been repaired and have been reoccupied by the married soldiers who lived in them before the fire took place. Three other quarters have been repaired and the former occupants have been offered a transfer back to them from the quarters which they now occupy. The remaining four soldiers will receive a similar offer when repairs to the quarters which they formerly occupied have been completed.

I am satisfied that the occupied married quarters at Clarke Barracks are safe for occupation.

37.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence if any representations have been made to him by Donegal fishermen regarding the lack of fishery protection vessels to protect fishery stocks; if his attention has been drawn to reports (details supplied) on this matter; the action he proposes to take in view of the fact that the vessel normally assigned to the Donegal area is out of service and undergoing a major overhaul; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett):  [1516] Representations were made to me in November 1980 by a representative of the Killybegs Fishermen's Association and I am aware of the related press report. The area in question has been constantly patrolled both by Naval Service vessels and Air Corps aircraft throughout the current period of fishing activity. In November a total of ten foreign fishing vessels were boarded and searched but the reports of illegal fishing could not be substantiated.

Naval Service patrol vessels are not assigned to any particular fishery area. Three different patrol vessels of the Naval Service were in the Donegal area in recent weeks.

41.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence if he has examined the position regarding the selection of Naval Service cadets in the light of his reply to Parliamentary Question No. 7 of 19 June 1980; and if he will indicate why so many candidates were regarded as unsuitable.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett):  The method of selection of cadets for the Naval Service is laid down in Defence Force Regulations. Cadetships are awarded only to candidates who are deemed to possess the necessary qualifications which would enable them to complete satisfactorily the rigorous course of training and to become efficient officers of the service.

In the case of the competition for cadetships in the executive branch of the service held in 1979, a total of 220 candidates were admitted to the competition and called to a preliminary interview before a board of naval officers. The number called to the final interview was 77 and, of these, 24 failed to report for the interview, five failed the medical examination, one withdrew before the interview and 47 were actually interviewed. Of the 20 found suitable by the board, two were found ineligible on educational grounds and 12 accepted offers of appointment.

In the competition for cadetships in the engineering branch of the service, the [1517] number of applicants was 68, 19 of whom were ineligible on educational or other grounds. Of the 49 called for interview before a board of naval officers, eight failed to report for interview and three failed the medical examination. Of the 38 candidates interviewed, eight were found suitable by the board and five of these accepted offers of appointment.

Candidates appearing before final interview boards are assessed under the following headings:—

Personality, general knowledge, games and sport, intelligence and general suitability. In order to qualify, a candidate must receive not less than 53 per cent of the total marks which may be alloted by the board to any one candidate.

42.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence the length of time the minesweeper L.E. Banba and the training vessel L.E. Setanta have been out of service or in port; if either vessel will return to service; if L.E. Setanta is still being used for accommodation purposes; and if he considers that such makeshift accommodation has had a bad effect on Naval Service morale, in view of the fact indicated [1518] in the figures given in reply to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 8 and 9 of 4 November 1980, that naval strength is falling.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett):  L.E. Banba and L.E. Setanta have not been operational for two-and-a-half years and one-and-a-half years respectively. The future of the vessels is at present being considered. L.E. Setanta is no longer being used for accommodation purposes.

44.

Mr. Lipper:  asked the Minister for Defence if he will give details of: (a) the establishment, number and type of professional type officer at present in the Defence Forces; (b) the number in training; (c) the amount of extra allowances paid to each type of officer; and (d) if he has any plans to improve the present position.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett):  As the reply is largely in the form of a tabular statement, I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to circulate it with the Official Report.

Following is the statement:

Officers with Professional Qualifications

Type of Officer Establishment Strength Number in training
Medical 71 35
Dental 14 7
Engineer (all Corps) 145 121 22*
Marine Engineer 29 13 4 officers 7 cadets
7 cadets
Executive Branch Officer 83 58 7 officers 26 cadets
(Naval Service) 26 cadets
Flying Officer (Air Corps) 118 63 4
Legal 10 10
Pharmaceutical Chemist 5 4
Music 7 7
Psychologist 1 1
Analyst 1 1
Accountant 1 1

* There is a total of 19 officers undergoing engineering and science degree courses in UCG (ten engineering and nine science). In addition three officers are undergoing an engineering degree course in Kevin Street College of Technology.

[1519] Annual rates of additional pay payable to officers with professional qualifications
(i) Medical and Dental Officers of the rank of— £
Lieutenant 1,218
Captain
Minimum 1,218
After 1 year in rank 1,293
After 2 years in rank 1,368
After 3 years in rank 1,441
After 4 years in rank 1,513
After 5 years in rank 1,588
After 6 years in rank 1,662
Commandant
Minimum 1,662
After 1 year in rank 1,862
After 2 years in rank 2,066
After 3 years in rank 2,265
After 4 years in rank 2,466
After 5 years in rank 2,671
After 6 years in rank 2,874
Lieutenant-Colonel 2,874
Colonel 3,234
Medical officers with specialist qualifications receive the following additional payments—
Assistant Surgeon 422
Other specialists 827
(ii) Engineer Officers of the Corps of Engineers, the Ordnance Corps, the Air Corps, the Signal Corps, the Observer Corps and the Naval Service, other than Marine Engineer Officers and Legal Officers and Psychologists of the rank of—
£
Lieutenant 816
Captain
Minimum 816
After 1 year in rank 863
After 2 years in rank 915
After 3 years in rank 964
After 4 years in rank 1,011
After 5 years in rank 1,066
After 6 years in rank 1,111
Commandant
Minimum 1,111
After 1 year in rank 1,291
After 2 years in rank 1,464
After 3 years in rank 1,648
After 4 years in rank 1,825
After 5 years in rank 2,004
After 6 years in rank 2,184
Lieutenant-Colonel and 2,184
Colonel
[1520](iii) Executive Branch Officers and Marine Engineer Officers of the Naval Service of the rank of—
Ensign and Sub-Lieutenant 1,057
Lieutenant 1,259
Lieutenant-Commander 1,512
Commander and Captain 1,764
(iv) Pharmaceutical Chemists 339
(v) Military Analyst 1,040
Accountant, Army Canteen Board
(vi) Director, Assistant Director, Instructional Officer and Band Conductors, Army School of Music 602
(vii) Annual rates of flying pay payable to officer of the Air Corps—
Undergoing instruction in flying duties 224
On qualification as a pilot 474
After 2 years' service as a qualified pilot 663
After 4 years' service as a qualified pilot 863
After 6 years' service as a qualified pilot 1,259
On promotion to Commandant 1,259
On promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel 1,035
On promotion to Colonel 942

The position in relation to the numerical strength and conditions of service of officers of the Defence Forces is kept under constant review by my Department and any necessary improvements in those areas are undertaken as circumstances require.

45.

Mr. Lipper:  asked the Minister for Defence the cost of the present Defence Force recruiting campaign; the strength of the force each month from March to September this year; the number recruited; and if he will give the number who left in that period, in the form of a reply to part (a) of Parliamentary Question No. 365 of 21 October 1980.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett):  As the reply is in the form of a tabular statement, I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle to circulate it with the Official Report.

The information requested is as follows:—

The cost of the recruiting campaign during 1980 was £340,000.

[1521] Strengths — Permanent Defence Force

Army Air Corps Naval Service
Officers Other Ranks incl. Cadets Officers Other Ranks incl. Cadets Officers Other Ranks incl. Cadets
31 March 1980 1293 10,663 88 562 72 705
30 April 1980 1289 10,658 88 563 73 705
31 May 1980 1308 10,543 95 591 73 706
30 June 1980 1302 10,571 95 580 74 714
31 July 1980 1298 10,605 97 575 78 736
31 August 1980 1297 10,694 96 567 78 753
30 September 1980 1287 10,721 97 616 81 772

Numbers recruited from 1 March 1980 to 30 September 1980. Officers 38; Other Ranks (including cadets) 1,425.

Numbers who left the Permanent Defence Force for various reasons — discharge, died, transferred to the Reserve, and so on from 1 March 1980 to 30 September 1980. Officers 44. Other Ranks (including Cadets) 1,274.

46.

Mr. Lipper:  asked the Minister for Defence in view of his reply to Parliamentary Question No. 367 of 21 October 1980, if he will have the vessels referred to fully surveyed to ascertain their remaining life-span; if the repairs referred to will be carried out; if so, when; and if it is proposed that one of the mine-sweepers which has been out of service for nearly a year will be scrapped early next year and that the other two will be scrapped before the new vessels enter service in 1983.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett):  As stated in my reply to Question No. 367 of 21 October 1980, the hulls of the three Naval Service minesweepers were recently surveyed and it was recommended that certain remedial work should be carried out to the hulls of two of the vessels during their next scheduled refits. Work has commenced on one of the vessels and work on the other will be carried out when refit of that vessel is due. The machinery and spares situation in relation to these vessels will be surveyed and monitored during the refits. The [1522] future of the third minesweeper is under consideration in the light of the hull survey report. No decision has been taken to scrap any of these vessels. It is proposed to carry out a survey of L.E. Setanta.

47.

Mr. E. Collins:  asked the Minister for Defence if he will allow part of the Military Barracks, Waterford, to be used by the Waterford sea scouts; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett):  The matter is being examined in my Department and the outcome will be communicated to the Deputy.

48.

Mr. Begley:  asked the Minister for Defence if the Naval Service recently fired on an Irish trawler, thereby damaging it; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett):  As a decision on the question of instituting legal proceedings in this case has not been reached, I am not in a position to comment on the matter.

49.

Mr. M. O'Leary:  asked the Minister for Education if he has received representations from primary school boards of management expressing their dissatisfaction with the amounts of the capitation grants payable at present; and the action being taken in the matter.

[1523]Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  I would refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 31 on 5 November 1980 in the same matter. Representations received on behalf of the primary school boards of management will receive due consideration in connection with the question of the determination of the amount of the grant to be approved for the current school year 1980-1981. Payment of such grant will not fall to be made before January 1981.

50.

Mr. O'Leary:  asked the Minister for Education whether he is aware that many school boards have not been in a position to paint schools since the introduction of the boards due to insufficient funds; and the action he proposes to take to rectify this situation.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  The capitation grant paid to schools is intended to meet the general maintenance and operating costs, including periodic painting. It is a matter for each board of management to decide its priorities in the matter of expenditure of the grant.

The amount of the grant available, including the local contribution, has risen from £7.50 per pupil in 1974-5, when the new boards of management were established, to £14.75 per pupil in the 1979-80 school-year. The amount of the grant for the 1980-81 school-year will be determined in the context of the approved Estimates for 1981.

53.

Mr. Kenny:  asked the Minister for Education the reason additional classroom accommodation has not yet been provided at the Christian Brothers national school, Westport, County Mayo, in view of the commitment already given regarding this and of the very serious overcrowding which now exists there; and if he will have the necessary accommodation approved and provided forthwith.

[1524]Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  A preliminary sketch-scheme for the extension of the Christian Brothers national school in Westport was submitted to my Department by the Commissioners of Public Works in August 1973, and was discussed with the school authorities. It was decided in 1974 that a further classroom should be provided and the commissioners confirmed in September of that year that the preparation of a revised sketch-scheme was not necessary.

Confirmation that full planning might proceed on the basis of the agreed revised schedule of accommodation was not received from the school authorities and in June 1979, they submitted revised proposals to my Department.

Because of the long lapse of time since the original scheme of extension was agreed, it was necessary to reconsider the accommodation requirements of the school in the context of the total requirements of the area. A report from the Commissioners of Public Works on the feasibility of implementing the revised proposals is awaited.

Because of the need for additional accommodation pending the provision of permanent accommodation, my Department will agree to the provision of prefabricated accommodation.

54. D'fhiafraigh

Mr. Kelly:  den Aire Oideachais an mbeadh sé toilteanach post breise mar mhúinteoir ceoil a chruthú do Scoil Chuimsitheach an Fháil Charraigh, Contae Dhún na nGall, ainneoin go bhfuil an cuóta múinteoirí cheana féin ag an scoil; de bharr an líon mór daltaí (658) atá gan teagasc ceoil dá éagmais agus de bharr freisin an ceantar an-mhór a bheith gan scoil chuimsitheach eile seachas an scoil sin.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  Isé an cúram atá ar mo Roinn i gcúrsaí fóirne pobalscoile ná líon áirithe múinteoirí a cheadú i leith na scoile ar bhonn ionrollú na mac léinn. Is iad na hudaráis bhainistíochta atá freagrach as ceapachán na múinteoirí agus as a ndáiliú i bhfeidhil ábhar áirithe de réir riachtanaisí na scoileanna.

[1525] Maidir le Pobalscoil Chloich Cheann-fhaola, An Fhálcarrach, tá foireann iomlán ceadaithe agus fostaithe sa scoil cheana féin. Ní fhéadfaí múinteoir breise ar líon na múinteoirí sin a cheadú.

57.

Mr. B. Desmond:  asked the Minister for Education if any higher education grants, or other financial assistance, by way of maintenance or payment of fees is available to persons who undertake the full-time course in the principles of teaching art; if he is aware that a number of persons anxious to undertake this course on a full-time basis suffer considerable hardship because they are obliged to give up full-time or part-time employment to undertake this course; and if he will review the situation and make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  Students who have held scholarships from the vocational education committee or higher education grants to complete approved courses in art may, subject to the terms of the relevant regulations, have their awards continued in respect of attendance at the full-time one-year course in the principles of teaching art.

58.

Mr. E. Collins:  asked the Minister for Education if he will make a statement on the up-to-date position in respect of the provision of primary education in the Drimoleague area of County Cork.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  The arrangements in the current school year 1980-81 for the attendance of pupils from the relevant areas in the parish of Drimoleague at primary schools are on the same lines as in 1979-80. They are as follows:

(1) Pupils in classes from Infants to 4th Standard inclusive:

Special school transport to the following national schools:

Drinagh (Boys)

Drinagh (Girls)

[1526] Derryclough

Derrinacahara

Togher

(2) Pupils in standards 5th and 6th. Drimoleague N.S.

Efforts to bring about an end to the school dispute by way of discussions between the management and the Irish National Teachers' Organisation, in some of which discussions the Department of Education participated, have not so far been successful.

59.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Education the up-to-date position regarding the proposed renovation and extension of Glenbeg national school, Dungarvan, County Waterford.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  The Commissioners of Public Works were requested by my Department to inspect Glenbeg national school and to submit a report. I understand that the report will be submitted very soon.

62.

Mr. E. Collins:  asked the Minister for Education if he will state in respect of each sector of education the estimated student population in respect of 1981-1982, 1985-1986 and 1989-1990; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  The projected student population in each sector in 1981-1982, 1985-1986 and 1990-1991 is given in the form of a tabular statement which, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, will be circulated with the Official Report. It is not considered that the figure for 1989-1990 would vary significantly from that for 1990-1991.

Following is the statement:

Projected Total Pupils by Level (thousands) 1981/82-1990/91

School Year First Level Second Level Third Level Total Total
1981/1982 569.1 312.1 39.8 921.0
1985/1986 577.9 331.8 45.6 955.3
1990/1991 602.5 336.1 51.0 989.6

[1527]63.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for Education if he is aware of the large reduction in the recurrent grant allocation to UCG and that this curtailment in expenditure will result in a second-rate standard of education for the students; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  The final figure of the amount of the recurrent grant to UCG will not be known until a further Supplementary Estimate, which is being brought before Dáil Éireann is approved. The total amount approved to date represents a percentage increase of 24.2 over 1979.

64.

Mr. Cogan:  asked the Minister for Education if he will state with regard to the new Community School at Carrigaline, County Cork, when it is proposed (a) to appoint the board of management, (b) to appoint a principal and (c) to open the school for the intake of pupils.

[1528]Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  It is anticipated that the new post-primary school in Carrigaline will operate from the beginning of the 1981-1982 school year. The setting up of the board of management, the appointment of the principal and the enrolment of the pupils will, it is hoped, take place early in 1981.

65.

Mr. Cogan:  asked the Minister for Education if he will state his Department's plans for the future needs for primary and post-primary education in the following areas in County Cork: Ballincollig, Ballinhassig, Ballygarvan, Carrigaline, Crosshaven, Douglas, Mahon Peninsula, Monkstown, Passage West and Rochestown.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the form of a tabular statement which, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, will be circulated with the Official Report.

Following is the statement:

Area Project Position
Primary Schools
Ballincollig New School 16 classrooms and General Pur- poses room Awaiting a report on the suitability of the site.
Ballinora (Ballincollig) Extension 2 classrooms Sketch-plan prepared. Awaiting title to site extension.
Ballinhassig (Goggin's Hill) New School 5 classrooms and General Pur- poses room Grant sanctioned. The Office of Public Works has been authorised to allow this project to proceed to the invitation of tenders.
Ballyheda (Ballinhassig) New School 4 classrooms and General Pur- poses room Site approved. Sketch plan to be prepared.
Douglas (Grange/Frankfield) New School 16 classrooms and General Pur- poses room Sketch-plan prepared and approved by the Department.
Carrigaline (3) (Protestant) New School 3 classrooms and General Pur- poses room Awaiting a report on the suitability of the site
Carrigaline Boys' N. S. New School 16 classrooms and General Purposes room Grant sanctioned. Bill of Quantities to be completed.
Mahon Peninsula (Blackrock) New School 16 classrooms and General Purposes room Revised Sketch-plan prepared and being examined by Office of Public Works.
Crosshaven Convent N. S. Extension 4 classrooms Sketch-plan prepared. Awaiting title to site extension.
[1529]Monkstown New School 10 classrooms and General Pur- poses room Sketch-plan to be revised. Plan provided for a three storey school which is considered to be unsuitable.
Rochestown (Special School) New School 8 classrooms and General Purposes room Site approved. Awaiting sketchplan.
Passage West The education requirements of the area are under consideration
Post-Primary
Ballincollig A Community School with accommodation for 800 pupils (co-educational) was opened in 1976. It is considered sufficient for the foreseeable future.
Ballinhassig (Goggins Hill Primary School) This area is served by Ballincollig Community School.
Carrigaline A new school with accommodation for 800 pupils (co-educational) Due to open in September, 1981.
Ballygarvan This area will be served by the Carrigaline school.
Crosshaven This area is served by Coláiste Mhuire co-educational secondary school. Part of the area catered for by this school at present will be served by the new school in Carrigaline.
Douglas Mahon Peninsula A new school for boys in Mahon Peninsula with accomodation for 400 pupils Due to open in 1981.
An extension to Ursuline Convent girls' secondary school has been approved There are four other schools in the area viz. Douglas Community school (boys). Regina Mundi (girls), Sacred Heart, South Douglas (girls) and Ashton Comprehensive.
Monkstown Passage West Rochestown The educational requirements of these areas are under consideration at present.

66.

Mr. O'Donnell:  asked the Minister for Education the present position regarding the building of a new primary school at Nicker, Pallasgreen, County Limerick; and when work is likely to commence.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  The chairman of the board of management of Nicker national school has requested that a new school be built, and the question is under consideration. A decision will be reached as quickly as possible.

[1530]67.

Mr. O'Donnell:  asked the Minister for Education if it is proposed to provide a new post-primary school in the Castletroy-Monaleen area of County Limerick; and, if so, when work is likely to commence.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  It is my intention to provide a second-level school in the Castletroy-Monaleen area of County Limerick when it is required, but it is not possible at this stage to indicate when that situation will arise.

[1531]68.

Mr. Begley:  asked the Minister for Education the reason for the delay in proceeding with the extension to Faha school, County Kerry.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  Sketch plans have been prepared for the proposed extension to Faha national school, County Kerry. A grant towards the cost of the extension will be sanctioned when satisfactory evidence of title to the site, as extended, is furnished and agreement is reached on the amount of the local contribution to be provided by the school authorities.

It is not possible to say at this stage when building work may commence.

70.

Mr. Griffin:  asked the Minister for Education if he will outline the reasons his Department have not yet recognised the degrees of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary who is at present on the staff of County Kilkenny VEC.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  The minimum requirement for appointment to the teaching post in question is a diploma of a recognised college or institute of physical education or equivalent qualification.

As the qualification held by the person in respect of whom details were supplied was not regarded as being equivalent to the minimum requirement, his appointment in a permanent capacity could not be sanctioned.

71.

Mr. Horgan:  asked the Minister for Education if he has altered the practice whereby mature student entrants to St. Patrick's Drumcondra, Dublin, automatically qualified for higher education grants; the reasons for any such changes; and if he will restore the status quo.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  Grants are available to mature students in the colleges of education subject to the [1532] same academic requirements and means test as are applicable in the case of the higher education grants scheme. There has been no change in the conditions for eligibility in the case of students admitted in 1980 as compared to those admitted in the immediately preceding years.

74.

Mr. E. Collins:  asked the Minister for Education if the post of vice-principal in the College of Marketing and Design, Dublin, has been readvertised by the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee in view of the unsatisfactory nature of the previous recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  I understand that the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee have not readvertised this post. The question of the further appropriate action to be taken in this regard will need to be considered in the context of revised structures for the colleges as recommended by the Conciliation Council for Teachers.

75.

Mr. Tully:  asked the Minister for Education if his Department have authorised local authorities generally to implement the provisions of the national understanding, 1980, so that they may make arrangements for the payment of the weekly pay increase and arrears before Christmas, 1980; and the provisions and date of the appropriate letter of authorisation addressed to local authorities generally.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  My Department's responsibility in this regard is in respect of staff employed by vocational education committees. Sanction for the payment of the first phase of the 1980 National Agreement on Pay Policy to personnel employed as caretakers, cleaners, maintenance staff, and so on, issued to all vocational education committees on 26 November 1980 and for clerical and administrative staff on 2 December 1980.

[1533] Under an agreed arrangement, a formal claim for payment of the first phase of the 1980 National Agreement on Pay Policy will not be presented to my Department by the CEO's Association until a special pay claim on their behalf, which is at present at arbitration, is finalised. When this takes place, and a formal claim for payment of the first phase of the national agreement is submitted to my Department, arrangements will be made for funds to be made available to the VECs for payment of the appropriate increases in salary.

In the case of teachers in the VEC sector circular Letter No. 71-80 which issued on 2 December 80 authorised, inter alia, payment of increases arising out of the national understanding in the common basic scale, exclusive of the long-phased increments and of increases in allowances, and in salary scales other than common basic scale.

76.

Mr. Enright:  asked the Minister for Education if he is aware of the very urgent need to provide an extension to St. Columba's Christian Brothers' School, Tullamore, County Offaly, which was originally built to accommodate 140 pupils and which now accommodates approximately 350 pupils; if an architect from his Department visited the school some time ago; if so, if he has reported on the visit; if it is now proposed to proceed to tender; and when work will commence on the extension to this school.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  I have approved the provision of an extension to the Christian Brothers' School, Tullamore, to enable it to cater for 400 pupils.

Officials of my Department's building unit visited the school on 22 October 1980 with a view to assessing the additional accommodation needed. Their findings will be conveyed shortly to the school authorities for their observations. Arrangements will subsequently be made to proceed with the preliminary architectural planning of the project.

[1534] It is not possible to say at this early stage of planning when the project may proceed to tender or when work may commence.

78.

Mr. B. Desmond:  asked the Minister for Education if he is aware that a new site for a primary school is now available at Spittal, Ballylanders, County Limerick; and if he will ask the Office of Public Works to expedite progress on the application for the school.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  Particulars of the site in question have recently been received in my Department and the Commissioners of Public Works are being requested to have it inspected and a report furnished as to its suitability as soon as possible.

79.

Mr. Horgan:  asked the Minister for Education if he will request the Higher Education Authority to investigate and make recommendations on the increase in the NUI matriculation fee from £22 to £40.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  The Senate of the National University of Ireland decided in July 1980 to increase the matriculation examination fee from £22 in 1980 to £40 in 1981 and from £22 to £30 for matriculation registration otherwise. I am advised by the Higher Education Authority that these increases are to meet increased costs and the Authority is satisfied that they are warranted.

80.

Mr. Bruton:  asked the Minister for Education if he is aware that because of a lack of accommodation in their local school at Blackcastle, Navan, County Meath, a family of children have to travel a long distance to Cannistown National School outside Navan and that they were directed to do so by the school management; and if he will state (a) if these [1535] children should have been accepted originally in their local school at Blackcastle in September 1980 and (b) why he has not provided additional accommodation at Blackcastle National School to enable the school authorities there to accept all eligible pupils from within their area; and if he will provide free transport for the children in question to the school outside Navan which they are now required to attend.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  I am aware of two children who were unable to gain admission to Blackcastle NS when they applied in May last. They were referred by the principal to Scoil Mhuire NS and asked to report back to Blackcastle if they failed to gain admission to Scoil Mhuire. They did not report back to Blackcastle and my understanding is that they enrolled subsequently in Cannistown NS. I have no information as to whether they sought enrolment in Scoil Mhuire. The children could not be accepted in Blackcastle when they applied as the classes to which they sought admission were full.

With regard to the provision of additional accommodation, a prefabricated classroom extension was provided at Blackcastle as from September 1980 and a new 16 room school has been sanctioned and is under construction at Abbeylands, Navan, which is close to Blackcastle. It is expected that this school will be in a position to enrol pupils in September 1981 and thereby ease the pressure on school accommodation in the area.

The question of the provision of free transport for the children in question does not arise in the circumstances which I have outlined.

81.

Mr. C. Murphy:  asked the Minister for Education the number of enrolments for 1979-1980 and 1980-1981 in the adult education programmes of the VECs.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  Statistical data relating to adult education [1536] programmes of the VEC's are collected in the September following the end of each school year. Data in respect of the 1979-80 school year are at present being compiled from the annual returns as they are received in my Department. The current position is that 30 VEC's have returned the relevant forms, and eight VEC's representing 80 schools have not done so. Reminders have been issued to these eight VEC's. I will communicate with the Deputy when all of the returns have been received.

83.

Mr. E. Collins:  asked the Minister for Education if he is aware of the problems facing boards of management of primary schools in administering the scheme for paying substitute teachers, including the payment and collection of PAYE and PRSI; and if he will take steps to aid the boards financially in the administration of the schools under their control.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  I am aware that there may be some anxiety on the part of boards of managements in regard to operating the scheme for the payment of substitutes.

I am satisfied, however, that as a result of discussions which have taken place between my Department and representatives of the managerial and other interests concerned the administration of the scheme will not present undue difficulties.

It is not proposed to provide financial aid towards the operation of the scheme but my Department will facilitate the payment of substitutes by the boards by making advance payments to them where required.

84.

Mr. Hegarty:  asked the Minister for Education when work will commence on the extension to the national school at Upper Aghada, Rostellon, County Cork.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  I understand from the Commissioners of Public Works that the school authorities [1537] have been requested to have their architect prepare working drawings for the proposed extension to Aghada national school.

It is not possible to say at this stage when building work may commence.

85.

Mr. Horgan:  asked the Minister for Education the reason he has not replied to 14 out of 20 queries raised in correspondence with him by the National Federation of Christian Brothers' Schools Parent Councils (details supplied); why he did not meet representatives of the councils before the end of November as indicated by him; if he will now meet such representatives; and, if so, when.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  Arrangements are being made by me to meet the representatives of the National Federation of Christian Brothers' Schools Parent Councils.

86.

Mr. Kenny:  asked the Minister for Education if he will outline the criteria which constitute effective attendance in view of the different interpretations adopted by VECs in regard to 30 September being the effective census date for attendance in vocational schools for the creation of posts of responsibility which are based on attendances.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  The term “effective enrolment” in the census form for vocational schools refers to pupils regularly enrolled in the school in accordance with the terms of Circular Letter 12/47 of 18 Meitheamh 1947.

87.

Mr. Tully:  asked the Minister for Education the reason for his refusal to sanction the appointment of a teacher (details supplied) in County Louth who was recommended for the position of college teacher, fitting-turning, at Dundalk Regional College in October 1980.

[1538]Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  This appointment was not approved as the person in question had not the full qualifications specified for the post. He has not completed the minimum period of post-apprenticeship experience required for eligibility for appointment in a permanent wholetime capacity as a college teacher, trades subjects—fitting and turning.

88.

Mr. L'Estrange:  asked the Minister for Education if he will state in respect of County Westmeath the number of new schools and the location of each (a) under construction this year and (b) on which it is intended construction will commence next year; and the number of other applications before his Department.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  In relation to new primary schools in County Westmeath, the information requested by the Deputy is as follows: (a) Four new schools are under construction or have been completed during 1980. They are located at Collinstown, Ballinea, Bellview and Rochfortbridge. (b) A contract has been placed for a new school at Ballinahowen and it is anticipated that building work will commence early in 1981.

It is also proposed to provide a new school in Kinnegad and a special school in Mullingar. Planning of these schools is at an early stage. A proposal to build a new school at Garrycastle, Athlone, is being examined.

There are no new second-level schools under construction this year in County Westmeath. Applications for major extensions to five schools are being processed at present by my Department. Pending the bringing of these projects to tender stage, I am not in a position to state what cases will be commenced next year.

89.

Mr. L'Estrange:  asked the Minister for Education if he will state in respect of County Longford the number of new schools and the location of each (a) under construction this year and (b) on which it is intended construction will commence [1539] next year; and (c) the number of other applications before his Department.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  In relation to new primary schools in County Longford, the information requested by the Deputy is as follows: (a) A new school was completed at Ardagh during this year. (c) It is proposed to provide new schools at Templemichaelglebe and Ballymahon. It is not possible to say when building work may commence since good title to the site has not yet been established in the case of the former project and, in the case of the latter project, planning is still at an early stage.

There are no new second-level schools under construction this year in County Longford. Applications for major extensions to five schools are being processed at present by my Department. Pending the bringing of these projects to tender stage, I am not in a position to state what cases will be commenced next year.

91.

Mr. E. Collins:  asked the Minister for Education if he will comment on the strike in University College, Galway, involving full-time post-graduate students; and if he will take steps to provide sufficient funds for all such post-graduate students to ensure that the need for such a strike does not arise again.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  Colleges of the National University of Ireland are autonomous institutions subject to the provisions of the Irish Universities Act, 1908. The administration of each college is vested in the governing body of the college and action taken by it in this regard, including the allocation of funds for particular purposes, is not subject to the approval of the Minister for Education.

92.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for Education the present position regarding the proposed extension to [1540] Claregalway national school, County Galway, in view of the deplorable conditions, the serious overcrowding and health hazard that exist there at present.

93.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister of Education when work will commence on the proposed extension to the national school at Claregalway, County Galway, in view of the serious overcrowding and health hazard that exist there at present.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 92 and 93 together.

The Department of Education were unable to sanction a grant in this case until title was established to the site extension required to accommodate the proposed classroom block. The grant has recently been sanctioned and further arrangements to proceed with the scheme are now in the hands of the Commissioners of Public Works.

95.

Miss Barry:  asked the Minister for Education the time each year at which money is made available from the Exchequer for the payment of higher education grants.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  Higher education grants to students are made by the local authority concerned and recouped in the following financial year by the Department of Education. The recoupment is made in each financial year as soon as possible after a claim is submitted by the local authority in respect of its expenditure in the previous year.

96.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Education the reason moneys due for work completed on the extension of the Mercy Convent Secondary School, Dungarvan, County Waterford have not been paid on schedule; and when such payments will be made.

[1541]Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  Claims due for work completed on the extension of the Mercy Convent Secondary School, Dungarvan, County Waterford, have been met as they arose in the course of the contract.

However, in mid-November a claim was made which brought the total amount to a figure in excess of 75 per cent of the grant payable at that stage under the scheme for the payment of building grants to secondary schools. An interim payment was made on 10 December, pending a detailed examination of any additional amounts which might be due in respect of allowable increase costs under the price variation clause of the contract.

97.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  and Mr. Creed asked the Minister for Education whether he is aware that the post-primary school bus to Bandon from Duggans Cross, Castletown-Kenneigh, County Cork, which has been in operation for the past eight years, has been withdrawn; the reasons for such withdrawal; and whether he will take immediate steps to restore the service which affects 17 children in the area.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  The service in question has not been withdrawn. Its route was found to be encroaching on the adjoining Dunmanway catchment area and it had to be curtailed to a point within the Bandon catchment boundary. The children in question may avail themselves of the usual catchment boundary concession.

98.

Mr. Griffin:  asked the Minister for Education when the joint owners will be rewarded in respect of the historical finds—the Derrynaflan Chalice and Paten—found on their lands.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  This matter is under active consideration in my Department. In view of the nature of the inquiries involved I am not in a position to comment further on the matter at present.

[1542]99.

Mr. Mannion:  asked the Minister for Education why a 52-seater bus is still in operation to transport children from the Tullykyne School area to Moycullen national school after more than 12 months in view of the fact that there is already a cut-back in school transport services; if the expense of this service could be better spent elsewhere; and, if not, why.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  There has been no cut-back in the operation of the school transport services. Due to the fact that the large bus in question is also engaged in post-primary transport, there would be no cost saving involved by substituting an existing or new contractor's smaller vehicle for the proposed service from Tullykyne to Moycullen.

100.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for Education if he is aware of the unrest that exists in areas of south Galway and north Clare due to the removal of the Clarinbridge-Gort school bus service; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  The service which previously operated from Clarinbridge to Gort, with a spur to Ballinabuckey, was encroaching seriously into the Oranmore catchment area and had to be adjusted to operate from Kilcolgan. Students from south Galway may continue to avail themselves of the catchment boundary concession in the school transport scheme subject to the usual conditions. I am not aware that any students from north Clare are affected by the adjustment of the route of the service in question.

101.

Mr. O'Connor:  asked the Minister for Education the reason school transport has not been provided nearer to the home of children (details supplied) in County Kerry who have to walk over 1½ miles through difficult mountain terrain to Kate Kearney's cottage to meet the school bus, in view of the fact that transport has been provided practically to the homes of other children at Droumreague, [1543] Firies, Killarney, County Kerry, and who had to walk only a half mile to meet the bus at Firies Cross.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  The children referred to by the Deputy are eligible for free transport to Cullina national school. Transport is available to them from a point 1.35 miles from their home. Having regard to the condition and nature of the roadway this is the most satisfactory service that can be provided.

102.

Mr. Horgan:  asked the Minister for Education whether he will immediatily sanction funds to build a school for deaf and hearing-impaired children in Douglas, Cork, in order to meet the pressing need for education for such children in the Munster area.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  A grant for the proposed new school for hearing-impaired children which is to be built in Cork has been sanctioned on the understanding that good title to the site would be established.

Good title has not yet been established and until it is further progress cannot be made for the provision of the school in question.

[1544]103.

Mr. Kenny:  asked the Minister for Education if his Department have adopted a specific policy towards the effects of competitive sport on young children; and, if so, the steps taken to promote such a policy.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  In March 1979 my Department published the report of a study group on the effects of competitive sport on young children in Ireland.

This report has been circulated among all national bodies of sport. In general, I am in favour of the recommendations made in the report.

104.

Mr. Kenny:  asked the Minister for Education if he will outline the aspects of the O'Sullivan Report on youth affairs currently being implemented by his Department.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  I have outlined the information which the Deputy requested in the form of a tabular statement which, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to circulate with the Official Report.

Following is the statement:

Recommendations of O'Sullivan Report being implemented by the Department of Education.

No. Page Action in accordance with recommendations in Report
5 19 Voluntary Youth Organisations are being given financial support to employ competent professional staff on a continuing basis.
8 20 Volunteerism is being supported by professional input.
13 20 Out-of-pocket expenses incurred by volunteers in the course of their youth training and youth work are being reimbursed.
31 54 The Department of Education provides Headquarters Administrative Grants to workcamp and other voluntary service organisations who have clearly stated youth work objectives.
33 54 A major increase is planned for youth work over the next ten years.
47 61 Voluntary organisations are the main structures through which voluntary effort is channelled.
51 63 The Department grant-aids both national and regional youth structures.
54 65 The Department's grant-in-aid system to youth organisations is on the basis of agreed criteria and reporting on agreed headings of the grant application (covering administration, staff costs, training, youth programmes, special and new projects) and relating to the profile of each organisation.
62 70 Reimbursement of travel expenses is available to full-time workers and the provision for such is included in the Department grant.
66 71 Full-time workers have access to professional direction, training and consultation with regular opportunities to discuss work problems.
73 74 Vocational Education Committees (V.E.C.'s) are considered the appropriate statutory bodies to develop youth work services at local level.

[1545]105.

Mr. Kenny:  asked the Minister for Education if he will indicate the long distance walking routes already selected by his Department; and the steps being taken to have such routes increased in number.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  Phase I of the Wicklow Way, 30 km long, was opened by me on 17 August 1980. Phase II of the Wicklow Way, 59 km long, is planned for opening in 1981.

Plans are being considered for the establishment of a long distance walking route around Ireland as well as other shorter routes in suitable locations.

106.

Mr. Griffin:  asked the Minister for Education if he is aware of the following principal recommendations made in the Annual Report of the Board of Visitors of the National Museum and Botanic Gardens 1979: (i) the need for increased staff and service facilities, (ii) storage facilities for the collections to be centralised without further delay, at a venue where it will be possible to curate and to study them effectively, (iii) essential storage equipment to be obtained quickly, (iv) the provision of essential facilities for the Geological and Folklife Collection, in order to preserve important specimens e.g. zoological types, and (v) the need for a programme to develop the Museum as a major national institution; and if he will indicate the measures he intends taking to rectify the situation.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  A plan for the co-ordinated development of the museum services is under consideration in my Department. The relevant proposals would take account of the matters raised in the Board of Visitors' report. Long-term management structures for the National Museum are also receiving attention.

107.

Mr. Tully:  asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will furnish information on land utilisation in 1948, 1958, 1968 and 1978 or the nearest year in each case indicating the approximate number of [1546] acres of (a) arable land, (b) margina land, (c) “other land”, including (i) mountains, (ii) industrial peat land, (iii) other peat lands and blanket bog, (iv) fen or marsh land, and (v) other waste land

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  The data available in my Department does not enable me to furnish the detailed information sought by the Deputy. However, the Statistical Abstract gives figures for land usage for the years 1948, 1958, 1968 and 1975 and, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I will circulate these with the Official Report.

Following are the figures:

Total Crops and Pasture '000 acres Other Land '000 acres
1948 11,574 5,450
1958 11,655 5,369
1968 11,868 5,155
1975 11,589 5,434

“Other land” includes woods and plantations, grazed and barren mountain, turf bog, marsh, water, roads, and so on, but a breakdown under these headings is not available.

108.

Dr. Browne:  asked the Minister for Agriculture the estimated percentage of farmers' income paid from State sources for the most recent year for which figures are available.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  Details of State expenditure in relation to agriculture are given in the pre-budget tables issued annually by the Minister for Finance. The most recent table gives an estimated total of £183.869 million in 1980. I should, however, point out that this figure includes substantial items of a capital nature, schemes operated under EEC regulations and directives, education and research, advisory and inspection services, disease eradication administration, and so on.

109.

Mr. Bermingham:  asked the Minister for Agriculture if he is aware of the current high level of slaughter of breeding stock due to the substantial fall in farm prices this year and of the high level of cattle destocking generally; and the [1547] steps he proposes to take to prevent a further drop in cattle numbers.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  While cow slaughterings are at a higher level than last year, this is due to a number of factors. Apart from the normal cullings which always constitute a significant part of cow slaughterings, the number this year is inflated as a result of the intensified disease eradication programme, especially for brucellosis.

The Government have of course already introduced a range of measures to help farmers over their difficulties and for details of these I would refer the Deputy to my reply to a question on 4 November.

110.

Mr. Bermingham:  asked the Minister for Agriculture the additional jobs and added value which could be created by in increase of 10, 20 and 30 per cent respectively in factory throughput of finished prime cattle where the carcases are boned and marketed as vac-pack or boneless cuts, rather than put into intervention.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  While considerable potential exists for added value products in the meat sector, it would not be possible because of the many variables involved to give a meaningful reply to the Deputy's hypothetical question. I would in any event point out to the Deputy that a very sizeable quantity of the beef taken into intervention here is boned out.

[1548]111.

Mr. Bermingham:  asked the Minister for Agriculture the value and volume under the headings of meat, dairy produce etc, of competing food imports into Ireland each year since 1970; and the number of jobs which could be created in this country at present if these directly competing food imports were supplied by the Irish food industry.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I will circulate with the Official Report a statement giving the information sought in the first part of the question in so far as my Department are concerned. I should point out, however, that it is not always possible to determine from the official statistics whether a particular type of product imported could in fact be produced here.

As regards the second part of the question, the number of jobs which might be created if directly competing food imports were supplied by the Irish food industry cannot be quantified with any precision particularly as the consumption of some domestically produced processed goods would be offset in many cases by a decline in the volume of exports. The net effect on jobs in the Irish food industry in these circumstances could therefore be less than might otherwise be expected. The Government's policy is however to take every measure possible to maximise, for the benefit of Irish industry and work force, the opportunities presented by the domestic market.

Following is the statement:

Imports 1970-1979

Year Meat and Meat Dairy Products Horticulture Sugar
Preparations and Eggs
Tonnes £000 Tonnes £000 Tonnes £000 Tonnes £000
1970 784 345 179 294 45,409 5,240 1,562 1,174
1971 715 338 322 283 48,057 5,046 2,072 1,910
1972 2,114 420 4,099 553 45,265 6,007 1,548 2,387
1973 2,200 1,047 45,000 2,120 55,400 7,178 16,042 1,450
1974 3,600 2,180 90,000 2,793 51,100 8,531 36,400 6,491
1975 5,700 4,000 105,000 6,874 46,200 8,223 49,000 13,732
1976 7,600 5,812 119,000 8,776 51,600 10,636 90,000 13,924
1977 9,400 8,302 89,600 10,694 47,000 13,264 52,100 9,053
1978 11,700 10,279 89,700 11,628 64,100 16,758 25,900 5,369
1979 12,900 12,592 96,000 14,888 79,000 20,937 23,200 4,790

Note (1) Due to reclassification changes in the trade statistics for the years 1974 onwards, data for the years 1970-1973 are not strictly comparable to later years.

[1549]112.

Mr. Bermingham:  asked the Minister for Agriculture the total amount of money spent on marketing food, excluding subsidies, by the Government in each year since 1970.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  As the information regarding total amounts of money paid out by my Department on the marketing of food each year since 1970 is in the form of a tabular statement, I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to circulate it with the Official Report.

These figures do not include normal quality and grading control services provided by my Department. They also exclude expenditure by Córas Tráchtála on the promotion of food as part of their promotional activity.

Following is the statement:—

£
'000
1970-71 279
1971-72 400
1972-73 570
1973-74 545
1974 (9 months) 503.5
1975 575
1976 525
1977 555
1978 608
1979 642

113.

Mr. Fox:  asked the Minister for Agriculture the steps he will take to ensure that Irish potato producers will not be subjected to competition from potatoes produced in countries with wage scales of a very low nature; and whether the Irish housewife will be protected from high prices charged by some distributors of potatoes.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  The Deputy can be satisfied that I will continue to ensure the strict enforcement of the provisions of the Treaty of Rome which afford member states protection against dumping. If the Deputy can give me evidence of any other form of unfair competition, I will of [1550] course do everything possible to protect Irish potato producers. As far as the price of potatoes is concerned, I understand that the Prices Commission undertake a weekly survey of vegetable prices in an effort to ensure that supplies are available to consumers at reasonable prices. If, as the Deputy implies, some distributors charge unjustified prices, then competition from others should quickly stabilise the situation.

114.

Mr. Harte:  asked the Minister for Agriculture the number of letters which he had issued in his own name to seed growers in County Donegal prior to the date of the by-election informing them that he was authorising an ex gratia payment of a maximum of £295 per tonne; the number of these ex gratia payments which have now been paid; the total amount authorised by him; and if he will give the names and addresses of the growers to whom he has written.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  Following representations from a number of the individuals involved I corresponded with 23 farmers in County Donegal in October last who had their crops of seed potatoes rejected for certification in 1979 under my Department's seed potato certification scheme. The reason for rejection was the same in all cases — the crops contained a mixture of the two varieties Pentland Ivory and Pentland Dell. The foliage of these varieties is very similar and varietal differences are only apparent for a short period during the flowering stage.

The likely source of the problem has been traced back to a consignment of Nucleus Stock seed potatoes which was distributed from my Department's Potato Research Centre, Raphoe, in 1974. This particular consignment was multiplied by a small number of specialist seed growers from whom two local merchants purchased a quantity of certified seed potatoes — produce of the mixed Nucleus Stock — and subsequently disposed of it in 1979 to the growers with whom I corresponded. The growers concerned [1551] suffered a considerable loss in having their crops rejected for certification and were forced to dispose of them on the ware market at substantially reduced prices. While my Department have no legal liability for the losses suffered by the growers, the fact that the Nucleus Stock originated at the potato centre and the produce was subsequently certified by Department personnel, clearly placed a moral obligation on my Department to recompense the growers for loss of income.

In March last my Department wrote to the two merchants from whom the mixed seed had been purchased and through them offered to replace the seed or, alternatively, to make an ex gratia payment of an amount equivalent to the cost of replacing it. This offer was subsequently rejected by a substantial number of the growers involved. Following a meeting I had in early September with representatives of these growers — at their request — I undertook to have the case reviewed. On further examination and following exhaustive inquiries at local level it was considered that the growers concerned had incurred an average loss of £295 per tonne of seed planted.

No payments have yet been made pending the return of completed forms of indemnity by the growers concerned. The total amount of the ex gratia payments will be £8,935.50. The Deputy will appreciate that it is not the practice to give details of individuals when replying to questions in the House.

115.

Mr. Crotty:  asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will ensure that vegetable processing is continued on a permanent basis; and if he will consider having the industry in Carlow expanded.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  As I stated in a reply to a question on 25 November, it is not possible for us to insulate ourselves from the effects of the economic difficulties which the vegetable processing industry throughout Western Europe has been [1552] passing through in recent years. Decisions relating to individual plants operated by Erin Foods such as that at Carlow are a matter for the board of Cómhlucht Siúicre Éireann Teoranta. The future of the vegetable processing industry is at present under detailed examination by the Horticultural Development Group which I established in April last. I understand that their report will be available in a few months time and in the meantime I will take any action available to me to encourage viable developments in the industry.

116.

Mr. Enright:  and Mr. Bruton asked the Minister for Agriculture if he has received any request for financial assistance and advice or any type of Government or Departmental assistance from Bord Bainne for the purchase of a depot on the Continent which would be of benefit to our agricultural exports and balance of payments.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  There have been recent discussions between An Bord Bainne and my Department about the board's plans for the extension of its marketing operations, especially through taking a financial interest in established marketing concerns abroad. As a result I am considering whether there is any way in which the Government could appropriately help the board in this.

117.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will introduce a ground limestone subsidy in view of the dramatic fall in the use of ground limestone by farmers.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  The former ground limestone subsidy was phased out some time ago so that the funds involved could be put to more effective use in other ways for the benefit of farmers. Any question of reintroducing the subsidy would have to be considered in the general context of the Government's budgetary decisions and the overall availability of funds for expenditure in relation to agriculture.

[1553]118.

Mr. Bermingham:  asked the Minister for Agriculture when and why the Moore estate, Clownings, Newbridge, County Kildare, was transferred by the Land Commission to a company.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  This estate was never owned by the Land Commission and accordingly there was no question of transferring it to a company. The position is that an application by a company for the consent of the Land Commission under section 45, Land Act, 1965, to the purchase of the property was refused in December 1978. Following a request for reconsideration of this decision, the Land Commission reviewed the case and in the light of the circumstances then obtaining granted their consent to the transaction in January 1980.

The determination of applications under section 45 is a matter reserved to the commissioners.

119.

Mr. J. Walsh:  asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will provide grant aid under the western drainage scheme to individuals as well as to co-operatives for the purchase of drainage equipment.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  In accordance with the terms of Directive 78/628/EEC on which the western drainage scheme is based grant aid towards the purchase of land drainage machinery may be given only to registered agricultural co-operatives. Individuals do not therefore qualify for this aid.

120.

Mr. Mannion:  asked the Minister for Agriculture the steps, if any, he has taken to allocate bogs to the 35 applicants in the Roundstone area.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  The Land Commission have no developed turbary available for allocation in the immediate vicinity of Roundstone. They are, however, examining the possibility of developing bogs which they hold in that general area, with a view to catering for local demands.

[1554]121.

Mr. Bruton:  asked the Minister for Agriculture the reason a farm modernisation grant has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Cavan whose work was passed in July 1980.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  The two grants at issue have been paid. The projects in this case were not completed until September-October 1980.

122.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for Agriculture the reason for the delay in the payment of a ewe hoggett grant to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  Payment in this case will be made in the normal course before the end of the month.

123.

Mr. Bruton:  asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will consider granting an increase to the people who received annuities under the old Land Commission annuities scheme for retiring farmers, whose annuities have been fixed at the same amount since the scheme came into operation; and if he will arrange for these annuitants to qualify for free electricity and free television licences in the same way as other old people.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  An annuity payable under the scheme referred to is a fixed sum calculated by reference to actuarial tables based on life expectancy and on the value of the holding sold to the Land Commission. There was no provision in the scheme for the revision of annuities so fixed. The granting of free electricity and television licences is not a matter for the Minister for Agriculture. An annuitant under the scheme is of course entitled to have his eligibility for these benefits examined by the Department of Social Welfare.

[1555]124.

Mr. Griffin:  asked the Minister for Agriculture the number of outstanding grants under the (i) farm modernisation scheme and (ii) disease eradication schemes in Tipperary South; and the reasons they have not been paid to date.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  Some 200 cases are at various stages of processing for payment under the farm modernisation scheme and some 600 cases under the disease eradication schemes. The appropriate grants will be paid without undue delay when normal procedures have been completed.

125.

Mr. Enright:  asked the Minister for Agriculture (1) the name, address and acreage of each estate purchased by the Land Commission in County Laois during the past 12 months; and (2) if he will [1556] set out in the form of a tabular statement the acreage of land acquired by his Department in each calendar year from 1970 to date.

126.

Mr. Enright:  asked the Minister for Agriculture (1) the name, address and acreage of each estate purchased by the Land Commission in County Offaly during the past 12 months; and (2) if he will set out in the form of a tabular statement the acreage of land acquired by his Department in each calendar year from 1970 to date.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take questions Nos. 125 and 126 together.

The information requested is set out in a tabular statement which I propose to circulate with the Official Report.

Following is the statement:

Lands Purchased December 1979-November 1980.

County Estate Record Number Townland Approximate Location Area (ha)
Laois Killeen S.29295 Mountfead 7 miles S.W. of Portlaoise 24
Leader S.29898 Garrafin 6 miles W. of Mountrath 21
Offaly Atkinson S.28859 Moneygall and Cloynoe 1 mile E. of Moneygall 52
Bell S.28668 Skehanagh 1 miles W. of Skehanagh 7
Eagleton S.29897 Coniker 4 miles N. of Roscrea 12
Egan S.28808 Pollagh 8 miles W. of Tullamore 21
Guinan S.29746 Agall 6 miles S.W. of Tullamore 26
Whelan S.29376 Glassderry 7 miles S. of Birr 14

Areas Acquired

(Up to 31-3-1974, records were kept on the basis of the financial year April-March)

Years Laois Offaly
1970-71 242 498
1971-72 259 339
1972-73 214 163
1973-74 264 195
1974 163 204
(April-December)
1975 449 318
1976 531 417
1977 883 401
1978 481 342
1979 89 176

127.

Mr. Enright:  asked the Minister for Agriculture the names and addresses of all the estates the Land Commission intend to divide in County Offaly during the next 12 month period; the townlands where they are situated; the acreage of each estate; and the date of acquisition of each such estate.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. MacSharry):  The allotment programme for 1981 is being prepared at present and is expected to be completed in a matter of weeks. If the Deputy would put down the question again early in the next session, I shall be glad to supply him with the information.

[1557]128.

Mr. Treacy:  asked the Minister for Agriculture the current minimum and maximum wage scales for industrial civil servants employed by ACOT in their agricultural colleges in various locations throughout the country.

[1558]Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  The current minimum and maximum rates of pay of the former industrial civil servants who transferred to ACOT on 1 July 1980 are as set out in the following tabular statement which, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to circulate with the Official Report.

Following is the statement:

Grade College
Ballyhaise Clonakilty Kildalton Mellows (Athenry)
Farm Foreman £81.23-88.71 £81.23-88.71
Gardener £97.23-104.67 £80.83-81.57 £80.83-81.57
Carpenter £101.03-111.72 £101.03-111.72 £101.03-111.72
Cattleman/Pigman £76.41-84.61 £76.41-84.61 £76.41-84.61
Engineman £72.05-79.52
Tractor driver £76.41-84.61 £76.41-84.61 £75.52-82.99 £76.41-84.61
Handyman £71.37-78.84 £72.57-80.04
Labourer £69.46-76.92 £69.46-76.92 £70.18-77.66 £69.46-76.92
Lorry driver £73.34 £73.34 £73.34
Security Officer £71.37-78.84 £71.37-78.84 £71.37-78.84 £71.37-78.84

129.

Mr. White:  asked the Minister for Agriculture when the cattle headage grants for 1979 will be paid to farmers in County Donegal.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  Out of 10,189 applications received from herdowners in County Donegal under the 1979 cattle headage scheme, 9,914 herdowners have already been paid their grants amounting to £1,774,370. The remaining 275 applications are the subject of inquiries in relation to such matters as off-farm income, ownership, herd registration, and so on. In most instances action by or on behalf of the applicants is being awaited.

130.

Mr. Griffin:  asked the Minister for Agriculture the reason for the delay in the payment of a farm modernisation grant to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  The grant has been paid. The work in this case was only certified in October.

131.

Mr. Griffin:  asked the Minister for Agriculture the reasons for the delay in the payment of a farm modernisation grant to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  The grant in this case, which was inadvertently delayed, has now been paid.

132.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for Agriculture when a grant will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  Under the terms of the Western Drainage Scheme grants for the purchase of land drainage machinery can be made only to co-operatives. A grant has already been paid to this co-operative, for the purchase of certain machinery. A further approval has recently been issued and the grant will be paid on submission of the necessary documentation.

133.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  asked the Minister for Agriculture the reason for the delay in the payment of three grants to a person (details supplied) in Cork South West; and when the payment will be made.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  One of these grants refers to [1559] work carried out recently. It was paid early this month. Another refers to work carried out in 1978. It was paid in November 1978.

The third appears to refer to work carried out under the land project scheme which terminated on the introduction of the farm modernisation scheme in 1974. In the circumstances it will be appreciated that the records in the case are not readily identifiable. The case is being examined and I will write to the Deputy as soon as I have definite information.

134.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will grant a slaughtering licence for a replacement bacon factory in Cappoquin, County Waterford, subject to the proposals for such a project being accepted by the IDA.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  Yes; provided that the requirements as to structure, equipment and hygiene set out in the Pigs and Bacon Acts and the relevant EEC directives are met. I must, however, point out that total pig slaughtering capacity is substantially in excess of requirements. Accordingly, any person who might be considering the establishment of a new bacon factory should have regard to this.

135.

Mr. Harte:  asked the Minister for Agriculture when the cattle headage payments will be made in County Donegal.

Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Mac-Sharry):  Out of 9,830 applications received from herdowners in County Donegal under the 1980 cattle headage payments scheme, 5,804 herdowners have already been paid grants amounting to £2.01 million. A further 2,000 applicants will receive their grants by the 31 December. The remaining herdowners whose applications are found to be in order will be paid as early as possible in the New Year.

[1560]136.

Mr. Begley:  asked the Minister for the Gaeltacht the action she proposes to take regarding the closure of a factory (details supplied) in Dingle, County Kerry.

Aire na Gaeltachta (Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn):  Tuigim ó Údarás na Gaeltachta sin go bhfuil fógra tugtha ag an gcomhlacht sin go bhfuil i gceist acu éirí as gnó sa Daingean i mí Bealtaine seo chugainn. Mura féidir a áiteamh orthu leanúint den ghnó sin déanfar gach dícheall chun fost-aíocht eile a chur ar fáil do na hoibrithe sa Daingean.

137. D'fiafraigh

Mr. Begley:  d'Aire na Gaeltachta cé mhéad daoine atá ag obair in Oifig Bhord na Gaeilge (a) i mBaile Átha Cliath agus (b) ar fud na tíre.

Aire na Gaeltachta (Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn):  Tá 28 nduine fostaithe ag Bord na Gaeilge i mBaile Átha Cliath agus bionn cuid acu ag obair ar fud na tíre de réir mar is gá.

138.

Mr. Begley:  asked the Minister for the Gaeltacht when a housing grant was paid to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Aire na Gaeltachta (Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn):  Níor íoc mo Roinnse aon deontas títhíochta leis an duine a luaigh an Teachta ach tuigim gur íoc an Roinn Comhshaoil deontas leis.

140.

Mr. Harte:  asked the Minister for Health if he has received proposals from the Asthma Society of Ireland in support of their claim to have the needs of all asthma sufferers met free of charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

141.

Mr. Belton:  asked the Minister for Health if, having regard to the free inhaled drugs scheme advocated by the Asthma Society of Ireland, he will make regulations as a matter of urgency to provide [1561] all asthmatics with inhaled drugs or their oral equivalents free of charge.

142.

Mr. B. Desmond:  asked the Minister for Health further to a deputation from the Asthma Society of Ireland which was received by his predecessor in February 1979, following which preparatory work on a scheme for free inhaled drugs was carried out within his Department, whether this study has been completed; when it is intended to enact this scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 140, 141 and 142 together.

Persons suffering from asthma who are covered by medical cards obtain their drugs and medicines free of charge under the General Medical Service. Representations have been made to me to provide a scheme whereby prescribed inhalants would be made available free of charge to persons suffering from asthma who are not covered by medical cards. However, in the light of present constraints on public expenditure, it is not possible to consider its introduction now.

143.

Miss Barry:  asked the Minister for Health if he will consider the provision of free dental treatment as a matter of urgency for children, who leave national school, until they reach the age of 16 years.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  I share the Deputy's concern for those under 16 who are not currently entitled to dental treatment and I will be very willing to consider extending our existing dental services to all children in the 1216 year age group as soon as sufficient dentists and resources become available to provide an adequate level of service for existing eligible groups.

144.

Mr. R. Barry:  and Miss Barry asked the Minister for Health if, in view of the acute bed shortage for geriatric [1562] patients in the north-east Cork district, he will make an immediate decision to proceed with the building of the long-awaited new wing at St. Patrick's Hospital, Fermoy, County Cork.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  I referred in reply to the Deputies' previous question regarding this project on 26 February 1980. Official Report, Volume 318, column 469, to the difficulties which had arisen regarding the cost of the proposed extension.

These difficulties have not been resolved and a further meeting has been arranged between officers of my Department and of the Southern Health Board on 17 December to discuss the matter.

When the question of the costings has been resolved the position regarding the project will have to be considered in the light of the current constraints on public expenditure and the availability of funds.

145.

Mr. Cogan, Mr. O.J. Flanagan:  and Mr. B. Desmond asked the Minister for Health if, in view of the information given in his written reply to a Parliamentary Question on 19 November 1980, he will consider increasing the grant to the Medical Research Council to enable it to promote research into alternative techniques to the use of live animals in medical research.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  As pointed out in my reply on 19 November 1980 to a question by Deputy Cogan, Official Report, Volume 324, column 756, the Medical Research Council has reported that the cost of research into alternative techniques to the use of live animals would be prohibitive. In the light of this opinion I do not think that an increase in the grant for this purpose would be warranted.

146.

Mr. Tully:  asked the Minister for Health if he is aware that under the Pensions Act, 1964 public service pensions are revised only on 1 July each year with the result that many pensioners do not receive pension adjustments, arising from appropriate pay adjustments, for up [1563] to 11 months after this adjustment occurs; and if he will arrange for a review of pensions more frequently than once a year.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  In recent years public service pensions have been increased from 1 July each year to take account of current salary and wage levels. The pensions of retired officers, who are members of the Voluntary Hospitals Superannuation Scheme, are adjusted in line with such increases. Any more frequent review and adjustment in pensions would be a matter for the Minister for the Public Service in the first instance.

147.

Mr. Tully:  asked the Minister for Health the reason no action has been taken to remedy the position whereby there were only six dentists in County Meath treating eligible patients of which there are 3,439 on the waiting- list since 1979; and in view of the fact that 932 children have been referred for orthodontic treatment in the county and that only 83 can be treated this year, if he has any plans to deal with the matter.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  The services of seven wholetime public dental officers and one part-time are now available. [1564] The services of 27 dentists in private practice in the North Eastern region are also available under the choice-of-dentist scheme introduced late in 1979.

The average waiting period for treatment in County Meath is six to 12 weeks for children and two to 12 weeks for adults, reflecting a considerable improvement in the overall position.

There are 160 children on the waiting list for orthodontic treatment, 190 are receiving treatment and approximately 200 new cases present every year.

As I indicated in replying to a question by Deputy Boland on 13 November, Official Report, Volume 324, column 466, I have authorised additional appointments of orthodontists.

148.

Dr. Browne:  asked the Minister for Health the number of (a) females and (b) males registered as having died of (1) myelogenous and (2) lymphatic leukaemia in 1950, 1960, 1965, 1970 and from 1975 to the most recent year for which figures are available.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  As the answer is in the form of a tabular statement, I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to circulate it with the Official Report. Following is the statement:

Year Number of deaths from myelogenous leukaemia Number of deaths from lymphatic leukaemia Total
Male Female Male Female Male Female
1950 45 32
1960 96 59
1965 100 61
1970 39 16 49 31 88 47
1975 44 22 41 22 85 44
1976 41 24 39 18 80 42
1977 31 33 46 24 77 57
1978 47 42 39 21 86 63
1979 51 25 42 31 93 56

Note 1: Deaths are coded according to the International Classification of Diseases, which is compiled by the World Health Organisation. The ICD is revised periodically. Three revisions cover the period 1950 to 1979. The following are the codes which have been used in the table and the ICD Hevision from which they were derived: 1950: code 204 of the 6th Revision; leukaemia and aleukaemia; 1960 and 1965: code 204 of the 7th revision; leukaemia and aleukaemia; 1970 to 1979: code 204 of the 8th revision; lymphatic leukaemia; code 205 of the 8th revision; myeloid leukaemia

Note 2: The 6th and 7th ICD revisions did not contain separate codes for myelogenous and lymphatic leukaemia and it is not possible to provide separate figures for 1950, 1960 and 1965.

Note 3: Because of the different ICD revisions which were used the figures for 1950 are not directly comparable with those for 1960 and 1965 which, in turn, are not directly comparable with the figures for 1970 to 1979.

[1565]150.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick:  (Cavan-Monaghan) asked the Minister for Health if he is aware that a person (details supplied) in County Cavan, having been discharged from a hospital in Delvin, County Westmeath where she was a patient for several years, is awaiting a bed in a suitable institution; and if he will take steps to have her provided with accommodation as she cannot reasonably be looked after at home.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  The provision of accommodation for the person referred to is primarily a matter for the North-Easten Health Board.

I have had inquiries made from the board and the position is that the girl was discharged in June 1980, from St Mary's, Delvin which is a residential centre for mentally handicapped children, upon reaching the upper age limit of 17. At that time a place was offered her in St Peter's Hospital, Castlepollard, which is a residential centre for adult mentally handicapped persons administered by the Midland Health Board. I understand that her parents declined this offer. This person's name has subsequently been put on waiting lists for two residential centres for the female mentally handicapped, one in Dublin and the other in Monasterevan. I understand, however, that it may be some considerable time before a vacancy arises for the girl in either of these centres.

151.

Mr. Kelly:  asked the Minister for Health the increased costs to the Exchequer in 1980, by comparison with the year 1977, attributable to the growth of numbers employed in the health boards.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  The cost involved for the Exchequer for the year 1980 as a result of the growth in the number of personnel employed by health boards since end 1977 is estimated at £15.5 million. This figure relates to the remuneration in 1980 of the extra staff employed since the end of 1977, mainly [1566] in connection with the commissioning of new units of accommodation.

152.

Mr. Harte:  asked the Minister for Health if he considers the Departmental regulation which restricts the number of applicants being called for interview seeking employment with health boards to those applicants who have sat the leaving certificate examination and who received a certain level of marks to be fair and in the best interest of all applicants in Ireland.

153.

Mr. Harte:  asked the Minister for Health if he is aware that a student who was awarded a certificate in business studies was informed by the North Western Health Board that his application for a position as clerical officer could not be accepted because his leaving certificate results were not sufficiently high for him to be called for interview; and bearing in mind that the student has progressed exceptionally well in the three years in which he attended the Regional Technical College, if he considers it proper or justified that the leaving certificate rule should apply in all cases; and, if not, the steps he proposes to take to correct the position.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle I propose to take Questions Nos. 152 and 153 together.

With a view to ensuring that candidates have attained a certain standard of education, the qualifications prescribed for the recruitment grade of clerical officer in the health board service require candidates to have obtained at least Grade D, or a Pass, in at least five subjects in the leaving certificate examination or have passed an examination of equivalent standard. The qualifications directed for the assistant staff officer grade require honours leaving certificate standard. The leaving certificate has not been prescribed for other posts under health boards.

In accordance with directions given under section 14 of the Health Act, 1970, chief executive officers of health boards in arranging for the selection of a candidate [1567] or candidates to be appointed or of the candidates to be placed in order of merit on a panel shall do so by means of a selection procedure appropriate to the appointment being made. In relation to the selection of candidates for clerical officer posts the selection procedure used by the North Western Health Board is that candidates who obtain a certain standard in the leaving certificate, or equivalent, examination are called for interview and a panel is formed based on the results of the interview board. This selection procedure is similar to that used by the other health boards. I understand that the North Western Health Board received a very large number of applications in a competition they are now holding for the appointment of clerical officers. Results obtained in examinations other than the leaving certificate, or equivalent, would of course be taken into account at the interview stage. I have had inquiries made with the North Western Health Board regarding a competition currently in progress for the appointment of clerical officers under that board. I am informed that the board did receive an application from a person holding the higher national diploma certificate in business studies awarded by the Ulster Polytechnic in Armagh and that this candidate has been called for interview. I understand also that the health board received an application from a student pursuing a course in business studies but he was not called for interview based on his examination results.

I am satisfied that the selection procedures used by the health boards in selecting candidates for posts such as clerical officer, which are aimed mainly at school-leavers are appropriate and I have no proposals to change the existing arrangements.

154.

Mr. Timmins:  asked the Minister for Health when he proposes to sanction the proposals by the Eastern Health Board to build a health centre at Blessington, County Wicklow.

[1568]Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  Planning of this project has reached an advanced stage but due to the current constraints on public expenditure it has not been possible to allow the project to proceed to tender.

I am, however, keeping the position under review so that the health board can seek tenders for the health centre as soon as circumstances permit.

155.

Mr. Boland:  asked the Minister for Health the average length of waiting-time for eligible children in the school dental service scheme in the Midland Health Board area.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  In general routine dental treatment is provided within six weeks of the initial examination. Children in pain are treated immediately. Where speech or mastication is affected orthodontic treatment is usually available within 12 months.

156.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan:  asked the Minister for Health the action he has taken to ensure that abortifacients are not sold, prescribed or displayed.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  The law relating to abortifacients has not been changed. If the Deputy is aware of breaches of the law I would suggest that he brings them to the attention of the Department of Justice.

157.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan:  asked the Minister for Health if he will make a statement on reports that he has granted a licence to import contraceptives to a company (details supplied) and a licence to operate a family planning service involving the use of contraceptives; and the type of licences he has granted to this body.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  A licence to import contraceptives has not been sought by the company mentioned in the question. A request for consent to [1569] the company providing a family planning service has been received in my Department and is under consideration.

158.

Dr. Browne:  asked the Minister for Health if he is satisfied with the standard of administration in all maternity hospitals; and whether he considers that more consistent standards could be achieved through their greater public accountability, including public representation on hospital boards.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  The administration of the maternity hospitals is primarily a matter for the appropriate health board or in the case of the public voluntary maternity hospitals the appropriate board of governors.

The memberships of both the health boards and the boards of governors are broadly based and include public representatives, members of the medical profession and other people from many walks of life.

The staffing and revenue and capital expenditure of such hospitals are monitored by my Department and I have no evidence that the standard of administration of the institutions is not satisfactory.

159.

Dr. Browne:  asked the Minister for Health if he is aware of the findings of the latest opinion poll which indicate that people in the Republic would support the free availability of contraception; and if the Government are prepared to review their policy on this matter in view of this indication of public opinion.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  I am aware of the survey referred to in the Deputy's question. I do not think a review of Government policy as mentioned by the Deputy would be warranted in consequence of this survey.

160.

Mr. White:  asked the Minister for [1570] Health when an old persons' home will be built at Glenties, County Donegal.

161.

Mr. White:  asked the Minister for Health when an old persons' home will be built at Killybegs, County Donegal.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 160 and 161 together.

I am unable to say at this stage when these homes will be built. The health board have plans for a network of local community nursing and welfare units for the elderly throughout Donegal but detailed proposals have not yet been submitted by the board in respect of the two locations in question.

162.

Mr. P. Barry:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is satisfied that the wording of notifications (details supplied) issued by his Department in respect of the application of section 15 (3) (a) (II) of the Social Welfare Act, 1952 is easily understood by those people to whom they are issued.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  From the details supplied with the question, it appears that the Deputy is referring to the notification of decision to claimants who apply for unemployment benefit or assistance.

I am satisfied that these notifications are easily understood by the persons to whom they are issued. While they must, of necessity, contain certain technical details of the legislative provisions under which the decisions are made, they also inform the claimants in simple terms of the reason why benefit is being denied or reduced together with information regarding their right of appeal.

In fact in the operation of the schemes concerned, to ensure that the notifications are readily understood by claimants, there is a wide range of notifications each specifically designed to meet the circumstances of the different types of claims which can arise.

[1571]163.

Mr. Kenny:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware of the increasing number of applicants, particularly married women, who are being denied unemployment benefit on the grounds of unavailability for work, when in fact these applicants may have submitted certified documentation to the effect of the non-availability of employment in their particular areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  I am not aware of any increase in the rate of refusal of unemployment benefit from married women or any other category of claimants on grounds of unavailability for work.

The question of whether a claimant satisfies the requirement of being available for but unable to obtain work is a matter for decision in each particular case. The fact that employment is not available in an area does not necessarily mean that claimants in that area must be regarded as being available for work. Claimants can be unavailable for work for a number of reasons either because they are not genuinely interested in seeking employment or because they would not be free to take up employment if it were offered to them.

Each case is decided by a statutorily appointed deciding officer in the light of its own particular merits. A claimant who is dissatisfied with the decision in his or her case has the right of appeal to an appeals officer.

164.

Mr. Belton:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will make regulations to enable persons to opt for a free gas allowance in lieu of the free electricity allowance.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  I assume that the question refers to mains gas and while I am sympathetically disposed towards the Deputy's proposal I regret that its implementation would not be feasible. I should like to [1572] mention, however, that a scheme of free bottled gas refills is operated by my Department for persons who are otherwise qualified for free electricity allowance but who are not connected to an electricity supply.

It is also possible for a person whose means are insufficient to cater for his heating or other needs to obtain assistance under the supplementary welfare allowances scheme which is operated by the health boards.

165.

Mr. Kenny:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware that many thousands of social welfare contributors in the West of Ireland are unable to avail themselves of any dental treatment benefits from such contributions due to a long-standing dispute between dentists and his Department; if he is satisfied with such a situation; and the plans he has to rectify the matter immediately.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  As already indicated in reply to earlier questions on this subject the names of certain dentists in County Mayo were removed from the dental panel in 1978 for refusing to comply with the terms of their agreement. A further six dentists in the area withdrew from the scheme in sympathy with their colleagues.

There are still a number of dentists operating the scheme in the county. Insured persons who are qualified under the scheme and who are unable to obtain treatment in their own area are allowed travelling or other expenses necessarily incurred in going to another dentist on the panel in County Mayo or in neighbouring counties.

I should like to add that the private dental practitioners who enrol on the Social Welfare Dental Benefit Panel do so on an individual basis and I would welcome any application from the County Mayo dentists involved to rejoin the scheme.

166.

Mr. Begley:  asked the Minister for [1573] Social Welfare the reason unemployment assistance was refused to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if new regulations regarding unemployment assistance are now being introduced by his Department.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  The reason the person concerned was not entitled to unemployment assistance was that the value of his means, derived from his father's farm on which he is employed, exceeds the statutory limit for entitlement in his case.

There are no proposals on hand for new regulations regarding unemployment assistance. As indicated, however, in a reply of 19 November 1980 to a question from Deputy O'Keeffe, certain improvements in the making of assessments of board and lodging of persons claiming unemployment assistance were introduced on 2 April 1980 following a review of the operation of this aspect of the scheme. As a result of these improvements the assessment of board and lodgings of a person living at home does not normally exceed 12½ per cent of the nett family income of the household and may often be considerably less.

This limit is not appropriate, however, where the person concerned is participating in the working of a farm or business and consequently entitled as a right to a return for this participation and it did not apply in the case of the person referred to in the question. This, however, made no difference to the claimant since the application of the new limit would still not have entitled him to assistance due to the substantial nature of his father's holding and the income derived from it.

167.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if his attention has been drawn to a report (details supplied) alleging that a citizen is in receipt of unemployment assistance in four different centres with a resulting income of £220 per week and that the recipient travels 100 miles in his own car in the process; if he will have this allegation investigated and the steps taken to [1574] ensure that frauds of this nature are not perpetrated in the future.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  My attention has been drawn to the newspaper report referred to by the Deputy. In accordance with its normal practice my Department are bringing the case in question to the notice of the Garda authorities for investigation. They will, of course, have the full co-operation of my Department in any inquiries they may wish to make.

168.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway, has not received disability benefit since 29 September 1980, having been declared fit for work by a medical referee and later been declared unfit for work when he applied for a job; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  The person concerned was paid disability benefit from 6 March 1972 to 27 September 1980. Payment was disallowed after that date following his examination by a medical referee who expressed the opinion that he was capable of work. He appealed against the decision to disallow payment and he was again examined by a different medical referee who also expressed the opinion that he was capable of work.

His claim has now been referred to an appeals officer for determination. The appeals officer proposes to hold an oral hearing of the appeal at an early date. He will be notified of the time and place of the appeal hearing as soon as the necessary arrangements have been made.

At the appeal hearing the person concerned will be afforded an opportunity of furnishing information to the appeals officer regarding the circumstances in which he was regarded as unfit for work when he applied for a job.

169.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in the payment of a non-contributory [1575] widow's pension to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  A claim for a widow's non-contributory pension, made by the person concerned, was rejected on the ground that her means exceeded the statutory limit of £1,196.00 per annum. Following an appeal by the widow an appeals officer has upheld the decision.

The appeals officer's decision is final and conclusive and can only be reviewed in the light of new facts or fresh evidence.

170.

Mr. Treacy:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware of the large number of people in South Tipperary who are unable to avail themselves of the free transport scheme either because of the non-availability of public transport in their areas or the inability of private operators to work the scheme; and the steps he proposes to take to remedy the situation.

171.

Mr. Treacy:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will consult with private transport operators in South Tipperary with a view to enabling people there who cannot at present avail themselves of the free transport scheme to benefit under the scheme in the future.

172.

Mr. Treacy:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if his Department have any estimate of the number of people in South Tipperary who do not at present benefit from the free transport scheme because of circumstances outside their control.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle I propose to take Questions Nos. 170, 171 and 172 together.

I am aware that there are areas of South Tipperary where the free travel scheme does not operate either because of the absence of public transport or the unwillingness of private bus operators in those areas to participate in the scheme. My Department has been in touch with [1576] all private operators in the State with a view to ensuring their participation in the scheme. On a number of occasions in recent years my Department wrote to a private bus operator in South Tipperary inviting him to participate in the scheme but these invitations were not accepted. Nevertheless I have again instructed my Department to invite all such private bus operators who provide regular scheduled services on a year round basis to reconsider participation in the scheme.

The Deputy will appreciate that it is not possible to operate the free travel scheme in areas not catered for by bus and rail services and I cannot, of course, compel any bus operator to provide a service under the free travel scheme.

I should, however, mention that persons in such areas may, if their means are not sufficient to meet their travel needs, qualify for assistance with their special travel costs under the Health or Supplementary Welfare Allowances Acts as appropriate.

The provision of an estimate of the number of people in South Tipperary who do not at present benefit from the free transport scheme is not, I regret to say, feasible in view of the fact that records are not kept on a geographical basis.

173.

Mr. Griffin:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will, exceptionally, include the tenants of Carronreddy estate, Tipperary town in the national fuel scheme, as the existing all-electric central heating system in these houses is prohibitively expensive.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  Each application for assistance under the national fuel scheme is assessed on an individual basis to determine whether the conditions for entitlement are fulfilled in each particular case. It would be inappropriate to apply the scheme to all the residents of any particular area regardless of the circumstances of the persons concerned.

174.

Mr. Griffin:  asked the Minister for [1577] Social Welfare if he will outline the reasons unemployment assistance was refused to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  The reasons that the person concerned is disqualified from receiving unemployment assistance is that his means were assessed at £17.70 weekly and as this amount exceeds the maximum rate of £16.45, unemployment assistance is not payable in his case. The assessment of the claimant's means was based on the value which he derives from the farm on which he resides. If the person concerned is dissatisfied with the decision in his case he may appeal against it and a form for this purpose will be given to him at his local office.

175.

Mr. Quinn:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware that a person (details suplied) in County Wicklow who returned to Ireland as a result of the IDA publicity campaign entitled Good Life In Ireland has now found that he is unable to qualify for certain aspects of social and health care in this country; and if he will make a ststement on the integration of such persons in relation to social and medical facilities.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  The general position regarding the social security of persons who take up insurable employment here having come from another EEC member state is governed by the EEC regulations on the social security of migrant workers. Under these regulations, a worker's insurance in other member states may be taken into account for the purpose of determining his entitlement to benefit under Irish legislation.

A person who transfers his residence to Ireland and takes up employment here is entitled to health services on the same basis as applies to the Irish population. The person referred to in the question applied for dental benefit on 5 November 1980 but has insufficient Irish insurance to satisfy the qualifying conditions for that benefit. He was previously employed in Great Britain and his British insurance [1578] record can be taken into account in considering his claim. The British authorities have been asked to supply his record.

176.

Mr. Coughlan:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he has made a decision with regard to social welfare claims made by employees of a hotel (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  Only two claims to unemployment benefit have been received to date from the persons concerned. A decision has been given by a deciding officer and payment of unemployment benefit has been authorised in each case.

177.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will give details of the extent of known frauds and abuses of the social welfare system and the cost of same to the State; if further frauds and abuses are being perpetrated; if there is any estimated cost of same; the steps at present being taken to prevent abuse; and whether any further measures are proposed or contemplated.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  The total amount of social welfare payments involved in cases of known frauds and abuses of the social welfare system in respect of 1979, the latest period for which data is available, is of the order of £400,000 which represented some .06 per cent of total social welfare expenditure.

Social welfare schemes, in common with all other public schemes, are subject to a degree of abuse and exploitation which it will never be possible to eliminate entirely. Control procedures have been reviewed and tightened where necessary and the cadre of the Department has been strengthened in those areas which are most vulnerable to abuse. A special investigation unit has been set up to deal with cases of alleged working while claiming unemployment benefits, the medical referee cadre has been strengthened, and additional staff is being allocated to employer survey work.

The whole question of fraud control is kept under close review and any necessary [1579] measures will be taken from time to time as the need arises. I am satisfied that the measures being taken by my Department are reasonable and adequate.

178.

Mr. Griffin:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reasons for the delay in the payment of pay-related benefit to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  There has been no delay in the payment of pay-related benefit to the person concerned. He last signed for unemployment benefit in April of this year.

Prior to that he had been in receipt of pay-related benefit for the period of his claim with the exception of the period from 2 April 1980. On that date he ceased to be entitled to pay-related benefit as the rate of unemployment benefit payable to him was increased by reason of the general increases in social welfare benefits and it exceeded 85 per cent of his previous net earnings. As a result no pay-related benefit was due from 2 April until 14 April the day on which he ceased to claim benefit.

179.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway has had a reduction in his disability allowance.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  The person concerned was in receipt of disability benefit from my Department from 19 September 1980 to 8 December 1980, the date of the latest medical evidence received. He was paid £20.45 per week, the maximum rate appropriate to a person without dependants.

A claim for an increase of benefit in respect of his wife was received on 15 December 1980 and an adjustment cheque in respect of the appropriate extra amount payable for an adult dependant has been issued. His weekly rate of benefit is now £33.70.

[1580]180.

Mr. Griffin:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware of the practice of recipients of the national fuel scheme subsidising the scheme by the weekly deduction of £1 from their supplementary welfare allowance; and, if so, if he approves of this practice.

193.

Mr. Treacy:  asked the Minister of Social Welfare if he is aware that persons in receipt of supplementary welfare allowances have suffered reductions in these allowances due to being granted the free fuel allowance, which resulted in little or no financial improvement in their circumstances; if he will instruct health boards to desist from such a deplorable practice; and if he will make a statement outlining the type of means test which should apply to applicants for free fuel.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos 180 and 193 together.

I presume the Deputies are referring to people in the South Tipperary area who had been receiving weekly cash supplements from the South-Eastern Health Board before the introduction of the national fuel scheme. These payments were in respect of special heating needs and since the new scheme commenced have been replaced by £2 a week fuel vouchers. There is no question of a reduction in general supplementary welfare allowances.

With regard to the criteria for eligibility under the national fuel scheme, I would refer the Deputies to my reply to Question No. 365 on 10 December 1980.

181.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare whether it is his intention to reduce the qualifying age for old-age pension to sixty-five; and, if so, when he intends to do so.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  The question of reducing the qualifying age for old age pension is one [1581] of the matters for consideration in the context of the annual budget.

182.

Mr. Crotty:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a living-alone allowance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  The person concerned has been in receipt of a contributory old age pension from my Department since 12 September 1980. He recently applied for a living alone allowance and after investigation of his claim he was awarded the allowance. A pension order book for £1.65 a week and arrears due have now been issued.

183.

Mr. Crotty:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a non-contributory widow's pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  The person concerned has been awarded a widow's non-contributory pension from 20 October 1980 at the maximum rate appropriate to a widow with nine dependent children. The pension order book payable from 5 December 1980 was sent to the designated post office for collection by her.

The arrears of pension will be paid after deduction of the amount of the supplementary welfare allowance which the widow has received since her husband's death.

184.

Mr. Crotty:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when arrears of £78 will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny, which is due to her on her late husband's non-contributory old-age pension.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  Following the death of her husband a non-contributory old age pension order book containing six orders at the rate of £9.00 per week was issued to the person concerned in July last.

[1582] According to my Department's records a further £27 is due to the late pensioners's estate in respect of pension orders uncashed. A form which was issued on 23rd June to enable the personal representative to claim this amount was not, however, returned. A duplicate form has recently been issued.

In view of the fact that the amount specified by the Deputy is at variance with my Department's records, I am arranging for a social welfare officer to call on the person concerned to correct any misunderstandings.

185.

Mr. B. Desmond:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a decision will be made in respect of an application for unemployment assistance from a person (details supplied) in Dublin; and the amount of the weekly payments in this case.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  A deciding officer gave a decision in this case. It was to the effect that by failing to give particulars of her means as required by the law the person concerned was not entitled to unemployment assistance.

The decision was made on 29 August 1980 but as the claimant did not pursue her claim to unemployment assistance, having signed on one day only on 19 August 1980, and as her home address was not known, the decision was not conveyed to the applicant.

Arrangements have now been made to post the decision to the address supplied by the Deputy.

If the person is dissatisfied with the decision in her case, she may appeal against it and a form for this purpose will be given to her at her local office.

186.

Dr. Browne:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will outline Government plans for the continuation of projects undertaken to date by the advisory committee on the development, operation and monitoring of a programme of pilot schemes to combat poverty; [1583] and whether it is his intention to utilise the services of the committee's employees in any future capacity.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  The pilot programme undertaken by the National Committee on Pilot Schemes to Combat Poverty is due to end on 31 December and I shall decide what further action should be taken when I have examined the committee's final report and recommendations.

187.

Mr. Harte:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare why he has not authorised the North Western Health Board to pay a double week before Christmas to recipients of allowances under the Social Welfare (Supplementary Welfare Allowances) Act, 1975 in line with the sanction for payment of a double week to recipients of other allowances and benefits; and in view of the urgency of and the need for such payment, if he will take immediate action to authorise such payment.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  Supplementary welfare allowances are not included in the pensions and allowances which qualify for a double week's payment this month under the recently enacted Social Welfare (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1980.

188.

Mr. White:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when arrears of disability benefit, due in respect of a period of 18 months, will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and the reason for the delay in payment to date.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  The person concerned was paid disability benefit from 1 August 1974 to 31 May 1975. He was not entitled to payment from 2 June 1975 to 5 June 1976 as he had less than the statutory minimum of 26 contributions paid or credited in the contribution year, 1974, which governed claims for disability benefit in the benefit year 1975-76.

Following the disallowance of benefit [1584] he ceased to submit medical certificates until 17 November 1977. Payment of disability benefit was then made from 17 November 1977 to 18 January 1978, when this title to benefit was exhausted on the completion of the 52 weeks payment to which he was entitled as a person having less than the 156 paid employment contributions required to qualify for payment beyond that period.

The contributions outstanding in respect of his employment from 1 September 1967 to 31 October 1972 were collected by my Department on 5 September 1978 and payment of disability benefit was resumed from that date. These contributions could only be treated as paid at the proper times for the purpose of any right to benefit prior to the date of collection if the failure to pay or the delay in payment was shown not to have been with the consent or connivance of or attributable to any negligence on the part of the insured person.

It has been ascertained that the person in this case failed to give an insurance card to his employer during the period of his employment even though he was aware that employment contributions were not being paid on his behalf. In the circumstances the contributions for which payment was received on 5 September 1978 could not be regarded as having been paid on any date prior to that date. Accordingly there are no arrears of disability benefit payable to the claimant.

189.

Mr. White:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when five weeks arrears of pension, due since August 1980 will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  The arrears which arose in this case were due to the fact that the pensioner concerned lost his pension book. The outstanding money due to him for a period of four weeks was issued to the pensioner on the 12 December 1980.

190.

Mr. Griffin:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reasons further queries have been raised on the application of [1585] a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary for disability benefit.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  The person concerned is a long-term recipient of disability benefit from my Department and her benefit cheques are issued to her on the same day each week. She complained of non-receipt of a benefit cheque which was issued to her on 26 May 1979 and a duplicate cheque was issued to her in August 1979.

Both of these cheques were produced for inspection by her and she acknowledged receipt of them. She further contended that she did not receive other benefit cheques which were issued to her in May and June 1979 and asked to inspect all cheques issued to her in that period. She will be given an opportunity to inspect the cheques as soon as possible.

191.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay by his Department in dealing with the claim of a person (details supplied) in County Galway for a widow's pension.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  The person concerned claimed a widow's non-contributory pension from my Department on 19 August 1980.

The local officer, who investigated the claim, reported that she failed to disclose her full means, derived from a small farm and shop. Her application for pension was accordingly rejected.

If at any stage she indicates that she is prepared to disclose her means for widows' pension purposes to my Department the claim will be reviewed.

192.

Mr. Boland:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare whether he is aware of recent allegations, made at an FUE seminar concerning the issuing of medical certificates; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  I am aware that statements were [1586] made recently at an FUE seminar alleging irregularities in the issue of medical certificates of incapacity for work and I am having the matter examined in so far as it relates to the services administered by my Department.

As regards disability benefit my Department have an obligation to ensure that all insured persons genuinely incapabale of work who submit medical evidence of incapacity receive their full entitlement. Equally there is an obligation to ensure that persons who are not so incapable do not receive any payment to which they are not entitled. To this end there is in operation in the Department a system of assessment by medical referees who provide independent medical opinion on all claims to disability benefit. The number of referees has this year been brought up to full strength and I am satisfied that the continued operation of the system of independent medical assessment will be successful in preventing abuse of social welfare schemes.

194.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an old age pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  The application of the person concerned for a non-contributory old age pension has been investigated and referred to the local pension committee for decision. No pension has been recommended as his means, consisting of a holding, exceed the statutory limit. If the claimant is dissatisfied with the decision of the pension committee he may appeal against it within 21 days from the date it is communicated to him.

195.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry if the vessel referred to at heading 3 in his reply to Parliamentary Question No. 198 of 26 March 1980, at present being planned by his Department, is the same vessel referred to in a press árticle (details supplied); and if so, if he will give the following [1587] information (a) if the article is accurate in its main details; (b) where the vessel was designed; (c) where she will be built; (d) the cost, principal dimensions and the expected dates for its laying down, launching and entering service; (e) if the vessel will be available for fishery protection duties; (f) who will operate it; and (g) if any consideration was given to having the Naval Service manage this vessel on behalf of his Department.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  The fisheries research vessel which I referred to in my reply of 26 March 1980 is similar to the one named in the article specified.

However, there are a number of inaccuracies in the description of the vessel, the most significant of which concerns the length of the vessel which will, in fact, be the same as the prototype, 157 feet approximately. The article is misleading in other respects. The vessel concerned is of a very successful Norwegian design and will differ from the six vessels of the class already in service only in that certain items of equipment and internal layout will be modified in accordance with specific Irish requirements. Facilities on board will be made available to certain agencies such as the National Board of Science and Technology to the maximum extent possible having regard to departmental requirements. The vessel will be equipped primarily for fishery related biological, environmental and oceanographic research. This does not rule out its being employed for other technological or research related activities within its compass whenever and should opportunities for such arise.

My Department have concluded a licence agreement with the Norwegian designers for the construction of the vessel in an Irish shipyard. The Government have decided that subject to satisfactory negotiation of contract terms and delivery dates, the building contract will be placed with Verolme Cork Dockyard Limited. Negotiations have begun with a view to commencement of building in early 1981 and entry into service in 1982.

The vessel will have an overall length [1588] of 47.5 m., will be approximately 500 gross registered tons and fitted with a 1,500 BHP engine. The design provides for accommodation for 14 crew and up to eight scientific staff. The vessel is capable of operations of up to 21 days duration.

The vessel will be operated by a civilian crew under the control of my Department. No fishery protection role is envisaged and consequently its management by the Naval Service is not contemplated.

196.

Mr. Horgan:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry the steps he will take to prevent a recurrence of the shooting accident on the weekend of 22-23 November 1980 in which a person was killed by a deer-hunter; if he will consider banning shooting in State forests, at least at weekends, in order to protect walkers; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

197.

Mr. Horgan:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry if he will review the conditions governing the issuing of licences for hunting deer to ensure that adequate safety standards in relation to human life are observed at all times.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle I will take Questions Nos 196 and 197 together.

I have directed the Forest and Wildlife Service of my Department to undertake a review of arrangements for game shooting and particularly deer stalking at State forests. I have, in the meantime, as a precautionary measure suspended all licences to hunt deer on State forest lands.

Hunting arrangements on State forest lands are kept under review and many areas have already been declared no shooting areas. In many other areas including the forest at which the accident occurred, the licence required that twenty four hours notice of the intention to shoot should be given by the licensees.

198.

Mr. O'Toole:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry when it is proposed [1589] to provide a pier at Kilcummin Harbour, County Mayo.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  My Department have recently offered Mayo County Council an Exchequer grant towards the cost of providing a half decker sloping pier and other facilities at Kilcummin. If and when the council accept this offer of grant my Department will arrange to have the works put in hand.

199.

Mr. Begley:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry if he has sanctioned the sale of four acres of land in County Donegal to a company (details supplied); and, if so, if he will outline the terms and the price.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  The company in question have been offered by my Department the lease of a site in Killybegs Fishery Harbour Centre of one and a half acres approximately as a site for a fish processing factory. It is not the practice to disclose the terms of such lease.

200.

Mr. White:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry when work will commence on the Burtonport Pier, County Donegal; and when dredging of the harbour will begin.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  Work will commence at Burtonport as soon as the necessary formalities have been completed.

201.

Mr. Tully:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry if he will furnish the following information regarding the use of a dangerous defoliant known as 245-T indicating (a) the quantity of this substance used in forests this year; (b) the stocks of 245-T in store; (c) the quantity of 245-T on order and (d) the estimated cost of this substance under (a), [1590] (b) and (c); if he is aware of the practice in his Department whereby forest workers are expected to handle and discharge this substance without protective clothing and that forest employees who object to the use of and exposure to this substance have been subjected to disciplinary measures resulting in hardship; if he will make a statement regarding his Department's policy in relation to stringent safety measures; and the safety protection afforded to the thousands of forest workers employed by his Department.

Minister for Fisheries and Foresty (Mr. Power):  I have stated in reply to previous questions by the Deputy that the chemical 245-T in the formulation used by my Department poses no threat to man or his environment and conforms to the safety requirements of the FAO and WHO organisations. I do not, therefore, accept the implications in his question regarding the danger of using the chemical for the control of woody weeds in the forest. So far as the specific matters raised by the Deputy are concerned the following is the information sought.

(a) Approximately 3,000 litres of the chemical were used in State forests in the past year the value of which would be of the order of £7,000.

(b) About 6,400 litres costing £15,000 approximately are held by the Forest and Wildlife Service at present.

(c) There is no 245-T on order at present as stocks are adequate.

It is not correct to state that forest workers are required to handle and discharge 245-T without protection. Protective clothing is made available to forest workers using all non-hazardous chemicals, including 245-T. Goggles are also provided for use when mixing the concentrate. I am not aware of any case where a forest worker was requested to handle the chemical without the provision of adequate protective clothing. Neither am I aware of any instance of disciplinary action arising from a worker's refusal to handle 245-T or any other chemical. If the Deputy has information to the contrary on either of these matters [1591] and makes it available to me I will arrange to have an investigation carried out.

I am satisfied that the existing measures in operation in my Department for the safety and health of forest workers are adequate. A copy of these instructions was forwarded to the Deputy on 9 May 1980.

202.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry whether he will introduce legislation to prohibit the export of fox skins.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  I already have the necessary powers under the Wildlife Act, 1976, to prohibit the export of fox skins.

Regulations which I made in 1979 provided that a person exporting skins required a licence from my Department. This action was intended to enable my Department to monitor the export trade and consider remedial action if this became necessary.

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that the fox is an endangered species at present but I am keeping the situation under review and should the circumstances warrant it I will consider, in consultation with the Wildlife Advisory Council, whether further restrictions or controls are necessary.

203.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry the steps being taken to process the output of State forests in this country.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  My Department maintain close contacts with the Industrial Development Authority to seek to ensure the orderly development of industry as supplies of wood from State forests become available. The intention is that so far as possible the produce of the forests will be processed in this country.

The capacity of the sawmilling is now regarded as being broadly in balance with the output from State and private forests. [1592] The level of activity is, of course, related to developments in the building sector.

As regards pulpwood the situation was affected by the closure of processing mills in the current international recession. The IDA and my Department are continuing discussions with a number of international commercial users of pulpwood regarding industrial development in Ireland.

204.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry the basis for his decision to reduce the number of salmon drift and draft net licences in the Waterford fishery area; and if he will re-consider his decision in view of the hardship which will result.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  The recently revised maximum numbers of salmon drift net and draft net fishing licences which may be issued for Waterford fishery district are related to the numbers of those licences issued for that district in 1980 with an additional nine drift net licences and three draft net licences to meet applications which may be received from other eligible applicants and to alleviate possible hardship. Accordingly I do not propose to reconsider my decision at present.

205.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry when it is intended to divide Seart Mountain, Modeligo, Cappagh, County Waterford, among the local farmers who have rights to this land.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  The fee simple of the area in question is held by the Forest and Wildlife Service of my Department but a number of local landowners enjoy grazing and other rights on the property.

Efforts are being made to effect a mutually acceptable arrangement whereby these landowners would receive individual plots in lieu of their rights, leaving the balance of the lands available for State forestry purposes.

[1593] While the majority of the parties involved appear to be satisfied with the proposed arrangements, regrettably, a minority has to date not signified acceptance. Discussions are continuing in the hope that agreement can be reached, so that the proposed division of the lands can take place.

206.

Mr. Treacy:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry if he is aware that members of the press have been barred from attending certain meetings of the newly established board of conservators; if such action is justifiable in the public interest; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  The 17 boards of conservators were dissolved and were replaced on 29 October 1980 by the Central Fisheries Board and seven regional fisheries boards. I am aware that members of the press have not been allowed to attend some meetings of these newly established boards. Attendance of members of the press at board meetings is a matter for each board to decide.

207.

Mr. Treacy:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry the steps taken to establish the headquarters of the local Southern Regional Fisheries Board at Clonmel, County Tipperary.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  The headquarters of the Southern Regional Fisheries Board is located at 12 Gladstone Street, Clonmel, County Tipperary.

As to headquarters staff, the Local Appointments Commission are recruiting a regional fisheries manager to the board. Pending that appointment an officer of my Department is acting as manager to the board on a part-time basis.

As well, the board are arranging to [1594] appoint appropriate full-time clerical staff.

208.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will list the categories that receive priority treatment in telephone installations.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  The main categories to which priority treatment in telephone installations is afforded are: Members of the Oireachtas, diplomats and chairmen of local authorities; public services including central and local authorities; persons engaged in health services including hospitals, doctors and district nurses; clergymen engaged on parochial duties; industrial, commercial and other undertakings providing a fair amount of employment; businesses and professions having particular need for telephone service — for example, travel agencies, registered hotels and guest houses, solicitors, full-time journalists; national unions and associations; existing subscribers moving to new premises; old age pensioners living alone who qualify under the telephone rental subsidy scheme operated by the Department of Social Welfare; members of local authorities; other applications in which really exceptional need can be shown for example on health or distress grounds.

209.

Dr. Loughnane:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will install a second telephone line at the County Hospital, Ennis, County Clare, immediately in view of the urgency of telephone calls at times when the existing line is engaged.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  There is no record of an application for an additional line at the County Hospital in Ennis. The hospital can be given an additional line if it requires one.

210.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he is aware of the concern within his Department regarding the irregular manner in which trainee [1595] installers are being recruited; and the reason successful applicants are not being recruited in the order of merit decided by the interview board as has been the case in the past.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  I am not aware of concern within my Department in regard to the procedure being followed for the appointment of trainee installers. All applicants who have passed the required tests for the posts of trainee installer will be offered appointments.

212.

Mr. M. O'Leary:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs whether any reduction has occurred in the number of those awaiting telephone installation; if any arrangement has been made to ensure that business expansion is not affected by lack of telephone facilities; whether he has drawn up any scheme of priorities in the installation of telephone facilities and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  There has been no reduction in the number of waiting applications for telephone service. While the rate of connections this year is much higher than ever before, demand continues to be buoyant and a reduction in the size of the waiting list is not expected for about a year or so.

The importance of an efficient telecommunications service to the industrial and commercial development of the country is fully appreciated and was a major consideration in influencing the Government to embark on the current accelerated telephone development programme.

Priority attention is accorded to applications by industrial, commercial and other undertakings providing a fair amount of employment and other businesses and professions having particular need for telephone service. My Department keep in close contact with the Industrial Development Authority on a continuing basis so that timely action can be taken to meet the telecommunications [1596] needs of new industries being established. Industrialists and other business users are encouraged to give as much advance notice as possible of their requirements so that provision can be made to meet them in time.

213.

Mr. Horgan:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the average time which elapses between a subscriber receiving a telephone number and that number being communicated to the directory inquiries section of his department.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  The average time varies from place to place but, in general, it is of the order of ten to 14 days. In recent months, however, the time may have been greater than this in some cases because of the high number of connections. Ways in which the time could be reduced substantially are being examined and it is expected that it will be possible to make some improvements quickly.

In addition, a new computer-based directory inquiry service will come into operation next year and this will ensure that the telephone numbers of new subscribers are available to the directory inquiry operators within 24 hours of connection.

217.

Mr. B. Desmond:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if, in relation to the personal reference form MP235 which is sent to public representatives and others concerning references sought by his Department in respect of persons to be employed by his Department, he will state the information it is hoped to elicit by asking whether the applicant's parents, if alive, are respectable; if he is prepared to dispence with this inquiry in the reference form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  The question is applicable to juveniles only and its purpose is to enable my Department to make some assessment of a juvenile's background and home circumstances as part of the general [1597] assessment of his suitability for post office employment.

The form is due to be revised in the very near future and I intend to have the wording of the question reviewed then.

218.

Mr. S. Walsh:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the number of applicants awaiting telephone service in Monalea estate, Firhouse, County Dublin; and when service will be provided.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  The number is about 120. It is expected that service will be provided during the second half of 1981.

219.

Mr. S. Walsh:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the number of applicants awaiting telephone service in the Watergate estate, Tallaght, County Dublin; and when service will be provided.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  The number is 27. Because of the volume of other engineering work requiring attention at present it is unlikely that service will be provided for at least another year.

220.

Mr. S. Walsh:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the number of applicants awaiting telephone service in the Old Bawn estate, Tallaght, County Dublin; and when service will be provided.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  There are eight applicants awaiting service in this estate. It is expected that service will be provided in the first quarter of 1981.

221.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the number of applicants awaiting telephone service in South West Cork; and the average waiting time between application and installation.

[1598]Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  The number is approximately 1,500. The average waiting time of applications on the waiting list is about 19 months.

222.

Mr. S. Walsh:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the number of applicants awaiting telephone service in the Springfield/Ratheen estate, Tallaght, County Dublin; and when service will be provided.

223.

Mr. S. Walsh:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the number of applicants awaiting telephone service in the Virginia Heights estate, Tallaght, County Dublin; and when service will be provided.

224.

Mr. S. Walsh:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the number of applicants awaiting telephone service in the Killinarden estate, Tallaght, County Dublin; and when service will be provided.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 222, 223 and 224 together.

The numbers of applicants awaiting telephone service in the areas mentioned are approximately as follows: Springfield/Raheen, 60; Virginia Heights, 47; Killinarden, 116.

It is expected that service will be provided for almost all of these by the end of this year.

225.

Mr. S. Walsh:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the number of applicants awaiting telephone services in the Millbrook Lawns estate and Glenview estate, Tallaght, County Dublin, and when service will be provided.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  There are eight applicants awaiting service in Millbrook Lawns estate and eleven in Glenview, Tallaght, County Dublin. It is expected that service will be provided in the first quarter of 1981.

[1599]226.

Mr. Enright:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when Moneygall telephone exchange, County Offaly, is to become automatic for the subscribers in the Moneygall/Dunkerrin area; and when the new exchange in Moneygall is going to be built.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  It is expected that the exchange building for Moneygall will be provided by mid-1981 and that the change-over to automatic working will take place in the first half of 1983.

227.

Mr. N. Andrews:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the reason for the continuing delay in meeting the application for a telephone service by a person (details supplied) in Dublin; and if he will outline the reason other applicants in the same area who applied later have had a working telephone service installed.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  The delay arose because the cable to serve the applicant was found to be faulty when service was being provided. The cable has now been repaired and service has been provided. It was possible however to provide service for other applicants in the area whose cables were satisfactory.

228.

Mr. J. Walsh:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he is aware of the very poor telephone service available on Oileán Cléire, County Cork; and if he has any plans for its improvement.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  The radio link connecting the manual exchange on the island to the mainland has been proving increasingly difficult to maintain in a condition that would ensure an acceptable standard of service. Arrangements are in hand, therefore, to replace the existing link and it is expected that work on the new link, which will enable a much better service to be provided, will be completed by mid 1981.

It is planned to convert the existing [1600] manual exchange to automatic working in 1982.

229.

Mr. R. Ryan:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the reason there is frequently a delay of over a fortnight in the delivery of parcel post within Dublin; and if he is aware that, because of the delays in the parcel post service, many firms are abandoning the postal service.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  Regular monitoring of the parcel service indicates that currently approximately 87 per cent of parcels in Dublin are delivered within two days of posting. There is no reason for a delay of the order mentioned by the Deputy, but if he lets me have particulars of any cases he may have in mind I shall, of course, be glad to have them investigated. Having regard to the standard of the service, it would be surprising if firms are abandoning it, and I have no evidence that this is happening on any significant scale.

236.

Mr. S. Walsh:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if, in view of the growth of the Tallaght area of County Dublin, he is satisfied with the number of public telephone kiosks in this area; and the number of vandal-proof kiosks already installed.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  There are 25 kiosks in the Tallaght area at present. It is planned to provide a further 24 kiosks in the Tallaght area over the next two years, beginning early next year.

Six of the existing kiosks have specially reinforced coinboxes. Sixteen of the new kiosks to be provided will be of an experimental aluminium design and will incorporate a new type coinbox which is specially strengthened.

237.

Mr. S. Walsh:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if, in view of the [1601] growth of the Tallaght area of County Dublin, he is satisfied with the number of sub-post offices serving the area; and if the number is adequate.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  I am taking steps to extend the availability of sub-post office services in the Tallaght area. An office will be opened shortly at Glenview and applications for postmaster/postmistress of a proposed office at Kilnamanagh are under consideration. Furthermore it is intended to provide a sub-post office to serve the Springfield, Fettercairn, Jobstown area when a central location for an office becomes available. The need for additional sub-post offices in the Tallaght area will be kept under review as further development takes place.

238.

Mr. S. Walsh:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the total number of telephones installed from Tallaght exchange, County Dublin, during the past 12 months.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  About 3,000.

239.

Mr. Griffin:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the reasons a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary has not yet received the sum of approximately £400 which was deposited in a Post Office savings account and bequeathed to him by his late mother who died on 1 July 1980.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  The claim in this case was not received in my Department until the middle of October. The usual inquiries were then made to confirm the death of the depositor and the entitlement of the claiment to the balance in the account. A cheque for the funeral expenses was issued direct to the undertaker on the 5 December 1980 and a cheque for the [1602] balance due was sent to the claimant on the same date.

240.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when a telephone service will be provided for an applicant (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  There is no record of receipt of an application from the person named. An application has now been recorded and it is expected that service will be offered shortly after the conversion of the local exchange to automatic working about the middle of next year.

241.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when a telephone service will be provided for an applicant (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  It is expected that service will be offered to this applicant shortly after the conversion of the local exchange to automatic working about the middle of next year.

242.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick:  (Cavan-Monaghan) asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he is aware that a number of applicants in the Loch Gowna postal and telephone district of County Cavan have been on the waiting list for telephones for six years; if he will have the installation of telephones in this area expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  It is expected that the older applications will be met early next year. Because of the volume of engineering work on hands in the district it is unlikely that service will be provided for the remaining applicants for at least another year.

243.

Mr. Crotty:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when he intends to grant free telephone service to a person [1603] (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; if he will refund the two payments of £14 and £17 which she has made since she applied for the free telephone service.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  The Department of Social Welfare have notified my Department that this subscriber is eligible for benefit under the Free Telephone Rental Allowance Scheme. The rental paid will be refunded.

244.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the reason for the delay in the reconnection of a telephone service for a business (details supplied) in County Cork as the application was lodged on 22 May 1980; and when this reconnection will take place.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  It is expected that service will be provided within the next month. The delay occurred because of the volume of work on hands.

245.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when a telephone service will be provided for a person (details supplied) in County Galway who is an old age pensioner.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  About the end of next year.

246.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when the Kinvara area of County Galway will have an automatic telephone service.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  In mid-1981.

247.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the reason for the delay in providing a telephone service for a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and when service will be provided.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  The delay in providing service has been due to a shortage of switching equipment at Youghal exchange which switches calls for the local exchange [1604] involved. Additional switching equipment has been provided and the waiting applications in the Youghal area are being cleared progressively. It is expected that service will be provided for this applicant about the middle of next year.

248.

Mr. E. Collins:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he is aware of the urgent need for a sub-post office in Ballybeg, Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  It is not considered that provision of a sub-post office is warranted in Ballybeg. The area is adequately served by the office at Lisduggan which is within a reasonable distance.

249.

Mr. Harte:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the number of applications for telephone service in County Donegal which have not been met, indicating the numbers in respect of each post office and sub-post office area; and the length of time needed to clear the backlog.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  The number is about 1,730. The breakdown requested is not readily available and compilation of it would involve a disproportionate amount of staff time.

The main concentrations are in Ballybofey, 60; Buncrana, 74; Carndonagh, 67; Donegal, 69; Falcarragh, 53; Glenties, 59; Letterkenny, 164; Killygordan, 50.

It is expected that over 1,000 of the applications will be met next year and the balance progressively thereafter.

250.

Mr. Hegarty:  asked the Minister for Transport when he will announce the commencement of work on the new vessel [1605] for Irish Shipping Ltd. to be built at Verolme Dockyards, Cork.

Minister for Transport (Mr. Reynolds):  A Bill increasing the authorised share capital of Irish Shipping Limited and enabling the Minister for Finance to increase his shareholding in the company to finance, in part, the cost of the new vessel is at present before the Oireachtas. As soon as this Bill has been enacted and implemented, the order for the new vessel will be placed by Irish Shipping Limited with Verolme Cork Dockyard without delay.

251.

Mr. Enright:  asked the Minister for Transport if his Department have had consultations with Aer Lingus in regard to the transport of Irish exports to the United States to ensure satisfactory and reasonable cost charges for these exports; if he is aware of the present charges for the export of goods to the United States and if he is satisfied with the cost of same; if he is aware of a differential between the cost scale of exports from Ireland and the cost scale of goods flown by Aer Lingus from Britain to the United States; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Transport (Mr. Reynolds):  I am aware of the present cargo rates charged by Aer Lingus between Ireland and the United States. Such rates are subject to my approval and in examining applications by the airlines for increases in rates, I take into account, among other things, the need for Ireland-U.S. rates to be set at levels which will make them economically viable while remaining attractive to the customer. The market is in a very depressed state at present and the Aer Lingus transatlantic cargo services are not profitable.

Last year, Aer Lingus operated B-707 freighter services twice weekly between London, Shannon and New York. Due to the fiercely competitive situation in the US-UK cargo market extremely low rates prevail on these routes. One result of this [1606] has been that in the last year Aer Lingus have reduced their London-Shannon-New York freighter service from two flights per week to one. For this service Aer Lingus must use the UK-US level of rates for consignments originating in or destined for London, which form the bulk of traffic. Aer Lingus consider that, despite the low level of rates prevailing, the traffic contributes to the overall economics of their freighter service and is a factor in their ability to continue to offer the service. It would be impossible to offer any transatlantic freight service if the Irish rates were to be reduced to the UK level.

252.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Transport the present annual allocation by the Government to the RNLI services; and if there are any proposals to increase this allocation in view of the institute's difficulty in providing an adequate service around the coast.

Minister for Transport (Mr. Reynolds):  The grant currently paid to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution is £30,000 per year. The amount of the grant is reviewed annually.

253.

Mr. Quinn:  asked the Minister for the Environment if he is aware of the severe dust problem being caused by a loading hopper; if he is in a position to compel the company (details supplied) to erect a screen to combat the problem which is seriously affecting an area of a quarter of a mile radius of the plant; and if he will make a statement on this grave pollution problem.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  The enforcement of the relevant regulations is a matter for the sanitary authority, in this case Dublin Corporation. I understand that complaints were made to the corporation who have been putting pressure on the company concerned to have the matter rectified.

[1607]254.

Mr. Tully:  asked the Minister for the Environment when he proposes to sanction the proposed extension to the Mornington sewerage scheme, County Meath, details of which were sent to his Department by Meath County Council on 20 June 1980.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  Having regard to the need to conserve capital for schemes of the highest priority I cannot say when I will be in a position to convey a decision to the local authority regarding the contract documents for this scheme which are under consideration in my Department.

255.

Mr. Griffin:  asked the Minister for the Environment the number of applicants in County Tipperary who are still awaiting payment in respect of the following: (i) £1,000 new house grants, (ii) house improvement grants, (iii) grants to reduce dependence on oil and (iv) water and sewerage grants.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  As I have already indicated in reply to a previous question (No. 8 on Wednesday, 3 December 1980) from the Deputy, information of the kind required is not readily available. In view of the number of applications for house improvement grants at various stages of processing, including those out for inspection, the time and cost of extracting the required information would be disproportionate and would not be justified.

256.

Mr. Griffin:  asked the Minister for the Environment the reasons for the delay to date in paying a house improvement grant to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  There has been no undue delay in this case. Following recent notification of the completion of work an inspection will be carried out as soon as possible [1608] with a view to payment of the balance of the grant. An instalment of the grant for reconstruction work and the full grant for the provision of private water and sewerage facilities have already been paid.

257.

Mr. Conlan, Mr. Timmins:  and Mr. L. Burke asked the Minister for the Environment the total number of applicants for housing reconstruction grants under the old scheme who were refused payment of the full or partial amount; and the saving to the Exchequer.

258.

Mr. Conlan:  , Mr. Timmins and Mr. L. Burke asked the Minister for the Environment the total number of applicants for new housing grants under the old scheme who have been refused payment of the full or partial amounts; and the savings to the Exchequer.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 257 and 258 together.

The statistics of housing grant applications kept in my Department do not enable the information requested to be provided.

259.

Mr. D. Andrews:  asked the Minister for the Environment if he is aware of the urgent need to hold a public inquiry in relation to the Dún Laoghaire Borough portion of the Dublin Bay Special Amenity Area Order; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  In June 1978 the Dún Laoghaire Borough Council made a special amenity area order for that part of Dublin Bay within their functional area. The Order was submitted to me for confirmation in accordance with the provisions of sections 43 of the 1963 Planning Act. As objections made to the order have not been withdrawn a public inquiry must be held before a decision on the confirmation of the order can be made. The area to which the order relates adjoins the area of Dublin Bay for which Dublin [1609] Corporation have made a special amenity area order and which was the subject of a lengthy public inquiry. I hope to finalise consideration of that order shortly. As the action to be taken on the Dublin Corporation order will have implications for the entire area of Dublin Bay, it is not proposed to proceed with consideration of the Dún Laoghaire order until consideration of the Dublin Corporation order has been finalised.

260.

Mr. D. Andrews:  asked the Minister for the Environment if he is aware of the urgent need for additional fire-fighting facilities in the Borough of Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin; and the action, if any, it is intended to take in relation to the proposal for a fire station at Kill Avenue, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the responsibility of Dún Laoghaire Corporation to make reasonable provision for the prompt and efficient extinguishing of fires in their district. I am aware that the corporation have a proposal for a new fire station at Kill Avenue under consideration and that the project is at an advanced stage of planning. It is, however, a matter for the corporation to decide whether and when to proceed with the proposal, subject to obtaining my sanction for any necessary borrowing. No proposal for approval to borrow for this project has been received in my Department.

261.

Mr. D. Andrews:  asked the Minister for the Environment if he is aware of the urgent need to complete phase two of the Blackrock drainage scheme at Salthill, County Dublin; when it is intended to begin this phase as a matter of urgency; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  The current proposal for the second [1610] stage of the Blackrock Main Drainage Scheme involves the provision of a new tidal trunk at West Pier Dún Laoghaire and a new extended sea outfall.

The proposal and certain alternatives have recently been the subject of discussions between the technical advisers of my Department and the local authority. In the light of economies which now appear possible my Department have requested Dún Laoghaire Corporation to re-examine the matter.

262.

Mr. D. Andrews:  asked the Minister for the Environment when it is intended to complete the Frascati by-pass, Blackrock, County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  I assume that the Deputy's question refers to the proposals of Dún Laoghaire Corporation for the construction of stage 2 of the Blackrock by-pass.

Detailed traffic information relative to this proposal was received in my Department on 1 September last and a clarificatory communication was received on 26 September. Following examination of this information discussions on the project were held, at engineering level on 11 November in the course of which it was established that the outline proposals submitted by the corporation might require modification to avoid possible adverse traffic and environmental effect in residential roads within the influence of the by-pass. Dún Laoghaire Corporation engineers agreed at the meeting to carry out further technical analyses essential to examination of the proposal. Confirmation of the agreement reached at the meeting was sent to the corporation in a letter from my Department dated 25 November.

I am not in a position at this stage to state when the project will be completed.

263.

Mr. Crotty:  asked the Minister for [1611] the Environment when a grant of £600 will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  The grant will be paid as soon as possible.

264.

Mr. Crotty:  asked the Minister for the Environment if files in his Department are available to Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas for inspection; and, if so, on whose authority and in what circumstances.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  It is not the practice to make files in my Department available for inspection to Members of the Oireachtas.

265.

Mr. D. Andrews:  asked the Minister for the Environment the number of persons killed on the roads in (1) the Twenty-six counties and (2) the Six counties on an annual basis over the past ten years; the number injured in both parts of the island over the same period; and the action being taken to stop the continuing mayhem by motorists on one another.

266.

Mr. D. Andrews:  asked the Minister for the Environment in view of the number of persons being killed on the roads on a daily basis, if he will now introduce an emergency road safety campaign, particularly for the Christmas and New Year holiday period; the nature of the campaign; the date of its introduction; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

267.

Mr. D. Andrews:  asked the Minister for the Environment if he will outline the main causative factors for the many road deaths and injuries over the past five years.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take [1612] Questions Nos. 265, 266 and 267 together.

Details of the numbers of deaths and injuries resulting from road accidents, together with analyses of the contributory factors involved are published annually in the Foras Forbartha Report Road Accident Facts, 1979. Similar details regarding Northern Ireland are published in the Royal Ulster Constabulary's Road Traffic Accident Report 1979. Copies of these reports are available in the Dáil Library.

Action is being taken here on a number of fronts to reduce the level of deaths and injuries on our roads. The objectives of the Road Development Plan, to which the Government are committed, include the elimination of accident black spots, and the provision of adequate signs and markings. The anti drunk-driving measures provided in the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act, 1978, have enabled the Garda to take vigorous action to deal with the menace of the drinking driver. Regulations were introduced in 1979 making compulsory the wearing of safety belts in the front seats of cars and of crash helmets on motor cycles.

Future action in relation to road safety will include:

(1) The introduction by 1 January 1983, of compulsory roadworthiness testing of heavy goods vehicles, large public service vehicles, buses and ambulances, and as soon as possible of private cars.

(2) Continuation of driver control measures which are aimed at or which contribute to road safety including the licensing of drivers, the driving test, which is well up to international standards, and the certificate of fitness which applies to persons over 70 years of age, to persons with serious disabilities seeking a driving licence and to persons seeking a licence to drive a bus.

(3) Continued support for the National Road Safety Association which has responsibility for road safety education and publicity.

(4) Continued support for roads research work which provides a valuable base for the formulation and implementation of policy in relation to road planning and construction, the improvement [1613] of traffic management and the promotion of road safety.

The organisation and implementation of road safety campaigns is a function of the National Road Safety Association, which is representative of a wide range of interests, including the local authorities, the Garda, motoring bodies and youth organisations. The association have organised a winter campaign, which will extend over Christmas and into the New Year, highlighting pedestrian and cyclist safety and the menace of drinking and driving. At the association's request, and with the co-operation of Radio Telefís Éireann, I will be making a special appeal on television for extra care on the roads over the Christmas period.

268.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for the Environment if he is aware of the fact that many group water schemes and regional water schemes in County Galway are being held up in his Department due to the lack of finance; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  Group schemes in County Galway have been installing piped water in about 1,000 houses or more each year since 1977. In 1979, 1,064 grants were paid for group schemes in County Galway — this was the second highest total for any county in the country.

The level of group schemes activity in County Galway continues at a high level in the current year. At 30 September 1980: 34 schemes were designed to serve 1,050 houses; work was in progress on 59 schemes to install water in over 3,400 houses and for which 2,700 grants approximately have been paid; 190 schemes had been fully completed which serve over 5,650 houses.

The EEC have adopted new measures for FEOGA aid to the western counties. If the programme submitted to the Commission by the Department of Agriculture is approved, I hope to be in a position early in 1981 to announce substantially increased grants for group [1614] water schemes in the western area. This should give a further boost to group scheme activity in County Galway.

I am aware of the importance of regional water schemes in facilitating further group water scheme development in the county. These regional schemes must however, be considered in the context of the overall resources available for the sanitary services programme, the need to conserve available capital for schemes of the highest priority and the number of fully approved schemes in progress or getting to construction for which adequate finance must be provided. In this connection, I would point out that six sanitary services schemes in County Galway, involving a total investment of more than £3 million, have been fully approved since 1977 and that the total capital allocation for major schemes in the county was £1.466 million in 1977 and has risen to £2.501 million in 1980. Only two of the six schemes mentioned have yet reached construction stage and two are at tender stage.

269.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for the Environment the present position regarding the proposed group water scheme at Ardrahan, County Galway.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  The design for this scheme has been approved by both my Department and Galway County Council. In view of the high cost of the scheme the group have decided to await the introduction of a new grant structure under the Regulation adopted by the EEC for a “Common Measure” for the improvement of public amenities, including rural water supplies, in the 13 western counties.

270.

Mr. Harte:  asked the Minister for the Environment the average or approximate processing and administrative costs including those of inspection, in respect of each of the following: (a) new house, (b) reconstruction and (c) water and sewerage grant applications.

[1615]Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  On the basis of some 51,000 housing grants expected to be paid in 1980 the average such cost per case would be approximately £43. As the housing grants section of my Department operates as one administrative unit, it is not possible to provide the information in respect of the separate grant categories.

271.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  asked the Minister for the Environment the up-to-date position in regard to the group water scheme at Bawnlahan, Union Hall, County Cork; the history of the scheme to date; the reason for the delay; and whether the scheme can now proceed.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  Survey sheets in respect of 20 householders willing to participate in this scheme were received in my Department in October, 1977.

The Department's group scheme inspector for the area secured permission for the group to connect to the Leap Regional Water Scheme and this was confirmed by Cork County Council in February, 1978.

The group were advised to have a design prepared but no design has so far been submitted to my Department. In February 1980 the group scheme inspector reported that only 13 out of the 20 houses in the area were participating in the scheme and that provisional costings indicated that the scheme would be uneconomic. In March 1980 Cork County Council proposed to make a special contribution of £14,500 to the group scheme. In July 1980 the Department informed the council that, in view of the small size of the scheme and having regard to the limited funds available, they could not approve the special contribution. It was suggested to the council that the scheme be deferred pending the introduction of the proposed new grant structure under the regulation adopted by the EEC for a “Common Measure” of the improvement of public amenities, including rural water supplies, in 13 western counties. The parts of West Cork to which the regulation applies include the area in [1616] question. I am hopeful that the programme submitted to the EEC Commission will be approved in the near future and that this will facilitate increased participation by householders in the area and make the economics of the scheme more attractive.

272.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick:  (Cavan-Monaghan) asked the Minister for the Environment the reason for the delay in paying a fuel conversion grant to a person (details supplied) in County Cavan; and if he will arrange for immediate payment.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  The grant will be paid as soon as possible. Any delay in dealing with the case has been due to the hugh number of applications for housing grants being processed in my Department.

273.

Mr. W. O'Brien:  asked the Minister for the Environment the total capital allocation for: (a) housing construction, (b) water supplies and (c) sewerage schemes, made available to (i) Dublin Corporation and (ii) Dublin County Council in 1978 and 1979 and in 1980 to-date.

274.

Mr. W. O'Brien:  asked the Minister for the Environment the total capital allocation made available to all local authorities for: (a) housing construction, (b) water supplies and (c) sewerage schemes in 1978 and 1979 and in 1980 to-date.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to take Questions Nos. 82 and 83 together.

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the form of a tabular statement which, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to have circulated with the Official Report.

Following is the statement:

[1617] TOTAL CAPITAL ALLOCATIONS

Local Authority Housing Construction Water Supply and Sewerage Schemes
1978 1979 1980 to date 1978 1979 1980 to date
£m £m £m £m £m £m
All local authorities 87.2255 90.20 113.7485 29.335 36.0 46.75
Dublin Corporation 28.50 30.00 35.00 2.110 1.034 1.00
Dublin County Council 10.30 10.50 12.050 3.735 3.808 6.625

Separate figures for (a) water supplies and (b) sewerage schemes are not available.

275.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  asked the Minister for the Environment whether he is aware of difficulties in obtaining housing loans from Cork County Council; and if he will make sufficient funds available to the council to enable them to issue loan sanctions.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  I am not aware of any delay in the issue of housing loan approvals due to the lack of finance by Cork County Council. I am informed by the council that, in the period 1 January to 12 December 1980 887 loan approvals valued at £9.9 million were issued. The council propose to approve a further 26 loans valued at £258,000 before the end of December to bring the total number of loans approved during the year to 913 with a value of £10.16 million. This compares with 796 loans valued at £6.72 million approved in 1979.

276.

Mr. White:  asked the Minister for the Environment when a reconstruction grant will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  Notification that work has been completed has not been received from this applicant. On receipt of such a notification the grant will be paid if an inspection confirms that work has been satisfactorily completed and is eligible for grant.

277.

Mr. Griffin:  asked the Minister for [1618] the Environment the reasons for the long delay to-date in the payment of a home improvement grant to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  Any delay in dealing with this case is due to the huge number of applications for housing grants being processed in my Department. An inspection with a view to payment of a grant will be carried out as soon as possible.

278.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for the Environment if he is aware that the draft electoral register for County Galway will not be published until the end of December 1980; and if, in view of the fact that 1 December is the publication date each year, he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  I understand from the county council that there has been some delay in the publication of the new draft register but that they expect to publish it within the next day or two.

279.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for the Environment when a home improvement grant will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  The grant will be paid as soon as possible.

[1619]280.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for the Environment when a £1,000 new house grant will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  This person was notified on 18 November 1980 that a grant could not be allowed as the floor area of the new house exceeds the prescribed maximum floor area of 125 square metres allowed for grant purposes.

281.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick:  (Cavan-Monaghan) asked the Minister for the Environment the reason for the delay in the payment of a £1,000 new house grant to persons (details supplied) in County Cavan; and if he will now arrange for payment.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  There was no undue delay by my Department in paying this grant. The inspector reported recently that the house has been satisfactorily completed and occupied by the applicant. The grant will be paid as soon as possible.

282.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for the Environment the reason for the delay in the payment of a reconstruction grant to a person (details supplied) in County Waterford; and when payment will be made.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  Any delay in dealing with this case is due to the huge number of applications for housing grants being processed in my Department. An instalment of £400 of the grant is being paid following a recent inspection which established that work had not been fully completed. When notification of completion of the work is received in my Department, a further inspection will be arranged with a view to payment of the balance of £200.

283.

Mr. White:  asked the Minister for the Environment when the necessary finance will be allocated to complete the shore road, Killybegs, County Donegal.

[1620]Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  The cost of works on the road in question would normally fall to be met from Donegal County Council's own resources, supplemented by the general or block grant provided annually from my Department's Vote. An application has been received from the county council for a special grant towards the cost of the work and I am considering this.

284.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for the Environment the reason for the delay in the payment of a new house grant to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  Under section 4 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1979, and Article 10 of the Housing Regulations, 1980 a new house grant may not be allowed in this case as the builder from whom the house was purchased had not obtained a certificate of reasonable value in respect of the house.

285.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for the Environment when a £1,000 new house grant will be sanctioned for a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  An incomplete application was received by my Department from this person at the end of last month. When the outstanding information requested by my Department is received the application will receive early attention.

286.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick:  (Cavan-Monaghan) asked the Minister for the Environment the reason for the delay in the payment of a home improvement grant to a person (details supplied) in County Cavan; and if he will arrange to have the grant paid without further delay.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  Notification that work has been completed has not been received from [1621] the applicant. On receipt of such a notification the grant will be paid if an inspection confirms that the work is eligible for a grant and has been satisfactorily completed.

287.

Mr. O'Keeffe:  asked the Minister for the Environment whether he is aware that Cork County Council is unable to pay supplementary reconstruction grants to applicants who are entitled to them, as finance for the scheme is not being made available by the Government; and if he will take immediate steps to remedy this situation.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  Cork County Council are responsible for the operation, including the financing, of the housing loan and supplementary grant schemes in their area. Local authorities are required to use for these purposes income from their capital receipts from special loan prepayments and 55 per cent of the proceeds of sales of local authority dwellings. The balance is made up by borrowing from the Local Loans Fund.

Because of the exceptionally heavy demand for housing loans in 1980 the major portion of available funds has been used by the council for this purpose. Present resources do not permit the issue of further moneys from the Local Loans Fund for the payment of supplementary reconstruction grants in 1980 but such moneys will be available early in 1981.

288.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for the Environment the up-to-date position regarding the provision of a by-pass road at Kilkenny.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  Kilkenny County Council are proceeding with detailed design of phase 1 of its proposals for ring road or by-pass road, providing for 2.25 miles of single carriageway linking the Dublin and Callan roads and for a bridge over the river [1622] Nore. A preliminary report for the proposed bridge is being examined in my Department.

A compulsory purchase order for the acquisition of 38.6 acres of land required for the ring road has been confirmed and the county council are at present engaged in land acquisition negotiations.

289.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for the Environment the up-to-date position regarding the provision of a by-pass road at Naas, County Kildare.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  Detailed proposals submitted by Kildare County Council for the Naas By-Pass were approved on 30 September 1978 and the Naas By-Pass Motorway scheme made by the County Council was approved on 29 May 1979. Contractors recently appointed for the earthworks and drainage element of the project have commenced operations. Contractors have been appointed for two of the bridges involved in the project and construction is in progress. Final contract documents for two further bridges and tender documents for another were received recently in my Department and are being examined. Final contract documents have been approved for two accommodation bridges.

Grants totalling £2,605,000 have been allocated to date for the project including £2,150,000 in the current year.

290.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for the Environment if he intends to provide the necessary finance in 1981 for the provision of the bridge at Dungarvan by-pass road, County Waterford now that the land on either side of the Colligan river estuary has been acquired and that work on the approach roads is at an advanced stage.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  I understand that the results of site investigations for a new bridge are being examined by Waterford County [1623] Council. The question of the financing of the scheme will be considered when the council's detailed proposals have been received.

291.

Mr. Harte:  asked the Minister for the Environment the reason the final instalment of a grant of £325 has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal who has been living in his home for five years and who received his last payment four years ago.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  Through an oversight in my Department, payment of an additional sum of £150 allocated in this case was not made. Payment will now be made as soon as possible.

296.

Mr. Crotty:  asked the Minister for Labour when redundancy payment will be made to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny, who was employed for many years by a company (details supplied) which is now in liquidation.

Minister for Labour (Mr. Nolan):  The employee in question was paid a lump sum from the redundancy fund on 3 November 1980.

297.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for Labour if he is aware of the large number of unemployed in Galway city and county; and the plans the Government have to provide employment.

Minister for Labour (Mr. Nolan):  I am aware of the numbers registered at the Employment Exchanges and Offices in Galway city and county, where in fact, the rate of increase in unemployment during the past year was among the lowest in the country.

The Government seek to promote employment in Galway through various ongoing measures and a number of proposed measures which include: the generation [1624] of employment through general economic and budgetary measures; the promotion of industrial employment in the area through the various grants and incentives provided by the Industrial Development Authority and Údarás na Gaeltachta; the additional job-creation measures being undertaken by the Government in fulfilment of their commitment under the National Understanding for Economic and Social Development which will benefit the area. These measures include a major construction programme involving hospitals and all areas of education — primary, secondary and third level — including an extension to the Engineering School at University College Galway, and the provision of extra expenditure for local authority housing, house purchase loans and grants, road works and sanitary and environmental services; the payment of wage subsidies (a) under the employment incentive scheme to encourage employers to recruit unemployed adults and school leavers and (b) under the employer's temporary subvention; the provision of employment, mainly for young people, through the special employment schemes namely the Work Experience Programme, the Community Youth Training Programme, the Temporary Grants Scheme for Youth Employment and the Environmental Improvement Schemes Programme, which operate in the county; the transfer of sections of the Department of Defence to Galway city as part of the Government's programme of decentralisation of Government offices. Sections of the Department of the Gaeltacht were transferred to Galway in July and further transfers are envisaged. In addition to the employment being provided directly by these transfers, jobs will be generated in the construction and ancillary industries through the provision of the necessary offices and in services through the spin-off effect; the training, placement and guidance services provided by AnCO and the National Manpower Service in the county which enhance the job prospects of unemployed persons, and the establishment of a regional manpower committee in the Western Planning [1625] Region (Galway and Mayo) early next year.

298.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Labour the number of State bodies empowered to hold elections to appoint worker-directors to their boards under the terms of legislation introduced several years ago; the number of such bodies that have invoked this legislation; and the number, if any, who have not.

Minister for Labour (Mr. Nolan):  The Worker Participation (State Enterprises) Act, 1977, provides for the holding of elections among employees in seven State bodies (Aer Lingus Teoranta; Bord na Móna; British and Irish Steam Packet Company; Comhlucht Siúicre Éireann Teoranta; Córas Iompair Éireann; Electricity Supply Board; and Nítrigéin Éireann Teoranta) following which one-third of the boards of these bodies would comprise employees elected by the work force.

Elections have now been completed in six of the State bodies concerned. In the remaining case, Aer Lingus, I expect to be in a position to make orders for the holding of an election in the New Year, when consultations will have concluded between the company and the trade unions.

It is also my intention, in accordance with the terms of the second national understanding, to prepare legislative proposals for an extension of the principle of employee participation at board level to additional State enterprises.

299.

Mr. Begley:  asked the Minister for Labour if he will make a statement regarding the proposed redundancies at a factory (details supplied) in County Kerry.

Minister for Labour (Mr. Nolan):  I was formally notified under the Protection of Employment Act, 1977 by letter dated 17 November 1980 from the company of their intention to reduce the work force [1626] at the factory in question by 80 persons on 31 December 1980. The reason advanced for the redundancies is a rationalisation programme to rectify a loss-making position. I understand that the redundancies are being achieved on a voluntary basis.

300.

Mr. L'Estrange:  asked the Minister for Labour the total estimated number of school leavers available for work in August 1980; the number who obtained employment between August and December 1980, and the action the Government intend to take to provide work for school leavers.

Minister for Labour (Mr. Nolan):  Approximately 63,000 terminal leavers would have left from all levels of educational system during the 1979-80 school year, with the vast majority leaving during the June-July period this year. An estimated 60,000 of these entered the labour force. It is not yet possible to indicate the number who actually obtained employment up to December this year but the school leavers surveys carried out by the National Manpower Service and reports of the Association of Irish University Careers and Appointments' Services show that the vast majority of school leavers entering the labour market after any particular school year find employment early in the following calendar year.

The Government policies and programmes directed towards providing employment for young people include: general economic and budgetary measures which have, inter alia, the objective of generating employment; grants and incentives provided by development bodies such as the Industrial Development Authority, SFADCO and Údarás na Gaeltachta; the additional job-creation measures being undertaken by the Government under the National Understanding for Economic and Social Development; the provision of employment, training and work experience for school leavers through the Special Youth Employment Schemes, namely, the [1627] Work Experience Programme, the Community Youth Training Programme, the Temporary Grants Scheme for Youth Employment and the Environmental Improvement Schemes Programme; the payment of wage subsidies under the Employment Incentive Scheme to encourage employers to recruit unemployed school leavers, and the training, placement and guidance services provided by AnCO and the National Manpower Service for school leavers which enhance their job prospects.

Finally, I might mention two significant developments in relation to the youth employment situation. Firstly at my request the Manpower Consultative Committee undertook an examination of the youth employment situation. The report of a working party of the committee set up for this purpose has just been published. The report makes a number of important recommendations in relation to the youth employment situation which will be given the fullest consideration. Secondly the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have agreed at our request, to carry out a major examination of our youth employment policies next year. Both of these developments should ultimately lead to further improvements in the youth employment situation.

301.

Mr. L'Estrange:  asked the Minister for Labour (a) the total number of firms that have closed since June 1977; (b) the number on short-time at present; (c) the number of people who have lost their jobs due to closures since 1977; (d) the number it is anticipated will become unemployed due to closures in 1981 and (e) the steps being taken to stop the slide into recession.

Minister for Labour (Mr. Nolan):  (a) and (c): Based on information available to the Industrial Development Authority and the Department of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, the best estimate for the number of firms engaged in manufacturing industries which closed since the beginning of 1977 to the end of November [1628] 1980 is 175 and the approximate number of jobs lost because of these closures is 11,255. Reliable data is not available on the service sector.

(b) The number of persons on systematic short-time working registered at local employment offices at the end of November 1980 was 8,229.

(d) The estimate for job losses in manufacturing for the period from end 1980 to end 1981 is 16,000, a figure which covers job losses arising from closures and for other reasons. From past experience, the major element will be temporary reductions in employment in firms experiencing short term difficulties.

(e) I do not accept the inference in the last part of the Deputy's question. While the general world economic recession and its domestic repercussions are offsetting the number of new jobs created by exceptional high job losses, firm Government action is being taken. For example, measures to assist firms to maintain their employment levels have been strengthened and are being co-ordinated by a group comprising representatives of the Departments of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Labour and Agriculture, the IDA, Fóir Teoranta, the Industrial Credit Company and CTT. In addition, extra finance is being made available to Fóir Teoranta for this purpose.

I am glad to say that there are a number of welcome developments indicating that the worst of the recession is over. For example, the increase in the numbers unemployed between the end of October and end November was much lower than in previous months when seasonal factors are taken into account. Again, new jobs created and job approvals are at a much higher level than in the period immediately following the first oil price shock in 1974.

Existing Government investment and economic promotion policies, and their results, are directed towards the achievement of high levels of job creation. The Government intend to publish shortly an Investment Plan for 1981.

In the meantime, the Government has devised new measures, involving additional expenditure of £97 million this year, which should develop our future [1629] employment creation capacity. A major element consists of additions to the provisions for infrastructure in the public capital programme. Aside from the immediate contribution to employment, the strenghthening of the country's productive and infrastructural base should add significantly to our employment-creation capacity in future years.

Additional measures to attract new industry here will include the purchase of sites and vacant factories, the construction of advance factories and intensified promotional activity by the IDA, SFADCo and Údarás na Gaeltachta.

I would again repeat the importance of buying Irish. In this connection, a working party, which has been set up under the Chairmanship of Deputy Dennis Gallagher, Minister of State at the Department of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, has drawn up an action programme and already initiated measures to intensify the use of domestic products and services. New measures to promote export have also been drawn up by CTT.

302.

Mr. Horgan:  asked the Minister for Labour the decisions which have been taken on the implementations of the ILO Convention, No. 140 on paid educational leave in accordance with paragraph 47 of the National Understanding, 1980.

Minister for Labour (Mr. Nolan):  The Government's decisions on this matter will be announced in due course.

303.

Mr. Kenny:  asked the Minister for Labour if he will indicate the various EEC assisted schemes that exist for the promotion of employment among young people; the method of financing each such scheme; the level of employment achieved under each; and the proposals, if any, that exist to extend each scheme.

Minister for Labour (Mr. Nolan):  The EEC-assisted schemes that exist for the [1630] promotion of employment mainly among young people are: — Environmental Improvement Schemes Programme — Temporary Grants Scheme for Youth Employment — Work Experience Programme — Employment Incentive Scheme.

The schemes are financed initially by moneys voted by the Exchequer and all receive aid from the European Social Fund within agreed limits. In addition the Temporary Grants Scheme for Youth Employment and the Environmental Improvements Scheme received contributions this year from the Employment Guarantee Fund. The Environmental Improvements Scheme also received a contribution from the Inner City Fund.

Level of employment achieved is as follows:—

Environmental Improvements Schemes Programme — 2,130 (man-years' employment), 1978 to 1980 (to date).

Temporary Grants Scheme for Youth Employment — 1,494 (man-years' employment), 1977 to 1980 (to date).

Work Experience Programme — 3,456 (man-years' employment), 1977 to 1980 (to date).

Employment Incentive Scheme — 12,000 (young persons involved), 1977 to 1980 (to date).

The schemes are reviewed annually. A decision regarding any possible extensions in 1981 will be made when the various Departments' budgetary proposals are being considered. In addition, the European Social Fund provides assistance for vocational training programmes for young persons as follows:—Community Youth Training Programme; Career Training Programme; Apprenticeship Training Programme; Pre-Employment Courses; Courses for Middle-Level Technician and Secretarial Skills.

304.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Labour the reason labourers and tradesmen employed by AnCO on outside pro jects are not having their insurance cards stamped so that they can claim unemployment benefit when they become redundant.

[1631]Minister for Labour (Mr. Nolan):  Sponsors of projects approved for assistance under the AnCo Community Youth Training Programme are required to employ a foreman and receive a contribution from AnCo to cover the costs incurred in this regard. The sponsors are advised by AnCo at the outset of their responsibilities as employers, in particular in so far as those relate to compliance with the Social Welfare Acts.

In addition unemployed workers, including tradesmen and skilled labourers, are offered training opportunities with AnCo designed to expand or update their skills. This may include a period of experience on an outside project run under the AnCO Community Youth Training Programme. While in the AnCO system these trainees receive a weekly training allowance. They are insured for occupational injuries under section 16 of the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1967 and are given “credits” to preserve whatever entitlement they may have accumulated to unemployment benefit as provided by the Social Welfare (Contributions) (Amendment) Regulations, 1968. As trainees are not employed by AnCO the question of entitlement to redundancy payments does not arise.

305.

Mr. Tully:  asked the Minister for Labour the location of factories, warehouses and other premises where industrial activities are carried out by Bord na Móna as notified to his Department; and the number of persons employed on these premises having regard to the Factories Act, 1955.

Minister for Labour (Mr. Nolan):  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to circulate in the Official Report a statement setting out the location of premises where industrial activities are carried out by Bord na Móna as notified to my Department and the numbers employed at these premises who are covered by provisions of the Factories Act, 1955.

Location No. Employed
Donegal
Kilrain, Glenties 6
Galway
Killaderry — Ballyforan 8
Larragh — Attymon 14
Kerry
Lyracrumpan 2
Barna 6
Kildare
Lullymore/Carbury 142
Timahoe 56
Ballydermot 71
Newbridge 32
Kilberry 70
Laois
Togher — Portlaoise 95
Mayo
Abhainn Einne 88
Grahmore, Bangor Erris 13
Offaly
Garryhinch 4
Derrygreenagh 179
Mount Lucas 127
Clonsast 110
Ballycan 32
Rosfaraghan 19
Boora 163
Moorock 6
Shannonbridge 82
Derrinlough 84
Roscommon
Mount Dillon 19
Tipperary
Baunmore 12
Derryhogan 50
Westmeath
Grangemore 30
Coolnagun 17

[1632]

308.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan:  asked the Minister for Energy if he will request the ESB and other appropriate authorities to consider the possibility of the erection of a coal burning station in the area of the Leinster coal fields in Rossmore and Doonane area of County Laois; and if he will obtain the early reports of experts on this matter.

Minister for Energy (Mr. Colley):  I [1633] have been informed by the Electricity Supply Board that the burning of anthracite of the kind available from the coal mine at Rossmore, for the generation of electricity, is not possible in any of the existing ESB power stations, and that in any case, because this anthracite is high grade, such a use would not be the most economic use of fuels.

More generally, in regard to any deposits of low grade coal and anthracite and, in particular, deposits in the Leinster coal fields, the ESB, in the coming year, will be constructing a test boiler in the National Institute for Higher Education, Limerick, to test such deposits as a fuel for generation of electricity. The test boiler is being partly funded by the EEC and considerable development work will be needed to determine whether a plant can be designed that would successfully burn these coals.

The ESB have also informed me that the total area of the Leinster coal fields will be analysed and tested and that any other sizeable deposits of coal will be investigated. However, it could be some years before it is known whether a power station burning such fuels is possible.

309.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Energy if he has any plans for utilising surplus forest thinning as a source of fuel or for generating electricity.

Minister for Energy (Mr. Colley):  In the course of discussions with the Electricity Supply Board on future policy, I have indicated to the board that our electricity generation planning should be on the assumption of decreasing availability of primary energy from traditional external sources. Among the alternative or supplementary energy sources under development by Government agencies, biomass is one with the most immediate potential. The Electricity Supply Board have been active in promoting and participating in the national and international programmes to develop the use of renewable timber fuels. Successful tests [1634] of the use of timber wastes have already been carried out in the Cahirciveen Power Station. Further tests using thinnings from forests will shortly commence.

I also propose to pursue the possibility of timber briquette production based on forest thinnings as the raw material but these products would be primarily aimed at the domestic market.

310.

Mr. Harte:  asked the Minister for Energy, arising out of the funds from the EEC for electricity development in disadvantaged areas, if he will favourably consider a claim for inclusion of any house in existence during the original canvass of any area for rural electrification and if he will ensure that supply will be given on the same basis as that on which the other houses were supplied; and if he will give special consideration to the Cark area in Letterkenny and other homes in County Donegal which do not have electricity.

Minister for Energy (Mr. Colley):  I am not in a position to say at this stage who will benefit from the EEC scheme.

Last May the Council of Agricultural Minister of the EEC approved a package of measures designed to stimulate agriculture in the less favoured areas of the west of Ireland. One of the measures is an electrification scheme for farms and villages whose inhabitants depend mainly on agriculture. The electrification scheme will be implemented over a ten year period. A condition of the scheme is that the beneficiaries will be required to contribute 20 per cent of the cost.

An outline programme for the various measures in the package, including electrification, has been submitted to the EEC Commission and must be approved before detailed measures can be considered and implemented. When details of the scheme have been formulated the various measures will be published extensively. At that stage it will be open to those who consider that they are eligible to apply for assistance under the scheme.

[1635]311.

Mr. O'Toole:  asked the Minister for Energy if he is aware of the monopoly position that now exist in the importation of coal; if he regards this desirable and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Energy (Mr. Colley):  I am not aware of a monopoly position in the importation of coal in the sense that there are not, to my knowledge, any regulations or import controls which would preclude interested persons from engaging in the coal trade.

It is well known however that, largely as a result of developments in the trade over the past decade or so, some areas are served by a single importer. This is a development outside my control but I should make it clear that interested parties, who have the necessary resources and facilities available to them, are at all times free to engage in the importation of coal.

As I indicated in reply to a recent question by another Deputy, the statutory procedures for investigating the public interest aspects of the present importation and general trading arrangements are not within my area of responsibility. I should mention, however, that my Department's close monitoring of the coal trade has given me no reason to believe that any difficulties experienced in the past by consumers could be primarily attributed to abuse of a monopoly position. In the circumstances which I have outlined there does not appear, at the present time, to be either scope or justification for formal, official intervention in the matter. This is not to say that the position does not need to be considered in the broader context of energy supply policy. While there are, for instance in the Dublin area, no formal constraints on new entrants to the coal importing business, there are practical difficulties of considerable proportions. I have a concern in these broader implications and the situation will continue to have my attention.

312.

Mr. Harte:  asked the Minister for Energy if he will consider making funds [1636] available to assist farmers and others in rural areas who wish to purchase single-phase to three-phase electric convertor units, which primarly would overcome the present difficulty of voltage dip at peak load periods and which would also guarantee a level of supply and in turn prevent the problem of electric motors burning out because of low voltage; if regard will be had to the replacement cost of electric motors and the energy saving aspect of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Energy (Mr. Colley):  I have been informed by the ESB that the use of single phase to three phase connectors is not the answer to low voltage about which the Deputy seems to be mainly concerned. Electric motors whether single or three phase may burn out under low voltage conditions if adequate protection is not fitted.

The ESB have also informed me that, in the main, single to three phase convertors have little application to motor loads below three horse power. The vast majority of electric motors used on farms are below three horse power.

The conclusion to be drawn from the foregoing advice is that the allocation of funds for the purpose mentioned by the Deputy would not be appropriate.

When investigating low voltage complaints the board has frequently found that customers have installed additional electrical load without prior consultation with local ESB staff as to the adequacy of networks in the area to cater for such load. It would be advisable that people should always consult the ESB about proposed additional electrical installations.

313.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for Energy the plans he has for a fair proportion of the Kinsale gas to be piped to the west of Ireland in view of the fact that the greatest scope for industrial development is in that area.

Minister for Energy (Mr. Colley):  I have no immediate plans to pipe Kinsale gas to the west of Ireland. The economic [1637] rationale for extending the Cork system would be to capture premium gas markets of substantial size and I have, therefore, given priority to the detailed examination of the feasibility of piping Kinsale gas to the established premium market in the Dublin area. Given the need to make the best use of available indigenous fuels, the target markets for Kinsale gas must, in the first instance, be the premium domestic, commercial and institutional cooking and heating loads. The exploitation, in the initial stages, of large available markets such as these not only provide the optimum economic basis on which to finance the extension of the gas system but it is also the most efficient use of the gas in energy terms.

I would not rule out the possibility of further expansion of the gas distribution system in the event of the Cork-Dublin pipeline proving economically viable. The development of a gas distribution system in the west of Ireland would be given full consideration in such a context, as indeed would all other areas.

314.

Mr. Donnellan:  asked the Minister for Energy if he is aware of a report (details supplied) regarding a find of four million tonnes of valuable industrial mineral on the island of Inishbofin; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Energy (Mr. Colley):  I am aware that recent exploration work has established the presence of a substantial deposit of talc-magnesite on Inishbofin. The exploration company concerned has informed my Department that further prospecting work will be required to delineate the extent of the deposit. Mineralogical and other tests have also been put in train by the company to determine more fully the characteristics of the deposit and to assess its potential for commercial development.

315.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if levies are imposed by [1638] EEC countries at present on any goods being exported to member states from this country; if so, if he will give details of such levies; whether they are in contravention to EEC regulations; and if so, the action being taken to have them removed.

316.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the levies imposed by the other member states of the EEC on exports from Ireland since our accession; the dates of the impositions; the average length of time before the levies were removed; and the penalties imposed in each case on the offending country or countries.

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Lenihan):  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle I propose to take questions Nos. 315 and 316 together.

Levies on intra-community trade in the sense of customs duties or measures having an equivalent effect are forbidden under the Treaty of Rome. Accordingly in the course of Ireland's transition period duties imposed by other member states on goods exported from Ireland were progressively abolished and have not been reimposed.

317.

Dr. Browne:  asked the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism if he will ask the IDA to ensure that all trade unions are provided with an equal opportunity for recruiting members in grant-aided multi-national companies establishing factories in this country.

Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism (Mr. O'Malley):  I am informed by the Industrial Development Authority that it is their policy to adopt a strictly impartial attitude in relation to trade union representation when new industrial projects are being negotiated. It is not the IDA's practice to recommend a specific trade union or trade unions.

318.

Mr. E. Collins:  asked the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism if [1639] he is aware of the imminent redundancies affecting 120 employees (details supplied) in Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism (Mr. O'Malley):  I am aware that the company in question has announced its intention to make 120 of its 380 workers redundant in the New Year. I understand that these redundancies have been caused by the failure of the company's sales in the US market to develop to the extent anticipated earlier this year. I am informed, however, that if market conditions should improve the company would expect to be in a position to increase its work force again during 1981.

319.

Mr. Harte:  asked the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism the plans the Industrial Development Authority have for industrial promotion in Moville, Lifford, Ramelton, Milford, Raphoe, Rathmullen and Cardonagh, County Donegal; and in view of the serious male and female unemployment in these areas where there are few job opportunities for school leavers, and little hope of employment for people who have been on the unemployment register for long periods, the steps he proposes to take to meet the needs of these areas.

Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism (Mr. O'Malley):  Whilst I am very conscious of the unemployment situation in County Donegal, I would not agree with the Deputy's claim that there is a lack of employment opportunities in the areas mentioned. Industrial employment in Donegal rose by over 20 per cent in the the period January 1977 to January 1980.

In its current industrial plan, which covers the period 1978-1982, the Industrial Development Authority has set a target of creating 1,800 new jobs for the two town groups which comprehend the towns referred to by the Deputy. To date, the IDA has approved industrial projects with the potential to create 2,017 jobs for these town groups.

[1640] The IDA has, at present, over 90 acres of land available for industrial development in the county. This includes 4½ acres of land in Moville and five acres in Lifford. The Authority has a 7,000 sq. ft. advance factory in Moville for which a project is under negotiation at present. In addition, construction of a 7,000 sq. ft. factory in Cardonagh has commenced.

In the industrial plan town groupings covered by the Deputy's question, a total of 141,000 sq. ft. of advance factory space is either available or planned and the county is receiving priority treatment for industrial development purposes with high levels of grant assistance being offered for suitable projects.

320.

Mr. E. Collins:  asked the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism if he is aware of the very unsatisfactory level of unemployment in Waterford city and county; and if he will outline the steps that he, the Industrial Development Authority and other state agencies are taking to bring industries, including tertiary industries, to Waterford city and county.

Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism (Mr. O'Malley):  I am very concerned about the current level of unemployment in Waterford city and county.

I am informed by the Industrial Development Authority, which is paying special attention to the Waterford area, that it has approved more than 6,600 new grant-aided jobs for the area since January 1978. On current trends it is likely that the Authority will exceed the job creation targets set for Waterford city and county in its industrial plan 1978-82. Major new industries announced during the year include an American company, Bausch and Lomb Incorporated, which is expected to employ over 600 by 1983, and a German company, Heinz Finzer, which expects to employ over 600 person within the next five years. The Authority has provided 1½ million sq. ft. of advance factory space in Waterford and, in addition, has over 620 acres of land available for further industrial development. I am [1641] informed that the Authority is giving active consideration to the construction of further advance factory space in the Waterford area under the next phase of its factory programme.

321.

Mr. B. Desmond:  asked the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism if the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards is continuing to receive consumer complaints from the general public with a view to the issuing of independent technical reports to the parties concerned; and if he will make a statement on the current role of this service.

322.

Mr. B. Desmond:  asked the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism the number of staff currently employed by the complaints section of his Department for the general public in relation to consumer matters; the budget of the section concerned; the number of complaints received during 1979; and the total number of complaints received to date in 1980; and if he will make a statement on the future role of this section with particular reference to the telephone number and address of the section being made more widely known to the general public.

Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism (Mr. O'Malley):  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle I propose to take Questions Nos. 321 and 322 together.

Consumer complaints, in so far as they impinge on my Department's activities, come under three headings:

(a) The consumer protection section of my Department deals with complaints under the Sale of Goods legislation. These would be mainly disputes concerning allegedly defective goods and services.

(b) The Director of Consumer Affairs, whose office was created by the Consumer Information Act, 1978, deals with complaints under that Act. These are concerned mainly with misleading [1642] advertisements and false and misleading trade descriptions.

(c) The Institute for Industrial Research and Standards deals with complaints regarding the safety of products, and also gives technical advice on product standards and quality.

Each of these agencies is doing excellent work in helping the public with complaints about the supply of goods and services. Nevertheless I have felt for some time that their various roles may need to be rationalised. Proposals for a uniform system of helping consumers with complaints, with the Director of Consumer Affairs as its focal point are under consideration and I have already arranged that, with effect from 1 January 1981, the director will handle the type of consumer complaints currently being dealt with within my Department.

The handling of consumer complaints within the Department has been only one of the many responsibilities of the consumer protection section. For this reason, it is not possible to be specific as to the allocation of resources to that part of the section's work related to consumer complaints.

From 1 July 1980 to date, a total of 2,386 complaints were received in my Department; a record was not kept of the number of complaints received in 1979 or in the first half of 1980.

The institute is continuing to receive consumer complaints from the general public. Only in a small number of cases does a complaint require the issue of an independent technical report.

325.

Mr. L'Estrange:  asked the Minister for Justice if he will state in respect of County Westmeath the number of new Garda stations and the location of each (a) under construction in 1980 and (b) on which it is intended construction will commence next year; and the number of other applications before his Department.

326.

Mr. L'Estrange:  asked the Minister [1643] for Justice if he will state in respect of County Longford, the number of new Garda stations; and the location of each (a) under construction in 1980; and (b) on which it is intended construction will commence next year; and the number of other applications before his Department.

Minister for Justice (Mr. G. Collins):  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 325 and 326 together.

In County Longford a new Garda station is under construction at Edgeworthstown and is expected to be completed before next summer. Another station, at Ballymahon, is listed for replacement and the Office of Public Works is negotiating for a suitable site. In County Westmeath the station at Glasson is listed for replacement and in this case also the Office of Public Works is negotiating for a site. No other stations in either County Longford or County Westmeath are listed for replacement at present but the need for new stations is kept under constant review.

327.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan:  asked the Minister for Justice when the last prosecution for criminally induced abortion took place in the Republic; the number of prosecutions that have taken place since 1960 under sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act, 1861 and the outcome in each case.

Minister for Justice (Mr. G. Collins):  Four such prosecutions have taken place since 1960, the last one being dealt with in 1969. One resulted in an acquittal, one in a dismissal and, in the other two cases, the charges were found proved and orders were made without conviction.

328.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan:  asked the Minister for Justice the action he proposes to take in relation to the various groups who have publicly broken the law by selling contraceptives in contravention of the [1644] Health (Family Planning) Act, 1979 since coming into operation on 1 November, 1980.

Minister for Justice (Mr. G. Collins):  I have no function in regard to the institution of criminal proceedings. I understand from the Garda Síochána that they are at present seeking legal advice on certain aspects of the matter referred to in the question.

329.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan:  asked the Minister for Justice if he is aware of newspaper reports that named agencies and individuals here have publicly admitted sending women to England for abortions; and the action he proposes to take in the matter.

Minister for Justice (Mr. G. Collins):  As I have no function in relation to the institution of criminal proceedings I would not consider it either necessary or appropriate for me to comment on the reference in the question to newspaper reports. I am informed by the Garda authorities that they have received certain complaints which are relevant to the subject matter of the question and that those complaints are being investigated. The results of the investigation will, if necessary, be communicated to the Director of Public Prosecutions for a decision.

330.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Justice the number of people charged with serious crime in the past five years who have failed to appear in court to answer the charges after being granted bail; and the number who have absconded after being allowed out on compassionate leave.

Minister for Justice (Mr. G. Collins):  As regards bail, I am informed by the Garda authorities that the figures sought by the Deputy would have to be specially compiled from records at local level and [1645] that their compilation at this stage would involve a great deal of work. I am having further inquiries made as to whether some figures, covering a more restricted period, could be obtained without disproportionate expenditure of time and I shall communicate with the Deputy when the result becomes available.

As regards compassionate leave statistics of the kind sought have been kept only since 1 January last. In the period since then, ten offenders who were released on the occasion of a bereavement or other family occasion did not come back voluntarily to the prison or place of detention.

331.

Mr. E. Collins:  asked the Taoiseach the number on the live register in Waterford at a date in June and a date in December for each year since the live register was established.

The Taoiseach:  The following table shows the numbers of persons on the live register at local employment offices in County Waterford — including Waterford County Borough — at dates at the end of June and December for the years from 1934 to 1980.

It must be borne in mind that changes made in the administration of the social welfare regulations and other changes in [1646] the coverage of the live register affect the comparability of these figures over time. The following are the principal considerations which should be noted in this regard:

1. The figures for the period from 1966 to 1980 exclude persons on systematic short-time and persons aged 65 years and over — thus providing, in this sense, a series consistent with the revised coverage of the live register as introduced in January 1980. Such persons are included in the figures for earlier years.

2. The conditions under which persons are eligible for social insurance cover have been changed from time to time.

3. Following the introduction of the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1965, smallholders were excluded from the live register as from January 1966.

4. The operation of Employment Period Orders from 1935 to 1966, and again in 1971, which excluded certain persons from the receipt of unemployment assistance between March and November in each of these years.

5. The conditions which applied to single women and widows who were applicants for unemployment assistance were relaxed as from 1 October 1978.

The numbers of persons on the Live Register at local employment offices in County Waterford (including Waterford County Borough) at dates at the end of June and December for the years from 1934 to 1980.

Year June December Year June December
1980 2,670 not available 1956 1,255 1,777
1979 2,210 2,325 1955 1,248 1,393
1978 2,092 2,400 1954 1,268 1,389
1977 2,439 2,376 1953 1,506 1,636
1976 2,418 2,620 1952 1,344 1,493
1975 2,286 2,541 1951 1,082 1,242
1974 1,169 2,019 1950 1,269 1,407
1973 1,141 1,369 1949 1,504 1,655
1972 1,393 1,554 1948 1,523 1,604
1971 1,062 1,390 1947 1,859 1,652
1970 1,298 1,220 1946 1,913 1,708
1969 911 1,167 1945 1,313 1,843
1968 913 1,144 1944 1,455 1,712
1967 882 1,237 1943 1,494 1,584
1966 954 981 1942 1,899 2,124
1965 902 1,090 1941 2,280 2,593
[1647]1964 956 1,246 1940 2,179 2,838
1963 1,016 1,244 1939 2,336 2,723
1962 1,036 1,168 1938 2,510 2,591
1961 1,034 1,130 1937 2,173 2,560
1960 1,239 1,227 1936 2,154 2,601
1959 1,361 1,539 1935 3,155 3,208
1958 1,448 1,467 1934 2,724 3,485
1957 1,497 1,601

332.

Mr. L'Estrange:  asked the Taoiseach the total number of people at work in the State each year since 1970 under the headings (a) agriculture and (b) all the other headings combined.

The Taoiseach:  The following table [1648] contains estimates of the number of persons at work at mid-April for each of the years 1970 to 1979 under the headings requested by the Deputy. The estimates will be revised shortly when the results of the 1979 labour force survey become available and the revised figures will be communicated to the Deputy as soon as they are published.

Estimated number of persons at work 1970-79 (000)

Sector 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Agriculture 283 273 267 260 254 250 242 235 229 220
Other Sectors 770 782 783 797 815 803 795 807 822 845
Total at Work 1,053 1,055 1,050 1,057 1,069 1,053 1,037 1,042 1,051 1,065

333.

Mr. L'Estrange:  asked the Taoiseach the total number of workers on short-time each year since 1970; and the figure at the latest available date in 1980.

The Taoiseach:  The following statement gives the number of persons who were on systematic short-time working at 28 November 1980 and at the corresponding dates in each of the years 1970 to 1979.

Date Number on Systematic Short-time
28 November 1980 8,229
30 November 1979 1,538
24 November 1978 1,550
25 November 1977 2,207
26 November 1976 1,387
28 November 1975 3,467
29 November 1974 5,178
30 November 1973 213
24 November 1972 112
26 November 1971 947
27 November 1970 497

334.

Dr. Loughnane:  asked the Minister for Energy the present position regarding the proposed development of the North Clare phosphate mines.

Minister for Energy (Mr. Colley):  In reply to a previous question on 31 May 1978, my predecessor informed the Deputy that tests were being carried out to ascertain the nature and quality of sample rock phosphate material yielded by drilling and other field work in the north Clare area. Following receipt of the results of these tests the Clare phosphate working group recommended the engagement of consultants to assess the economic viability of the phosphate deposits.

A report furnished by the consultants indicated that some four million tons of phosphate rock, spread over four separate locations, has been delineated in north Clare. However, the deposits are of relatively low grade ore, and the consultants have advised that anticipation revenues from the sale of the material, relative to extraction costs, would not be such as to enable the deposits to be developed on a viable basis for industrial usage, such as in chemical or fertiliser [1649] manufacture. The question of further exploration work in the area, aimed at possibly locating larger, high-grade deposits, is being examined at present.

335.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Justice the number of (1) houses and (2) flats provided for the Garda as married quarters by (a) his Department, (b) the Office of Public Works, (c) the National Building Agency or (d) any other bodies; the amount of the present stock of such accommodation which was built (a) before 1920 and between (b) 1920 to 1930, (c) 1930 to 1940, (d) 1940 to 1950, (e) 1950 to 1960, (f) 1960 to 1970 and (g) 1970 to 1980 and (h) in 1980 to date; the amount of rent charged for each category of dwelling; the number of gardaí who are married; the number of married gardaí awaiting accommodation; if an allowance is paid to gardaí who provide their own houses and, if so, the amount; and if any people other than gardaí, such as ex-members of the force, are still in official accommodation and, if so, the number.

Minister for Justice (Mr. G. Collins):  A total of 991 houses and 12 flats is at present provided as married quarters for members of the Garda Síochána. The National Building Agency provided 446 of the houses and the remaining accommodation was provided by the office of Public Works. All the National Building Agency Houses were constructed during the decade 1960-1970 and the Office of Public Works accommodation was constructed during the following periods: (a) before 1920, 105; (b) 1920-1930, 153; (c) 1930-1940, 70; (d) 1940-1950, 37; (e) 1950-1960, 32; (f) 1960-1970, 98; (g) 1970-1980, 58; (h) 1980 to date, 4.

The rent charged for the various types of married accommodation has been agreed with the Garda Representative Associations and depends on factors such as the rank of the member occupying the accommodation, the size of the dwelling, its structural condition, its amenities, and [1650] location whether or not it is attached to the garda station or detached. The rent payable at present in respect of married accommodation ranges from £7.05 per week to £2.35 per week.

Approximately 7,000 members of the Garda Síochána are married.

As applications are usually made by members for a specified house, when it becomes available, it is not possible to state exactly how many married gardaí are awaiting official accommodation but the Garda authorities estimate that the number is in the region of 30.

With regard to the payment of an allowance to gardaí who provide their own houses, I would refer the Deputy to the reply given to Deputy Keating on 27 November which referred to means of facilitating the purchasing of homes by members of the Garda Síochána. In addition, rent allowance of £741.43 per annum for married members and £556.07 per annum for single members is payable to all members of the Force up to and including the rank of Chief Superintendent, irrespective of whether they occupy official accommodation.

At present, a total of 15 married quarters is occupied by people other than the Gardaí. In eight of these cases the quarters are occupied by ex-members of the Force and in the remaining seven they are occupied by the families of deceased members.

336.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence if he will give (1) the revised command area boundaries to that given in the Defence Force Handbook 1974, and (2) the establishment and command and organisational structure of the following units (a) infantry battalion, (b) artillery regiment and battery, (c) motor squadron and armoured car squadron, cavalry corps, and (d) independent companies of the signals, medical, engineer corps etc.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett):  1. The revised Command areas are as follows:—

[1651] The Eastern Command contains the whole of the counties of Monaghan, Louth, Meath and Dublin along with the eastern portions of Cavan and Wicklow and a small portion of Kildare.

The Southern Command contains the whole of the counties of Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary along with the southern portion of Offaly, the western portion of Waterford and most of Clare.

The Western Command contains the whole of the counties of Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo, Galway, Roscommon, Longford and Westmeath along with the northern portion of Offaly, the western portion of Cavan and a small portion of Clare.

The Curragh Command contains the whole of the counties of Laois, Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford along with the eastern portion of Offaly, most of Kildare, the western portion of Wicklow and the eastern portion of Waterford.

2. In the interests of security it is not the practice to furnish particulars of establishments related to the command and organisational structure of individual units.

337.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence the number of anti-aircraft missile launchers of the type shown on a television programme (details supplied) which have been acquired by his Department; if the necessary radar units have been or will be acquired for these weapons; if any consideration was given to acquiring self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, which would have a dual purpose use in internal security or Border operations; and, if not, why.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett):  In the interests of security, it is not the practice to furnish detailed particulars of the nature requested regarding items of defensive equipment. The question of the particular items and types of defensive equipment to be acquired is one to be determined in accordance with requirements generally and in the light of operational needs.

[1652]338.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence if the report of the military analyst, referred to in reply to Parliamentary Question 23 of 15 May 1980, is yet available, if so, if he will give a detailed account of its findings; if not, when it will be available; and the progress made towards the setting up of a military museum.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett):  The report of the military analyst on the items suitable for inclusion in a military museum is now available and contains approximately 150 items, their present location and an estimate of the floor space required for their display. The list of items includes:—

Field, Anti-Aircraft and Coastal Defence Artillery and equipment, Armoured Fighting Vehicles and Cavalry equipment,

Vehicles and Transport equipment, Naval equipment,

Aircraft and Air Corps equipment, Weapons,

Cups and Trophies of Equitation School,

Miscellaneous equipment.

The report is being considered by the committee set up in my Department to examine the question of the establishment of a museum of a military nature. I do not, however, anticipate early developments in setting up such a museum.

339.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence if any of the Ford or Landsverk type armoured cars are still in service; if so, the number of each type still in existence; if they have been withdrawn, the number still available; and if any have been preserved for military museum purposes.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett):  Four Landsverk armoured cars are still in service and three, which are unserviceable, are at present being boarded. It is [1653] intended that one of the vehicles will, in due course, be retained for military museum purposes. One Ford armoured car is held and is located in a military museum at the Curragh Camp.

340.

Mr. L. Cosgrave:  asked the Minister for Defence if he is aware that Army pensioners have to wait a period of approximately nine months before they are entitled to pension increases arising from the national understanding; and if he will ensure that these pensioners receive their increases at the same time as other beneficiaries under the national understanding.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett):  Retired pay and pensions payable to former members of the Permanent Defence Force are increased from 1 July each year in line with the level of increases granted to public service pensioners generally.

With regard to Army personnel who retired on or after 1 October 1980, the position is that the amending Defence Forces (Pensions) Scheme required to reflect in pensions the national understanding pay increase granted since that date is in course of preparation. The scheme will be completed quickly and payment at the increased rates will be issued to any personnel concerned. They will already be in receipt of payment at the rates appropriate to 30 September 1980.

341.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence the number of armoured vehicles of each type purchased for each year from 1970 to 1980.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett):  It would not be in the interests of security to furnish the details sought regarding armoured vehicles purchased for the Defence Forces for the years 1970 to 1980.

[1654]342.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Defence if he will give a separate breakdown for each of the three services. Army, Naval Service and Air Corps, of the information requested in Parliamentary Question No. 365 of 21 October 1980.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett):  As it has not been possible to compile the information requested in the time available I will communicate with the Deputy in the matter as soon as possible.

343.

Mr. L'Estrange:  asked the Minister for Finance the total number of firms in financial difficulties or receiving aid from Fóir Teoranta each year since 1970; and the figure at the latest available date for 1980.

Minister for Finance (Mr. G. Fitzgerald):  The total number of firms in financial difficulties whose applications to Fóir Teoranta were approved each year was as follows:

Year Number of approvals*
1972-3 53
1973-4 54
1974 (Nine months) 52
1975 65
1976 36
1977 55
1978 39
1979 33
1980 (to 30/11/80) 48

*The total for each year includes existing clients.

344.

Mr. L. Cosgrave:  asked the Minister for Finance if, in view of the proposed changes in Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin arising from the electrification of the Howth-Bray railway line, he is satisfied that the depth at St. Michael's wharf is adequate; and, if not, the action he proposes to take to provide adequate berthing facilities.

Minister for Finance (Mr. G. Fitzgerald):  No changes are proposed at [1655] present at Dún Laoghaire Harbour arising from the electrification of the Howth-Bray railway line, apart from the temporary closure of the spur-line to the mail boat pier and the provision of a temporary substitute bus service referred to in my reply to the Deputy's question of 9 December 1980. The depth of water at St. Michael's Wharf is adequate for present usage.

345.

Mr. J. Ryan:  asked the Minister for Education if he will indicate the amount of the grant he proposes to allocate in respect of the construction of a community and sports centre at the vocational school. Borrisokane, County Tipperary.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  A decision has not yet been made on the question of a grant in respect of the provision of a community recreation centre at Borrisokane.

346.

Mr. Spring:  asked the Minister for Education when it is proposed to erect a new school at Raheen, Headford, County Kerry.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  I understand that the school authorities are seeking an extension to the site for the proposed new national school at Raheen. County Kerry which would be submitted for the approval of my Department and the Commissioners of Public Works. It is not possible to state at this stage when building work may commence.

347.

Mr. Keegan:  asked the Minister for Education when his Department will be in a position to sanction a capital grant for improvements to Baylin national school, County Westmeath.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  Tenders have been obtained by the school authorities for the carrying out of improvements to the playground of Baylin [1656] National School and have been submitted to the Commissioners of Public Works. When a recommendation is received from the Commissioners the question of a grant towards the cost of the improvements will be considered.

348.

Mr. R. Ryan:  asked the Minister for Education in view of the hardship suffered by students at the College of Commerce, and the Dublin Institute of Technology, Rathmines, Dublin by reason of the absence of any canteen facilities, if he, in consultation with the Dublin Vocational Educational Committee and the college authorities, will ensure that a canteen is provided as a matter of urgency.

Minister for Education (Mr. Wilson):  I understand that the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee are in the process of providing a student's canteen in the College of Commerce, Rathmines. It is expected that the canteen will be available early in the new year.

349.

Mrs. Burke:  asked the Minister for Health if he is aware that a promise was given to have appointments of consultant oral surgeon and consultant orthodontist made to the Western Health Board and that such appointments have not yet been made; and when these appointments will be made.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods):  I hope it will be possible to have the examination which is taking place in my Department on the issues, including financing, affecting the appointment of oral surgeons to be completed fairly shortly. It is intended that the post of orthodontist under the Western Health Board will be advertised as soon as discussions which are currently taking place with the staff organisations have been concluded. I anticipate that this should be early in the New Year.

[1657]350.

Mr. Kenny:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  A cheque in payment of disability benefit for the period from 6 November 1980 to 29 November 1980, date of latest medical certificate received, has been issued to the person concerned.

The question of her entitlement to pay-related benefit is being investigated and payment, if any, due will be made as soon as possible.

351.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in deciding the claim for occupational injuries of a person (details supplied) in County Waterford who has no income for himself and his family at present.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods):  The person concerned claimed injury benefit under the occupational injuries benefit scheme on 24 July 1980 in respect of an accident at work on 7 July 1980. The claim has been allowed and payment of injury benefit has been made in respect of the period of claim from 7 July 1980 to 6 September 1980 when the claimant was certified as fit to resume work.

The delay in authorising payment of injury benefit was due to the fact that inquiries were necessary to ascertain the cause of the claimant's incapacity.

The person concerned, however, did not satisfy the qualifying conditions for disability benefit which would normally be paid as an interim measure in such curcumstances.

352.

Mr. Begley:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry in view of his reply to Parliamentary Question No. 318 that loans of £519,000 are secured by a mortgage debenture and a general charge in favour of Bord Iascaigh Mhara over all [1658] the assets of the companies which purchased the boatyards, the reason subsequent replies are not in accordance with the reply given to Question No. 318.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  Subsequent replies in connection with the mortgage debentures and general charges in favour of BIM in respect of the sale of the boatyards were not at variance with reply given to Parliamentary Question No. 318. The mortgages and the debentures were signed by the purchasers prior to the date of take over. The fact that they were not registered in respect of two of the boatyards has not diminished the board's securities for the loans advanced in these two cases since the legal transfer of ownership of properties had not passed pending transfer of the freehold in the properties.

353.

Mr. Begley:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry the reason his reply to Parliamentary Question No. 371 indicated that the total amount of money realised for the sale of the boatyards, amounted to £1,334,246 while the audit accounts of Bord Iascaigh Mhara indicated that the consideration for the sale of the boatyards was discharged by £817,746 cash and £519,000 loans, giving a total of £1,336,746.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  The difference in the amount given in Parliamentary Question No. 371 for the sale of the boatyards and the figure as it appeared in the board's audited accounts amounts to £2,500. This amount refers to materials which were not required by any of the purchasers of the boatyards and were subsequently sold to another purchaser.

354.

Mr. Begley:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry the total losses incurred in the operation of the boatyards for the four years ended 31 December 1979; and if losses have been discharged through grants and aid from the fisheries board.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  The total losses in the boatyards [1659] for the four years ended 31 December 1979 were as follows:—

£
1976 187.202
1977 542.568
1978 985.023
1979 805.582 (trading)
1979 379.094 (loss on sale)
2.899.469

These losses have not been discharged through grants and aid from the fisheries board.

Board Iascaigh Mhara have been recouped to the extent of £2,200,000 by way of grant-in-aid from the Exchequer.

355.

Mr. Begley:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry if he will indicate the portion of the cash consideration of £817,746 received by Bord Iascaigh Mhara up to and including (a) 31 December 1979 and (b) 31 October 1980.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  The total cash consideration of £817,746 was received as follows:—

Up to 31 December 1979, £458,369; up to 31 October 1980, £359,377—Total £817,746.

356.

Mr. Begley:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry the total repayment by boatyards on foot of the loans issued amounting to £519,000 as at (i) 31 December 1979 and (ii) 31 October 1980.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  Total repayments on foot of loans were as follows: 31 December 1979, Nil; 31 October 1980, £79,024.

357.

Mr. Begley:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry the total arrears on foot of loans issued to fishermen on boats and equipment amounting to £11,095,416 as at 31 October 1980.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  The figure of £11,095,416 [1660] referred to represents principal content of loans outstanding at 31 December 1979. Arrears on loans outstanding as at 31 October 1980 amount to £2,021,691 as at that date.

358.

Mr. Begley:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry the total amount of loans guaranteed by Board Iascaigh Mhara to (a) banks within and (b) banks outside the State as at 31 December 1979, and 31 October 1980.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  Loans guaranteed by Bord Iascaigh Mhara are as follows:

31 December 1979 31 October 1980
£ £
Banks within the State 7,248,582 9,359,368
Banks outside the State 582,953 4,664,274
Total £7,831,535 £14,023,642

359.

Mr. Begley:  asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry the amount of the subsidy, if any, to be granted to fishermen for fuel oil purposes for the coming year; and if he will indicate whether his Department propose giving any credit or to write-off interest to fishermen due to the critical position in the fishing industry at present.

Minister for Fisheries and Forestry (Mr. Power):  The question of a rebate of excise duty on marine diesel oil is being considered.

Under the Bord Iascaigh Mhara marine credit plan interest in respect of loans on fishing boats is in most cases subsidised to the amount of 5¼ per cent. In the case of some long-standing loans the interest is fixed at 4 per cent which would entail an element of subsidy higher than 5¼ per cent.

I have no proposals for a further interest subsidy.

[1661]360.

Mr. Mitchell:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when a telephone service will be provided for an applicant (details supplied) in Dublin.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  Service is dependent on the provision of cabling which, because of the volume of engineering work requiring attention in the Dublin area, is unlikely to be completed for at least another year.

361.

Mr. Mitchell:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when a telephone service will be provided for a person (details supplied) in Dublin.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  Service is dependent on the completion of cabling work which, because of the volume of engineering work requiring attention in the Dublin area, is unlikely to be completed for at least another year.

362.

Mr. Mitchell:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will grant priority to the application of a person (details supplied) in Dublin for a telephone service in view of the facts of this case, and when service will be supplied.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  Service cannot, regrettably, be provided until necessary cabling works are completed. Because of the volume of engineering work on hands in the Dublin area it is unlikely that this work will be carried out before the end of next year.

363.

Mr. Mitchell:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will grant priority to the application of a person (details supplied) in Dublin for a telephone service in view of the circumstances of this case; and when a service will be provided.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  Service cannot, regrettably, be provided for this applicant until necessary [1662] underground cabling works are completed. Because of the volume of engineering works on hands in the Dublin area it is unlikely that this work will be carried out before the end of next year.

364.

Mr. Mitchell:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will grant priority to the application of a person (details supplied) in Dublin for a telephone service in view of the facts of this case; and when service will be provided.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  Priority would be accorded to this applicant in normal course, but service cannot, regrettably, be provided until additional cabling is carried out. Because of the volume of engineering work requiring attention in the Dublin area it is unlikely that this work will be completed before the end of next year.

365.

Mr. Mitchell:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when a second telephone line, promised earlier in the year, will be connected for a body (details supplied) in Dublin.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  It is expected that the additional line will be provided within the next month or so. Because of the volume of engineering work on hands in the Dublin area it has not been possible to provide service before now.

366.

Mr. Deasy:  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the reason for the delay in providing a telephone service for a person (details supplied) in County Waterford who applied four years ago; and when service will be provided.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Reynolds):  It has not been possible to provide service because of the need to increase the capacity of Youghal exchange which switches calls for the local exchange involved. Additional capacity has been provided recently and the waiting applications will be cleared progressively.

It is expected that service will be provided [1663] for this applicant during the second half of next year.

367.

Mr. Creed:  asked the Minister for Transport the names and the office held by the members of the Irish Marine Search and Rescue Committee referred to in his reply to Parliamentary Question No. 52 of 25 November 1980.

Minister for Transport (Mr. Reynolds):  The committee is chaired by my Department and has the undermentioned organisations represented on it:

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

The Commissioners of Irish Lights.

An Bord Iascaigh Mhara.

An Garda Síochána.

The Naval Service.

The Air Corps.

The Department of Fisheries and Forestry.

The Irish Yachting Association.

368.

Mr. Molloy:  asked the Minister for Transport if he has given a commitment in principle to the establishment of an international airport in County Mayo; if so, (i) the proposed location, (ii) the length of runway to be provided and (iii) the estimated cost of the airport and ancillary facilities; and if he will outline his views on the viability of an international airport in Connaught.

Minister for Transport (Mr. Reynolds):  I would refer the Deputy to the press release issued in relation to this matter on 25 September 1980, the text of which is given below. A working group has been set up under the aegis of the Department of Transport to undertake the evaluation of all the relevant aspects mentioned in the press release and that work is proceeding.

The following is the text of the press release:

Approval for Co. Mayo Airport

[1664] Mr. Padraig Flynn, T. D., Minister of State at the Department of Transport, has announced approval in principle for the development of an airport in Co. Mayo to cater for current and future Western needs, including particularly pilgrimage traffic for Knock Shrine. Mr. Flynn made this announcement after a meeting with a deputation led by Monsignor James P. Horan, Parish Priest of Knock, Co. Mayo, in connection with proposals for the development of airport facilities to serve Knock and the Connaught region generally.

The deputation was accompanied by Mr. K. Holden of Transport Analysis International Ltd., Shannon, whose company had carried out an assessment of the feasibility of developing a Regional Airport to serve Connaught.

As a result of earlier discussions between the Minister of State, Mr. Flynn, and Monsignor Horan, representatives from the Technical Services of the Department of Transport had visited Mayo and carried out preliminary inspections of a number of sites which had been identified locally as being suitable for airport development purposes. The meeting reviewed the outcome of these technical inspections and went on to discuss broader issues affecting the cost and viability of the project. Further detailed examination of these aspects is to be undertaken in order to establish the nature of the facilities to be provided and the scale of operations that would be appropriate.

Mr. Flynn said that he was extremely pleased to be in a position to convey this approval in principle and he congratulated Monsignor Horan and the other members of the deputation who had undertaken the preliminary work. He was satisfied that the development of the proposed airport would confer significant benefits on the region in terms of industrial development, the growth of pilgrimage traffic to Knock and the facilitation of tourism in Mayo and the adjoining counties. It would represent a major step in the improvement of accessibility to the West of Ireland which had been handicapped in the past by transport and communications difficulties. He believed that [1665] with the continued increase in our population and the resumption and acceleration of economic growth and taking account also of the tremendous potential for mariculture development along the western seaboard, there would be an increased role in the future for air services to regional centres, with connections to the three existing international airports at Dublin, Shannon and Cork.

369.

Mr. Tully:  and Mr. J. Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment if, in view of the excessive delays in finalising the necessary inspection reports on house improvement, new house and heating grants, which are being delayed for payment due to the volume of applications, he will employ additional inspectors to speed up these urgent payments.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  The overall position in regard to inspection delays has improved considerably in recent times compared with the arrears situation which existed earlier in the year following the huge intake of housing grant applications. In the circumstances I do not at this stage propose to employ additional inspectors.

370.

Mr. White:  asked the Minister for the Environment when a solid fuel grant will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  There are some discrepancies in the information supplied by the applicant in regard to the date of purchase of his solid-fuel burning unit, which he has been asked to clarify. When he does so, the question of the payment of a grant will be further examined.

371.

Mr. Tully:  asked the Minister for the Environment the amount of additional [1666] finance he has promised to allocate to Meath County Council in December 1980 and January 1981; the purpose for which the money may be used by the council; and the votes under which this money is being made available.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  Capital and current allocations are determined in the light of the provisions made for the various services in the public capital programme and the Department's Vote and payments in respect of them are made during the year as appropriate. The Deputy will note that the Supplementary Estimate taken by the House today makes provision for extra funds for roads and housing, while extra capital funds have also been made available recently in respect of housing and sanitary services. Allocations made to Meath County Council arising out of these extra provisions were set out in the reply to the Deputy's Question No. 430 of 9 December 1980.

Allocations to Meath County Council for 1981 will be determined within the context of Government decisions in relation to the budget and I am not in a position to anticipate such decisions.

372.

Mr. Mitchell:  asked the Minister for the Environment when a £1,000 new house grant will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Dublin.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. R. Burke):  The grant will be paid to this person as soon as possible.

373.

Mr. Mitchell:  asked the Minister for Labour if he will list the number of job losses for each of the past 20 years; if he will give the estimate for 1980; the number of these job losses that have been accounted for by (i) redundancies and (ii) other means; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

[1667]Minister for Labour (Mr. Nolan):  As a preliminary remark, I should point out that employers are not obliged to notify job losses.

It will help to put the information in perspective if I indicate generally the position as regards the creation and maintenance of employment. Job creation is running at an exceptionally high level but the full effects are being offset by job losses caused mainly by the general world economic recession. Government action is being taken to maintain as many jobs as possible. The measures being taken include the activities of Fóir Teoranta, for whom extra finance has been made available and the IDA rescue service. A group comprising representatives of the Departments of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Labour and Agriculture, the IDA, Fóir Teoranta, the Industrial Credit Company and CTT has been set up to co-ordinate activities. Government programmes to stimulate new job creation include the purchase of sites and vacant factories, the construction of advance factories, intensified industrial promotional activities by the IDA, SFADCo and Údarás na Gaeltachta, the activities of Córas Tráchtála, AnCO and the National Manpower Service and additions to the provisions for infrastructure in the public capital programme.

The best information on job losses in manufacturing industry is that available to the IDA. The following table gives figures for gross job losses for manufacturing industry for the years since 1975, the earliest date for which information is available.

1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Job Losses 27,400 17,500 16,100 14,700 14,860

As regards redundancies, statistics since the introduction of the Act in 1968 are set out for the manufacturing sector in the following table.

[1668] Redundancies in manufacturing which were notified by employers as qualified under the Redundancy Payments Scheme

Year Number
1968 1,424
1969 1,544
1970 1,785
1971 4,187
1972 5,194
1973 3,434
1974 5,736
1975 11,383
1976 6,818
1977 6,990
1978 5,115
1979 4,313

It should be understood, firstly, that redundancy figures relate to proposed rather than actual redundancies and, secondly, that statutory notifications apply only to employees coming within the scope of the redundancy legislation.

As regards non-manufacturing sectors, the following table sets out redundancies, defined as above, for these sectors.

Redundancies in non-manufacturing sectors which were notified by employers as qualified under the Redundancy Payments Scheme

Year Number
1968 2,439
1969 2,152
1970 2,111
1971 4,369
1972 4,965
1973 4,070
1974 5,466
1975 7,621
1976 5,946
1977 5,820
1978 4,752
1979 3,247

Notified redundancies, as defined above, for the first 11 months of the year were 7,667 in manufacturing and 5,883 in non-manufacturing.

It is not possible at this stage to give a reliable estimate of the net job situation in manufacturing industry by the end of 1980; Whatever gross figure emerges for job losses will fall to be offset by the IDA performance. This includes some 35,000 job approvals in 1980 and the expected [1669] creation in the year of about 15,000 first-time grant-aided jobs.

As regards a breakdown of job losses between those accounted for by redundnacy and other reasons, I would estimate that for manufacturing industry about a third are accounted for by redundancy. The other main reason is workers leaving their jobs and not being immediately replaced, which has always been a feature of business activity.

374.

Mr. Mitchell:  asked the Minister for Labour if he is aware of the threatened loss of 190 jobs at a bakery in Kilcock, County Kildare, on 31 December next; if, in view of the grave social consequences for the area involved, he will enter into immediate discussions with the employees and trade unions concerned with a view to urgent action to save these jobs; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

375.

Mr. Mitchell:  asked the Minister for Labour if, pending amending legislation which he has promised, there is any urgent action he can take by way of licence or regulation or by any other means to enable a bakery in Kilcock, County Kildare, to retain its 190 strong workforce.

379.

Mr. Mitchell:  asked the Minister for Labour if, in view of the imminent closure of a bakery in Kilcock, County Kildare, and the loss of 190 jobs and of the major social consequences involved, he will visit Kilcock, County Kildare, to meet local, public, community, business and trade union representatives as a matter of urgency.

Minister for Labour (Mr. Nolan):  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 374, 375 and 379 together.

It is my intention to promote a Bill early in the next session to amend the Night Work (Bakeries) Act, 1936, so as to permit the licensing of baking at night. [1670] In the light of this the management has decided to keep the bakery open.

376.

Mr. Mitchell:  asked the Minister for Labour if he has any plans to make provision for temporary employment in the Kilcock area of County Kildare.

Minister for Labour (Mr. Nolan):  The various employment schemes in operation such as the employment incentive scheme can be availed of by employers in this as in other areas.

377.

Mr. Mitchell:  asked the Minister for Labour if he has any plans to provide a National Manpower office in Kilcock, County Kildare.

Minister for Labour (Mr. Nolan):  At present the Kilcock area is serviced from the Newbridge local office of the manpower service and I am satisfied that this arrangement is adequate at present.

The level of NMS activity throughout the country is kept under review and additional resources will be allocated to this area should the occasion demand.

378.

Mr. Mitchell:  asked the Minister for Labour if he has any plans to provide an AnCO Training Centre in Kilcock, County Kildare.

Minister for Labour (Mr. Nolan):  Kilcock comes within the catchment area of the Ballyfermot Training Centre and AnCO is satisfied that the training needs of the area can be adequately catered for by that centre.