Thursday, 10 March 1983
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Leyden, Mr. Kitt: and Mr. N. Treacy asked the Minister for Industry and Energy when work will commence on the erection of a briquette factory which was approved by the previous Government near Ballyforan, County Roscommon; the overall cost of the project; the jobs involved in erection; and its long term employment potential.
The number of jobs provided by contractors on the construction of the factory at present is 24. Construction employment would peak at about 180 and long-term employment on the bog and in the factory would, it is estimated, be about 110 and 300, respectively.
Mr. Leyden: May I take it that the  project is on target as approved by the Fianna Fáil Government and that work will be completed in January 1985, as proposed by the previous Fianna Fáil Government? I want a clear unambiguous statement about this matter.
Mr. Boland: The contract is out for tender at present and the normal processes will occur, after which the contract will be awarded without any inordinate delay. It is expected that later this year or early next year the mechanical contract will go to tender, followed by the delivery of certain pieces of equipment in the early part of 1984 and further work leading to the factory being commissioned in January 1985.
Mr. Wilson: The Minister mentioned that Bord na Móna had been asked to review their capital programme to see that it conformed with acceptable norms. Has he a list of those acceptable norms and what are they?
Mr. Boland: The revised capital programme as published referred to the fact that Bord na Móna are being required to review their major capital investment projects to ensure their viability and the acceptable norms on which approval of expenditure will depend. It is expected that this will lead to considerable improvement in their financial performance over the coming years.
Mr. Boland: The Deputy may be aware that there is contained within the capital programme estimate for Bord na Móna for the current year a provision of £5.2 million in respect of this factory and that  already there has been a grant of £3 million agreed in principle by the IDA for the Ballyforan factory also.
Mr. Wilson: That does not answer my question. The Minister said that Bord na Móna had been asked to have a look at their programme to see that it conformed with acceptable norms. What are those acceptable norms and in what way are they acceptable?
Mr. Boland: I do not have that detailed information here, but it was felt that reference ought to be made to the request made to Bord na Móna as this was one of the board's ongoing capital projects. Because there is reference in the revised published capital programme to the fact that the board have been asked to conduct a review of the viability of their major capital investment projects it was felt that this ought to be included in the reply.
Mr. Wilson: I am trying to find out if the Government lay down the norms and declare them as acceptable, or will this declaration of acceptability of norms and the norms themselves emanate from Bord na Móna?
Mr. Boland: I understand that the examination will be conducted by Bord na Móna as is normal, in conjunction with officers of the Department of Industry and Energy, and it will be evaluated by the Department following the initial evaluation by the board.
Mr. Leyden: As a western Deputy I am very concerned about the high flown words used by the Minister. Why is he bringing in this review of capital expenditure by Bord na Móna when our Ministers, Deputy Reynolds and Deputy O'Malley, had approved this project and everything was on target? Why bring in this question mark? I do not want any ambiguity about this: the Minister is clearly committing the Government to this.
Mr. Leyden: I want a clear statement that this project will not be postponed or delayed in any way. I want a clear commitment that the Ballyforan project is on target as agreed by the Fianna Fáil Government.
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