Ceisteanna—Questions Oral Answers. - Buttevant (Cork) Industrial Development.

Wednesday, 30 May 1984

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 350 No. 13

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15.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Industry, Trade, Commerce and Tourism if he will consider declaring Buttevant, County Cork, a priority area for the establishment of a new industry, as many of its workforce are unemployed for the last three years.

16.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Industry, Trade, Commerce and Tourism the plans he has to develop the IDA site at Buttevant, County Cork.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I propose to take Questions Nos. 15 and 16 together.

I am aware of the serious unemployment problem in Buttevant and am assured that the Industrial Development Authority are making every effort to secure an industrial project for their 5-acre site in the town.

The IDA recently approved grant assistance towards the establishment of a new small industry project in the town.

[2485] Diesenvale Ltd. will manufacture stainless steel vessels and plans to increase employment to 21 over the next two years.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  When is it proposed that that industry will be established?

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  There are nine people already employed in the new company so it has already been established.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  With the new special branch arrangement for the Cork city region, would the Minister agree that Buttevant is a much more deprived area where many people have been unemployed over the last three years, where whole families are now unemployed, where the total number of unemployed would now be about 200 people? Buttevant had a fine industry up to that time. The Minister has already given a promise — in a previous question — that he will have this area designated a special case——

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I did not.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  Yes, sir. Would the Minister give it priority, ensuring that a regional area like this would receive a specially high rate of grant to encourage people to go into industry by rendering it sufficiently attractive?

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I recognise that there are problems in Buttevant but I never gave any undertaking such as the Deputy indicated. Indeed all of these questions are a bit of a waste of time because Deputies on the other side of the House are each coming along making a special case for a particular part of the country. We must recognise that the unemployment problems this country faces are spread throughout the entire island and that doing a little bit extra for Buttevant by taking money from Galway, or doing a little bit extra for Galway by taking money from Monaghan does not solve anybody's problems. We must endeavour to tackle this problem on an overall basis. While I am quite prepared to answer questions of the type asked by the Deputy [2486]— which I know, by his selection of Buttevant will hopefully get him into the appropriate local newspaper as being somebody who is concerned about this matter — we are not really solving the problem by segmenting it into those of individual towns. The unemployment problem is one that covers the entire country. It is not something that can be segmented——

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  If the Government change their policy they will create employment.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  ——into individual parts of individual parishes.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  It may be a waste of time for the Minister but it is not a waste of time for us trying to find out what the devil the Government are at.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  If the Deputy came in in time for his question he might be able to talk but he arrived in late.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  The Minister is not always here himself.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I am always here when I am supposed to be.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  The attitude the Minister has adopted in the last few minutes amazes me. Arising out of what he said would he not agree that there are different levels of unemployment in different parts of the country and that Deputies have a right to try to get out of the Minister what he is doing and what he proposes doing? It is deplorable for him to come in here with a lecture like that — when he has taken no positive action in the last 18 months, when unemployment is at its highest, when the number of people working in manufacturing industry is at its lowest level in 20 years. It is understandable that the Minister becomes irritated but to come in and lecture Deputies in this House on their fundamental rights vis-à-vis their constituencies is not good enough. We know he has not been a success as Minister for Industry but he should not deny Deputies [2487] their rights in relation to asking questions. Will the Minister admit that there are different levels of unemployment around the country? Will he admit the right of Deputies to do something for their constituencies?

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Of course, I have never questioned the rights of Deputies to ask these sorts of questions. However, I do not think it is wise for us to assume that we can solve the problem by breaking it up into those of each individual town. The problem of industrial development is one that must be tackled on a global basis in this country. It is not true to say that nothing has been done for Buttevant. I indicated to Deputy O'Keeffe that nine people are already employed by the company whereas he was asking whether or not it had been started. Indeed perhaps Deputies might inform themselves about what is happening in their own areas before asking questions.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  I should like to be more serious than the Minister about the industrial situation in the country, particularly in regard to Buttevant because, when things were going well, Buttevant was in trouble with regard to industry. Therefore I do not consider I am acting irresponsibly. I think the Minister is being more irresponsible——

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  That is right.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  Buttevant should be declared a designated priority area for industry because households there are full of unemployed people.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Is the Minister aware that unemployment is a tragedy now affecting nearly every household in the country——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  This question is about Buttevant.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  ——affecting every town and village? Is the Minister not aware that during the last election he and members of his party went into these towns, told the people to elect them to [2488] Government and that they would provide jobs? Is the Minister now saying that we on the Opposition benches are not entitled to ask the Government what progress they are making in the provision of employment in these towns and villages throughout the country, as was promised by his Government, by their candidates and by the Minister himself in the course of the last general election?

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  To halt and reverse the trend of unemployment.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I never——

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  The trend started in November 1979.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  The Deputy is now going around Laois-Offaly promising jobs as well in every village.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  The trend started in November 1979.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  The present Government's programme is to halt and reverse the trend of unemployment, but where is the action?

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  As far as the Government are concerned it is a waste of time——

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  ——a waste of time, that is all it is. Cosmetic politics is all we are getting and no decision.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Just people wasting their time in Government.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  The Government are wasting their time and taking no decisions on anything.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Deputies, if I cannot get order I will have to adjourn the House.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  It was a very inflammatory remark——

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  ——by the Minister who started it.

[2489]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Order.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  ——most unjustified, completely against the traditions of this House to seek to deny Opposition Deputies the right to ask questions on any matter in respect of which the Government have a responsibility, particularly unemployment at this time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Deputy Molloy, I will adjourn the House if I do not get order from all sides of it.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  It would be a lot more beneficial if we got it from the Minister.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  The Deputy might consider the extravagance of his language in this area. At one stage——

(Interruptions.)

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  At no stage did I deny the right of any Deputy to ask questions. Indeed at all times I defended the right of Deputies to ask questions. However, I believe I am entitled to say that we will not solve the problem of unemployment by dividing it into segments of this town as against the other — Kerry as against Cork, Buttevant as against Galway; the problem will be solved on an overall basis.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Will the Minister make Galway a free port the same as Ringaskiddy?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  The remaining questions will appear on tomorrow's Order Paper.


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