Private Members' Business. - Shannon Free Airport Development Company Limited (Amendment) Bill, 1988: Committee Stage.

Wednesday, 1 March 1989

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 387 No. 8

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Section 1 agreed to.

Question proposed: “That section 2 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  Will the Minister clarify the position of the IDA in the mid-west region and outline their responsibilities? I understand that the IDA have no input into industrial development in that region. The map the IDA are showing around the world has two blank spots on it, one being Northern Ireland and the other being the mid-west region. Has the Minister had time to consider the comments made on Second Stage and, if so, is he in a position to respond to them?

Minister of State at the Department of Industry and Commerce (Dr. McCarthy): Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  The Shannon Free Airport Development Company have assumed the statutory role of the IDA in the mid-west region. At present the Minister for Industry and Commerce, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, may provide moneys to the Shannon Free Airport Development Company to meet its expenses. Its industrial development functions cover counties Limerick, Clare, Tipperary North Riding and south-west Offaly and the Bill provides for the addition of north Kerry. The area is defined by reference to district electoral divisions. The Bill represents an integrated plan for the area which we feel will be successful.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  The Minister of State has not answered my question. The north Kerry coastline which has been added to that region is probably the most valuable asset in that area. Has the Minister considered some of the arguments put forward on Second Stage and, if so, has he [2099] prepared a specific development plan for the area? If the Minister of State has prepared such a plan would he give us details of it?

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  The Minister of State has outlined proposed developments along the river Shannon. Deputy Cullen referred to the anomaly that appears to exist between the proposals introduced in the House in recent days for the Shannon Estuary Development Corporation. It appears that the powers of the two bodies are the same and refer to the same areas. It is puzzling to find the Department of the Marine granting the same powers to the estuary corporation as the Department of Industry and Commerce are prepared to give to the Shannon Free Airport Development Company. Will the Minister of State say if there has been liaison between the two Departments about the granting of these powers? Will he outline the different roles that will be played by the two bodies?

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  I should like to make it clear that we are debating the Committee Stage of the Shannon Free Airport Development Company Limited (Amendment) Bill and that we are not discussing the Harbours (Shannon Estuary Development Corporation) Bill. I do not have any intention of getting involved in a debate on the latter Bill. I should like to tell Deputy Carey that a decision in regard to the two Bills was taken by the Government. Obviously, there was discussion as to what should be done about the two Authorities and there was no question of anything being done in an isolated way. The Bill had its origins in a decision taken in July 1988 to divide the country into seven sub-regions for the purpose of optimising the operation of programmes for the national development plan subject to European Community Structural Funds. The Government, on natural geographic grounds alone, decided to include north Kerry in the mid-west region. The purpose of the Bill is to increase the remit of the Shannon Free Airport Development Corporation [2100] to include north Kerry, and nothing more.

This marks a development on a Government decision last year to assign responsibility for tourism and industrial development, including medium and large scale industry, in the mid-west to SFADCo. Prior to this, as Deputies will be aware, SFADCo were responsible for the promotion and development of small industries in the region while the IDA were responsible for medium and large industries. I am not going to get involved in a debate on the Shannon Estuary Development Corporation.

Mr. Lowry: Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  Will the Minister indicate how SFADCo propose to deal with their expanded role? The Bill gives effect to Shannon Development taking responsibility for a much enlarged area with greater responsibility also within that enlarged area, and they are being asked to do this at a time when there is a substantial and significant reduction in the funding available to them. Will the Minister indicate to the House tonight what proposals SFADCo have to deal with this programme? Will it involve rationalisation? Will it involve job losses or will we have a less significant role on the part of the Authority in this expanded area? It certainly does not make sense to give a company an enlarged area, an expanded role and then ask them to do that with a very much reduced budget.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  The Government are happy that Shannon Development corporation have fulfilled their role effectively. The Government have been particularly pleased with the progress which has been made since SFADCo assumed their new remit on 1 January last year. In relation to the expanded territory, SFADCo propose to establish a county development centre in Tralee which will be staffed by three executives. The key role of the team's work will be to accelerate the flow of entrepreneurs into the very small firms sector of manufacturing industry, to support the creation and maintenance of viable jobs in the domestic trading sector of small industry, to promote the establishment [2101] of a number of sharply focused highly visible new tourist projects, develop a number of new projects in the natural resources area based on local raw materials and skills, improve the urban and rural environments through promoting and participating in specific renewal projects and develop a county development plan specific to north Kerry. As the Deputy is aware from developments in his own constituency, SFADCo have been very effective in promoting new industrial development and only events of recent times that appertain to a town in Deputy Lowry's constituency will, I am sure, convince him that they have been quite excellent in fulfilling their responsibility.

Mr. Lowry: Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  In regard to Shannon Development's effective role in my constituency, I would remind the Minister that unemployment and emigration have increased. In Thurles alone last year we had an increase of 230 people on the unemployment register, and that does not take account of the massive number of young people who emigrate from the area.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am sorry to interrupt the Deputy but he will appreciate that this is a very limited Bill. There is no scope for expansion of the kind the Deputy is entering into, and I must dissuade the House from entering into second reading speeches.

Mr. Lowry: Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  The Minister has not answered my question. Have Shannon Development plans to cope with this new role with reduced funding? It is quite obvious that Shannon Development will have to establish an administrative structure in the south Offaly area and also in north Kerry. There are many new calls on the funding that is available to them and I would like to know if Shannon Development have plans to cope with this? Will it mean that they will have to rationalise their administrative structure in Limerick? Will it mean that they will be less effective in the total area as a result of the reduced funding? They [2102] must have some plan of action and I would like to know what is it.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  I am sad to hear Deputy Lowry speaking in such fashion about a very competent and responsible State authority and saying they have failed to create jobs in his area. For his information it might be appropriate to tell him that in the Shannon region in 1988 in County Clare there were 1,197 jobs created which was a net gain of 611 jobs; in Limerick city there were 440 jobs created which was a net gain of 133; in Limerick county there were 606 jobs created which gave a net gain of 117; and in south west Offaly the number of jobs created was 186 which gave a net gain of 76. The total number of jobs created in the Shannon region was 2,817 with a net gain of 929 jobs over that period.

Mr. D. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  Would the Minister give the unemployment figures and the emigration figures? They would be more meaningful.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  The Government are quite happy that SFADCo are fulfilling their role effectively and well. The record stands up to scrutiny. There has been a net gain in jobs and we have been happy that to date adequate moneys have been provided——

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  They are never scrutinised.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  Adequate moneys have been provided to allow them to fulfil that role. There is, as I have already defined, a programme which will encompass their new responsibility with three executives dealing with north Kerry.

Mr. D. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  The Minister of State has been asked a number of questions. He has not replied to some of them and has replied to others rather evasively in a rather propaganda-like manner which is totally irrelevant, dragging in things that have no bearing at all and, in fact, probably are not accurate anyway.

It is obvious that unfortunately the Minister is not terribly familiar with this [2103] subject. I am sorry that the Minister for Industry and Commerce is not here, or the Minister of State who dealt with this on Second Stage. I want to repeat the question Deputy Cullen asked at the outset. Would the Minister explain to us exactly what is the relationship of the IDA to this region? In particular will he explain who is now supposed to do the overseas industrial development of this region? The IDA tell me they are precluded by Government decision from doing it. Shannon Development are not in a position to do it because they do not have overseas offices; I think they have one small office in New York by way of liaison in which there are two or three people. Those people are principally concerned with airport and tourist aspects and with the development of banking establishments and insurance establishments at Shannon but have nothing to do with industrial development. Who is developing this region abroad? I am concerned about it.

As I said to the House on Second Stage, the IDA produced a map. They did not want to do it and I do not in any way blame them for it because they had no option. They do not use this map in Ireland but abroad. On it the island of Ireland is drawn and two parts of that island are blacked out, Northern Ireland and the mid-west region. That is obviously a matter of concern to me, as it is to the people of that region. It cannot help the people of that region. The IDA have 12 or 14 offices abroad, perhaps more. They have people of great experience in the promotion of Ireland as an industrial location. In the past they have had a great deal of success in that. Shannon Development have no experience or almost no experience of promotion abroad. They have not the facilities to do it, nor will they ever have as a regional organisation. It seems unreal to me that, in a tiny country like this with a tiny population, we have a region, a small region with a population of only a few hundred thousand, expected by Government decision to promote itself against its own country. It makes no sense. It [2104] does not work in practice and the people of that region are the losers. For that reason an explanation of exactly how the thing is supposed to work is called for.

Precisely the same thing was proposed by this Government in July 1987 in respect of tourism when the Shannon Free Airport Development Company were to take over the tourist promotion role or functions of Bord Fáilte. They were to take over all this role with the exception of one or two things that were specified at the time like the grading of hotels and a few other statutory functions of that kind. Otherwise they were to do everything. That has not happened and it has not happened because commonsense dictated that it should not happen. The agencies concerned were wise enough, notwithstanding the Government decision, not to follow it and left the thing much as it was.

The only change that has taken place in relation to tourism relates to the Shannonside Regional Tourist Organisation which has been dissolved and whose functions have been taken over by SFADCo. Happily the Government decision has been in practice, ignored or over-ruled on the tourist side. I cannot be certain that has happened in relation to industrial development and that is why Deputy Cullen asked the question and I repeat it now. It is very important that it be spelled out here precisely and accurately what is supposed to happen and how it is envisaged that this overseas promotion in particular can take place.

I think we were told in July-August 1987 that the IDA would be generous and that they would lob the odd project into the mid-west region. The truth of the matter is the poor IDA are demented, I am told, with Government Ministers screaming and roaring at them, looking for job packages as they call it. They now have to make up things out of extensions of firms and they say they are taking on more people while at the other side of the factory they are letting them go. That is regarded as a sort of job packet. When the IDA are driven by ministerial pressure to reduce to that level, obviously they are not in a position to spread around any [2105] surplus major foreign projects. I notice now there are ministerial announcements for even the smallest of projects as if they were hugely significant.

For these reasons we would like to have this spelled out. People simply do not know where they stand, in particular since the overlap in that area is compounded by another Bill that is before the House which proposes that a third agency be set up to do these jobs in respect of part of the region. A double overlap is bad enough but to have a treble one is unbearable and is the height of bureaucratic nonsense. This should be clarified and swept out of the way so that the most appropriate agencies can get on with the most appropriate jobs.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  I am rather surprised that Deputy O'Malley is so uninformed on the close liaison that takes place between SFADCo and the IDA.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  That is why they accepted the jobs in Castlegregory.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Please, Deputies. Many questions have been asked and the Minister of State is seeking to reply to them. Let us give him a good hearing.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  As the Deputy is aware, until 1987 SFADCo promoted small industry in the mid-west region which excluded the Shannon free zone where they had legislative authority to give grants under delegated authority from the IDA. The Government decided in July 1987 that as and from 1 January 1988 SFADCo should take over responsibility for medium and large industry in the mid-west as well as for small industry. This responsibility was formally designated in December 1987. Obviously a new delegation will be needed to include north Kerry after the present Bill is enacted.

The basic working arrangements have been already largely agreed between the two agencies. For example, detailed agreements have been drawn up to deal [2106] with agency contact with overseas companies, multi-plant indigenous companies, other indigenous companies and financial services projects. Guidelines have been issued to IDA overseas offices in relation to site visits, existing foreign-owned companies and accommodation of SFADCo's representatives in IDA offices — there are four representatives in the United States and one in the Federal Republic of West Germany and the costs have to be borne by SFADCo. In that area there is clear and close liaison between the two agencies.

The objectives of the guidelines are to avoid competition and duplication and to promote Ireland to the customer as a single industrial location. As regards liaison, agreement has been formally reached between the IDA and SFADCo on cross-representation on each other's boards and committees. Up until 1987, SFADCo were represented on the Dublin East Regional Small Industry Committee and the IDA were represented on SFADCo's Building and Grant Committee. An IDA official was appointed to the board of SFADCo. At that time when SFADCo were given responsibility for medium and large industry it was felt that greater cross-representation was needed to ensure consistency of approach.

SFADCo officials are now represented on the following IDA committees: the FÁS-IDA Training Grants Committee, the International Services Committee, the Enterprise Development Committee and the Product Development Committee. In addition, the managing director of SFADCo has been appointed to the IDA board. I cannot understand why there is confusion as to whether there might or might not be liaison between the two bodies. They are working very closely and that clearly defines that there is close co-operation and that they are working hand in hand.

Mr. Deenihan: Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  I would like to take the Minister back to the whole aspect of funding. I do not think he answered the question he was asked in that respect. [2107] Like Deputy Lowry, I am quite concerned that with the decrease in funding for SFADCo the services will be stretched over a wider area and as a result peripheral areas like north Kerry will suffer. The Minister must admit that the SFADCo allocation for administration was reduced substantially in the Estimates. Where will SFADCo get the extra resources to make up this reduction? It has been said they will get some moneys from renting the landbank in Ballylongford, for example, but that will go nowhere near meeting the shortfall in the region of £500,000. I fear for the future of industrial and tourist development in north Kerry. That area will suffer as a result of this as indeed will the whole mid-western area.

I am not happy that three officials based in Tralee will cover all of north Kerry adequately in terms of industrial and tourism promotion. I would like the Minister to state tonight if it is his intention to set up permanent tourist offices in the north Kerry area, especially in Listowel and Ballybunion. Listowel is the centre of north Kerry and Ballybunion is our main tourist resort.

One of the greatest disadvantages as far as the landbank in Ballylongford is concerned is access. The road from Limerick to Tarbert should be included in the national programme. In that programme I understand it is proposed to develop roads that lead to ports and it is only right that this road should be upgraded. Otherwise it will be very difficult to market the landbank in Ballylongford harbour area.

I am concerned about another matter — Deputy O'Malley went into it in some depth — and I would like the Minister to explain it further. He said there is close co-operation between the IDA and SFADCo but obviously there has to be some competition as well. Surely the two bodies will be vying with each other. I am sure the IDA in south Kerry will be vying with SFADCo in north Kerry to see who can bring most to the county. We in Kerry County Council will be comparing the performance of both bodies. I [2108] am sure there will be no co-operation in bringing projects to Kerry. If the IDA can get a project for south Kerry they will not offer it to SFADCo in north Kerry. The IDA officials with whom I have discussed this matter were very irate about north Kerry being taken out of their remit.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  The Deputy was looking for that for years.

Mr. Deenihan: Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Yes, I was looking for it and I think it was right but I am very concerned about funding of it. I am worried about the personnel SFADCo have in Europe and in America. Is the Minister confident that they will be able to match the IDA when it comes to promoting the area? It must be remembered that our main competitor for port business in the southern region is Ringaskiddy, County Cork. They have infinitely more facilities than are available in Ballylongford. They have a very good infrastructure. They have gas, a good road system, and a more than adequate water supply whereas the land bank in Ballylongford has none of those advantages. I am worried about SFADCo's funding and I would like the Minister to explain how SFADCo will operate efficiently with less money. This bothers me and I do not accept that SFADCo can promote the area as vigorously as they should.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  First, I would like to seek some information from the Minister before agreeing to section 3.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  We are on section 2, Deputy.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  My apologies, a Cheann Comhairle. I was moving on to the next parish in section 3.

I would like the Minister to give us more detail on how the SFADCo operation will work in relation to their new responsibilities in north Kerry. Together [2109] with Deputy Deenihan I sought information from the Department of Industry and Commerce, the Department of Finance and the Department of Tourism and Transport with regard to the amount of money that will be provided specifically to assist the enlarged SFADCo in their new responsibilities. Unfortunately, from the information received it would appear that there are no additional moneys available for promotion at home or to assist in promoting north Kerry as a new part of the mid-west region.

The people of Kerry will no doubt be totally confused if not quite schizophrenic in their attitude to SFADCo. For many months people were saying it was desirable that north Kerry should be in the SFADCo region. Now we hear Deputy O'Malley saying that SFADCo have out-lived their useful life and are failing the mid-west region and that the Limerick area would be far better off within the ambit of the IDA. The IDA in fulfilling their role for south Kerry had an office in Tralee over the past number of years, but this was given only after a great deal of persuasion and agrument on the principle that they had an office in Donegal, which is a separate region. The IDA were very reluctant to have an office in Kerry because of the fact that Kerry was within the Cork region but eventually they agreed to locate an office in Tralee. They have agreed to leave it in Kerry for another two years until the lifetime of the office has expired. However, without any political or other persuasion they made a great scene in the past two weeks about opening their office in Killarney. I had to ask myself why there was this great palaver about opening the office in Killarney, given the office in Tralee was opened after nightfall with a slight degree of embarrassment on the part of the IDA and without admitting that political pressure had been used. Now we have the spectacle of banner-waving and great public display when the office in Killarney is opened. I can only conclude — and I would like the Minister's comment on this — that the reason there was such a display in Killarney was that in south Kerry the IDA will now have to compete [2110] with SFADCo in north Kerry. There will be very obvious comparisons made between how SFADCo are doing in north Kerry and how the IDA are doing in south Kerry. I only hope it will work to the benefit of County Kerry as a whole. Perhaps for every factory in north Kerry we will get one in south Kerry as well.

I have serious misgivings about what is happening in the regions generally. I have actually been a victim of the competition between SFADCo and the IDA when trying to sell this country abroad. You were never quite sure who was going to stab you first and which official was going to run off and announce the news: the IDA or SFADCo. I would like the Minister to comment on this duplication and the cost of the duplication to the State. I have reason to believe that to maintain one official abroad for either of these bodies costs in the region of £200,000 per annum and I am beginning to wonder — and I have heard this from many Ministers who have worked on foreign trips for the benefit of SFADCo and the IDA — whether the number of officials available confuses the people we are trying to attract into the country. We can bring somebody as far south as Tralee in the mid-west region but if they express an interest in Killarney they will have to be handed over to another escort. I now wonder about the wisdom of this move and what it holds out for the promotion of employment in areas that need employment. I would like the Minister to comment on the figure I suggested as the cost of maintaining an official abroad.

Since the tourism function for the mid-west region was given to SFADCo I would like the Minister to give us more detail as to how they have operated in this new area of responsibility. In a question to the Minister for Tourism and Transport I sought to find out how much funding was available to SFADCo to promote their areas of extra responsibility in north Kerry. It appears from the answer I received to my parliamentary question that despite the fact that SFADCo have de jure responsibility, Bord Fáilte are still charged with responsibility for selling Ireland abroad. Perhaps the Minister [2111] would clarify what function SFADCo have in relation to tourism promotion abroad and how this is differentiated from the function of Bord Fáilte?

I would like the Minister to give me some specific reason why we have competing bodies charged with the same responsibility albeit for different regions, functioning abroad for the same purpose. Would it not be more clinical and perhaps more expedient if we decided to rationalise our services at a time when the Government seem to be cutting back on everything at home and provide a single Authority to try to sell Ireland abroad and attract investment to the country with that one body operating on behalf of the Government? I have heard from many industrialists that there is an element of confusion with one group trying to attract them to a specific region as opposed to another group who can offer them the rest of the country. Perhaps the Minister will comment on that.

Finally, I would like to ask the Minister if he is satisfied that all of the areas of north Kerry are included in section 2 and that on the information available to him every parish in the county is covered.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  I will now reply to the various questions raised by Deputies Lowry, Carey and Spring. First, I want to make it very clear that the extension of SFADCo's remit will not result in any additional cost to the Exchequer as it simply represents a new division of areas between various bodies with the same task being performed in a more co-ordinated and integrated way by one body. As Deputies are aware, when this Government assumed office on 10 March 1987 they inherited a disastrous economic situation. We then had to make very firm decisions about reducing public expenditure, rationalising Government programmes and reducing the numbers in various organisations. We now have a very slim, fit organisation representing the country and selling Ireland efficiently at home and abroad and this is something of which we are extremely proud. As Deputy Spring is aware, the number [2112] employed in the industry in north Kerry at present is 3,450. This is relatively small by comparison with the numbers in the existing mid-west. It is clear that the additional work incurred in promoting and servicing north Kerry will not be of major significance and should be incidental to SFADCo's additional activities. The Deputy is correct in saying that the IDA at present serve north Kerry from a sub-office in Tralee staffed by one person. I hope that that role will be assumed by SFADCo.

As Deputy Deenihan said there will be a transfer of IDA property in north Kerry to SFADCo. This will result in SFADCo receiving extra current own resources from factory rents and grazing fees from the Ballylongford site which is currently let for grazing. The IDA indicated that the net increase in SFADCo's current own resources as a result of the transfer of an IDA property in north Kerry is likely to be in the region of £60,000.

Another point adverted to by Deputy Spring and Deputy Deenihan was competition between the IDA and SFADCo particularly in the US. I visited the US in December 1988 and arranged an official meeting with the representatives of the IDA, SFADCo and CTT. I could not have found a group of people more collectively supportive of each other in relation to what they were promoting. I had no experience of one organisation trying to take business away from the other and trying to divert it to other areas. The personnel representing SFADCo and the IDA abroad are playing on the same team for the one country. I am satisfied that they support each other and effectively fulfil their roles.

There is a need for a regional organisation to serve the mid-west which will now encompass Deputy Spring's constituency. I hope this organisation will be very successful in bringing many major industries to north Kerry and I have no doubt that the Deputy will be pleased with the results which will be achieved.

As regards tourism, SFADCo will be fully responsible for promoting north Kerry on the home market. They will work with Bord Fáilte in the overseas [2113] promotion of north Kerry by Bord Fáilte who are responsible for the marketing and promotion of Irish tourism overseas. There is already a tourism consultative council in SFADCo in the context of the Shannonside region. The council chaired by SFADCo comprises of representatives from industry and the Shannonside region. It is envisaged that SFADCo will consult with tourism interests in north Kerry as to their inclusion in this council. I have no doubt that south Kerry will do well too. The IDA are very happy with the resurgence of confidence and interest in Ireland as a result of the firm decisions that have been taken over the past two years.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  A Pauline conversion.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  We now have an investment climate that entices people from abroad to invest here. We have redressed the imbalances resulting from the four years of the previous Government in which Deputy Spring as Tánaiste played a major role in ensuring that the national finances went totally out of control.

(Interruptions.)

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  In two years we have succeeded in redressing that imbalance and in restoring confidence. People are now looking to Ireland as an investment site. When we assumed office Ireland was being looked at with a degree of scepticism by international investors.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  They know your record.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I should like very much if Members would confine their remarks more closely to the Bill before us and the section we are in fact dealing with. I have allowed a lot of latitude, I must admit——

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  To the Minister.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  To all.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  I agree.

[2114]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Carey, I have allowed quite a lot of latitude to the Members who have spoken. The Deputy should concede that point, but I am not prepared to go any further in the matter. It is sounding more like a Second Reading than a Committee Stage measure. I now expect Members to confine their remarks solely to the section and not to deviate into the area of tourism and industrialisation generally. This is not the time for that. This is a limited Bill with little scope for deviation of that kind.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  I thank the Chair for the latitude. I suppose your particular attitude to different Deputies shows up—

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  That is uncalled for.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  —your anxiety to get rid of this Bill. Section 2 of the Bill is giving authority to SFADCo to take over parts of the River Shannon estuary to Beale, Carrig, Lislaughtin, Tarbert and Tarmon, a role which was already undertaken by different bodies. Bord Fáilte had the tourism role and now SFADCo has it. Also, and as the Minister said, a Shannonside tourism council will now hopefully include people from north Kerry tourist interests, in particular from Beale, Carrig, Lislaughtin, Tarbert and Tarmon. My only difficulty with that is that the Minister for the Marine is also taking on board the very same authority for tourism in Beale, Lislaughtin, Carrig, Tarbert and Tarmon. Will the Minister tell me now that Shannonside tourism will also take in the member from north Kerry who will be representing SFADCo, or the tourism interest of SFADCo or these people along the estuary in Beale, Carrig, Lislaughtin, Tarbert and Tarmon?

Is the Minister saying that SEDCo will have the total responsibility for tourism promotion in the Shannon Estuary area, for the dispersal of funds, and that the powers being asked of the Oireachtas in the SEDCo Bill are not necessary? That is irrelevant to section 2 of this Bill. The Minister has his own point of view, with which I do not agree, about the political [2115] events which took place in the past four or five years, but I will find another platform to discuss them. I am very interested to hear the Minister's position. We will have plenty of opportunity between this and June to air our views. Will the power being given to the development company in this Bill be limited by the power the Minister for the Marine is asking this House to give in the other Bill?

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  In relation to subsection (2) and the areas mentioned in this section of the Bill — I do not propose to read them out — I would like to ask the Minister a direct question. Earlier the Minister in his response referred to Structural and Regional Funds. This is an area of great importance and of interest obviously not alone in the mid-west but every-where, but in the context of this Bill it is of interest specifically in the mid-west. Am I to take it from his response that the Shannon Free Airport Development Company are the primary body responsible in this area for formulating planning within this area and that they would be used for approaches to Europe in the context of seeking funding? Are they the body the Government are listening to exclusively and primarily with regard to the national plan? If so, have all the other bodies in the area been made aware of that fact? When was this established? I understand there is confusion on this specific point. I was very interested when the Minister raised this matter this evening. It would be a great help if he could now nail down that point and tell us specifically if Shannon Free Airport Development Company are speicifically responsible and charged with this issue.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  In relation to the Minister's last response I shall try to confine myself directly to the purport of this Bill. There is one aspect of the Bill to which I would like the Minister to reply directly, that is, his statement that there would be no additional cost to SFADCo. I am alarmed to be informed of that because north Kerry is now in this area but it is [2116] either so insignificant or so incon-sequential that it does not require any additional expenditure. I would like if the Minister would clarify if funds will be transferred from the IDA to SFADCo? Will the Government give funding? After all, we received a message from the Government on today's Order Paper to authorise funds in relation to what we are doing here this evening. What sort of money are we talking about? Is the Minister saying money is not required or, that money will be required for this additional responsibility SFADCo are taking on?

In relation to the parishes from the register of electors in Offaly and north Kerry, can the Minister give me an indication of what I should say to the people in, perhaps, Abbeydorney, Ballyhorgan, Kilflynn, Duagh, Lixnaw, Lisselton, or other areas? Is there a specific message to be taken from the passage of this Bill? Can I tell them that because of the transfer from the IDA to SFADCo, they will see some industry, there will be some action around the place and that is why the Government are making this move? Is there a specific message from the Government or a specific sales pitch in relation to Kilfeighny, Ennismore, Gunsborough, Knocknagoshel or other districts, or will it be much the same, that what we are talking about is emigration and unemployment or, is the Minister saying he will stand over this and that I can go back to the people in my constituency at the weekend and tell them there is a new move to create industry and to create opportunities for employment in these areas? The Minister told us the situation he inherited in 1987 but he will have read the speeches made in this House by the Leader of the Opposition and by the chairmen of the health boards, in the previous four years. There was not enough money not only in Ireland but in Europe to satisfy the expenditure which Fianna Fáil wanted.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  We are straying again.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  We are straying but despite Foster's new revisionist history of [2117] Ireland, it is rather important that we bring it past 1972 because RTE seem to have the infection at the moment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  There will be another time for an extended debate in that area. I am trying to deal with the Shannon Free Airport Development Company Limited (Amendment) Bill now.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  I would like the Minister to give some indication — I am not sure if it has been mentioned already — of SFADCo's new responsibilities and explain how a major promotional supplement in the Irish Independent on Monday of this week was run by SFADCo, excluding all north Kerry. I was very surprised when I read that supplement, which was a major piece of promotional literature. Did they think the Bill would not go through because Fianna Fáil could not get their Deputies into the House this week——

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  Exclusion.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  ——or was a major exclusion order given in relation to north Kerry? I would like some clarification on the financial aspects of how SFADCo will take on this extra responsibility, with all of the gusto which the Minister is attributing to them, both at home and abroad? How can they do it without proper funding?

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  At the risk of being repetitive, may I again state clearly that the extension of SFADCo's remit to include north Kerry will not result in any additional cost to the Exchequer. It will simply represent a new division of areas between various bodies with the same task being performed in a more co-ordinated and integrated way by one body.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  Is there a switch of funds?

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  Regarding the query which Deputy Spring raised about what sort of message he could bring back to the people in the electoral area of north [2118] Kerry which are included in the Bill it is certainly the judgment of the Government that including north Kerry in the SFADCo region would improve the opportunities available to north Kerry to acquire more industry. I have no doubt he will fully support us in that. We also hope that it will improve tourist potential in the area.

Regarding Deputy Cullen's question about Structural Funds and the role SFADCo played in the preparation of the projects for structural funding for the mid-west region, they were the authority who prepared and submitted them to the personnel at Government level, who examined them before they were sent to the Commission. I hope that clarifies that particular question.

For Deputy Spring's information, one of the reasons which helped us decide on increasing the remit of SFADCo to take in north Kerry was that we felt that bringing north Kerry into the mid-west region would exploit the very clear links that now exist between Limerick and Tralee and that it would enable this link to be used as a lever for development. As the Deputy is aware the Limerick-Tralee route is a very heavy tourist route and bringing it into one region will allow the tourism potential along that route to be maximised. Tralee Regional Technical College has a very strong tradition with regard to programmes and courses which assist economic development in the area. There is a close association on the education-industry interfaces established by the RTC in Tralee and the designation of NIHE, Limerick, with university status——

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  Do not forget the south-west, Minister.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  I have no doubt that the presence of both colleges in the one region will encourage interaction between the colleges and will further develop this type of linkage. There are many compelling reasons why this was a wise move and we do not doubt our wisdom in including north Kerry in this new region.

[2119]Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  This section will bring a considerable area of County Offaly within the scope of the——

Acting Chairman (Mr. S. Walsh): Information on Seán Walsh  Zoom on Seán Walsh  Is the Deputy speaking on section 2?

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  Yes, I am referring to the different townlands included in section 2. Section 2 brings the District Electoral Division of Banagher, Birr Rural, Broughal, Cloghan, Derrinboy, Derryad, Dromoyle, Drumcullen, Eglish and Ferbane within the scope of the Bill. The point I am making is that a number of parishes in the Broughal, Derrinboy, Derryad, Dromoyle, Drumcullen and Eglish areas are being divided. Kilcormac parish is being divided but Mount Bolus and Ballyboy are being left out.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  The Deputy should put down an amendment.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  I believe it is unwise to divide areas and I would ask the Minister to bear in mind the division of parishes. County Offaly is being divided in two——

Mr. Lowry: Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  The Minister is saying that there will now be an industry on both sides of the parish.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  Hopefully, but it is doubtful and we will have to work in an effort to ensure that it comes to pass. It is a tragedy that County Offaly is being divided but it is even worse to see parishes being divided. I should like some of the areas I have mentioned to be included in the Bill.

Other areas referred to in section 2 are Kinnity, Knockbarron, Lea, Letter and the District Electoral Division of Aghancon. Some of those areas are included in the Slieve Bloom area. A Slieve Bloom development association has been in existence for the past 15 to 18 years and this association have received numerous awards for their approach to tourism development and the provision of small industries. They are a community based organisation made up of people who voluntarily give of their time. I would ask [2120] the Minister to keep the views of this association in mind. The people of County Offaly have been working in co-operation with the people of County Laois in the development of tourism in the Slieve Bloom area but because the Slieve Bloom area is now being divided in two — two-thirds of the Slieve Bloom area is in County Laois and one third in County Offaly — the work carried out by these people will also be divided. SFADCo will be responsible for the development of tourism in the Slieve Bloom area of County Offaly whereas I presume Bord Fáilte will be responsible for tourism development in the Slieve Bloom area of County Laois. I put it to the Minister that sub-dividing such an area will lead to problems with regard to development plans for tourism in that area.

There are beautiful sign posts in the Slieve Bloom area of County Offaly which indicate where the beauty spots are but there are very bad roads in these areas. It is important that the organisation responsible for tourism development in this area, whether it is SFADCo or Bord Fáilte, have sufficient funds available to help the county councils provide roads in these areas. It is essential that this type of division of responsibility should be avoided. It is wrong that the Slieve Bloom mountain is being divided because the people in County Offaly who have contributed so much for so long will be unable to continue with their plans for the development of the area. I do not think this point has been appreciated either by the Minister or the officials in the Department. Since SFADCo have taken over responsibility for this area the personnel and staff involved have worked extremely hard. They have been most helpful and co-operative. However, dividing responsibility for this area in my constituency has met with disapproval and disappointment by the people affected.

I ask the Minister to concede how he can change this situation before the Bill comes before the Seanad. Even at this stage I would be in favour of putting down an amendment on Report Stage to [2121] see if this section could be amended. By dividing this area the heart has been knocked out of the people who have contributed so much up to now. This is an unwise move and no consultation took place with anybody on the matter. This decision was announced on, I think, 28 December but no consultation took place and the people in my area are very resentful and upset about this.

I am speaking because the Bill affects my area, Deputy Spring is speaking as it affects north Kerry, Deputy Carey is speaking as it affects Clare and Deputy Lowry and others as it affects their areas. The people in my area are disappointed and upset that this division has taken place. Ballyboy is part of Kilcormac parish but that area has also been excluded. If one was to draw a line around the area, Ballyboy would come within that line and I believe it should be included in the Bill. The IDA have a very extensive budget and if SFADCo are to do their job in County Offaly they will need to get some increase in their funds. The Minister should be seeing to that. Without sufficient funds, I cannot see enough tourism development taking place in the south Kerry area.

Deputies Spring and Carey rose.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  Deputy Spring stood up first. The Minister did not answer my question and I intervened three times.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  Perhaps while I am seeking to prise some information from the Minister he will also be considering a reasonable response to Deputy Carey. One aspect on which I would like some clarification from the Minister is that of the role of SFADCo as opposed to that of the Shannon Estuarial Authority which, it would appear, the Government are intent on setting up in the coming weeks, that is, if the rod angling industry does not bring them all down on their heads.

The aspect on which I seek information — at a time when we hear much talk about rolling back the State and taking it away from freedom of movement and of [2122] thinking — is how SFADCo and the new Estuarial Authority will dovetail their responsibilities. I envisage that the new Authority, wherever they are located, will be developing a serious marketing programme to sell an estuary which we are led to believe has unrivalled deep water and unrivalled possibilities for shipping. Because of SFADCo's role in relation to industry and tourism and the role that will be given to the Estuarial Authority do I take it that there is a distinct possibility that industrialists may well approach the Estuarial Authority in relation to projects that may well happen to fall within the industrial ambit of SFADCo, thereby bringing about a certain amount of duplication?

Could the Minister clarify for me what discussions have taken place between the Department of Industry and Commerce and the Department of the Marine, discussions which I assume have taken place to avoid duplication in the areas of promotion. The raison d'etre for promotion is obviously to attract industry and shipping movement into the area. I assume a certain amount of the shipping promotion will overlap with industry. Does the Minister consider that it would be wiser if we were talking about having a single body? It is bad enough to have the two promotional bodies competing with one another — and I am convinced, and will remain so, that they are competing with one another and costing the taxayer more money.

Will not that be exacerbated by virtue of the fact that yet again in what is, relatively speaking, a small land mass and a small population centre, we are talking about creating yet another body? We will have the IDA working in south Kerry, SFADCo in north Kerry and the Shannon Estuarial Authority working within part of north Kerry and part of Limerick and Clare. There will be some very confused people in localities in County Kerry. I can envisage people addressing one another in the morning across the divide when they meet at the creamery — or at the Kerry co-op truck as it is nowadays — asking how things are with the IDA and how things are with SFADCo, [2123] whether the climate is any better in south Kerry now under the IDA, or if there are still the same problems that have been there in north Kerry over the past number of years.

I would particularly like the Minister to clarify for me and the House, before we give consent to section 2 of this Bill, what discussions have taken place between the Department of Industry and Commerce and the Department of the Marine and how he envisages the distinct role being played by both in attracting industry to the respective areas. We are talking, in effect, about a number of parishes listed in section 2, the parishes of Beale, Tarbert and Ballylongford, which will also be very much within the ambit of the Shannon Estuarial Authority Bill which the Government are hoping to get through this House in the coming weeks. How does the Minister envisage both bodies being charged with the setting up of industry, be it marine, or shipping, or other industry in these areas? Is there not a distinct possibility of major duplication yet again?

Mr. Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  How does the Minister of State envisage the proper functioning of the new Authority, given the resources that are available? Are we really talking about an extension of the area, a fairly drastic extension as far as the present region is concerned, to be serviced effectively, efficiently with a budget that is £500,000 less than it was? Is the Minister really serious about serving the extended area? I refer in particular to parts of my own constituency at present under the remit of the Industrial Development Authority. I fear that the southern parts of County Offaly will be transferred from being the hind tit of the IDA midland region to becoming the hind tit of the SFADCo region. I look for certain assurances from the Minister in this regard considering the number of townlands in west Offaly.

We are dealing with the heart of the Shannon Valley, an area with tremendous tourist potential and one which is lagging well behind other areas. I hope [2124] the new Authority will give precedence to developing the tourist potential not alone of the Shannon waterways from Athlone down to Lough Reagh, but also the Grand Canal waterways of west Offaly. Given the current budget available to the Authority I fail to see, how any great progress can be made for the benefit of the people of that area.

Before we agree to this extension, is the Minister in a position to give us some assurances on the staffing that will be available in the Offaly region? Again, it is particularly important for us to address this before this House gives consent to the elaborate extension as envisaged in the Bill. If the legislation is passed I would like to see the Authority looking seriously at conservation tourism in the midland plains of west Offaly in conjunction with both private turf development and Bord na Móna. There is marvellous potential there as far as bog oak is concerned and the general conservation of the midland peatlands. With a sum of £500,000 less for an extended area, I do not think the Minister is taking the legislation seriously at all. These matters are of extreme importance to my constituents and the Minister should give the necessary assurances before we proceed.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  My fellow Deputies from the Offaly region are very concerned about their area being included in the tourist remit of this Bill. This section outlines the areas that are to be included. In the course of his previous contribution, the Minister said that since 1988, SFADCo have assumed responsibility for tourism in their region. He told us that within that there are people from a tourism council called Shannonside that was self sufficient and which has now become a Shannonside tourism council heavily dependent on the taxpayer, which I suppose is beside the point. However, it is worth noting that the body the Minister abolished was self sufficient and that the new one is now dependent on the State. In any case, the membership of this council is to include people who were represented on the old Shannonside. There [2125] will also be people from the wrong side of the Slieve Bloom Mountains and from the wrong side of Kilcormac parish. There will also be people from Beale, Carrig, Lislaughtin, Tarmon and Tarbert which is along the southern bank of the Shannon in the north Kerry area.

Will the proposed Shannon Estuarial Development Corporation, who are also seeking powers from this Dáil with regard to the tourism remit they expect to have for the Shannon estuary, be included by Shannon Development on the Shannonside advisory council? If so, will they have overall responsibility for the Shannon estuary and other areas of north Kerry so ably illustrated by Deputy Spring and areas of south Offaly equally ably illustrated by Deputy Enright and Deputy Flanagan? Will they include members of the proposed Shannon Estuarial Development Corporation?

Mr. Foley: Information on Denis Foley  Zoom on Denis Foley  I should like to refer to the industrial position in regard to the region. Deputy Spring made a very good point a while ago and, in fairness to him, when he was in Government he was instrumental in opening an IDA office in Tralee. The Minister mentioned that SFADCo were taking over the north Kerry region and they opened an office in Killarney in a blaze of publicity.

I welcome the Bill as it is a positive step for north Kerry. We have a lot to gain from becoming involved with SFADCo in regard to industrial development and I look forward to progress being made. However, I am slightly concerned about the tourism side and I support the point made by Deputy Enright. There will be also duplication in so far as Kerry is concerned because, heretofore, we were within the Cork-Kerry region. I should like north Kerry to be included in a Kerry promotion by agreement with Cork and Kerry tourism. The mid-west region, with the inclusion of north Kerry, will now become a major tourist attraction as we have wonderful scenery and a lot to offer. Will the Minister ask SFADCo to issue a supplement to their brochures illustrating north Kerry?

[2126]Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  Moneygall, County Offaly, is not mentioned in the amendment. Every other townland in the area has been mentioned. Deputy Lowry will be familar with the situation as Moneygall is in Tipperary for hurling and Gaelic football purposes generally.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  What has happened to Moneygall?

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  It is not mentioned and there is a danger that it might have been overlooked. It would be very serious if it was left out.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  It should take its place among the nations of the world.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  It is important to clarify this matter.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  I am delighted that Deputy Enright has shown such a keen interest in the problems of Offaly. This was incorporated as sections 5 and 6 of the Shannon Free Airport Development Company Limited (Amendment) Act, 1983, and it has been in place since.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  Where is Moneygall?

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  The purpose of this amendment is to include north Kerry. Deputy Spring is not too sure whether that is a good idea but he is usually confused about these matters.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  We cannot all be gold medallists.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  That was a long time ago.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  Obviously.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  Deputy Flanagan was worried about funding and, at the risk of being repetitive and boring, I will say for about the fifth time that it is not the intention to provide any additional Exchequer funding. SFADCo are a State agency, they are working extremely well but their increased remit will not demand [2127] extra funds. They are an effective, competent and efficient organisation and we are confident that they can fulfil their proper and complete role. SFADCo will have £60,000 extra because of the disposal of IDA land.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  Disposal?

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  The land will be let.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  Will there be any disposal of land?

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  No.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  That is not true, land has been sold by the IDA in Ballylongford.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  It has been given away.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  Queries were raised about the function of Shannonside and their effectiveness in relation to tourism promotion. The remit of SFADCo to include north Kerry means that they will take over the tourist functions currently exercised by the Cork and Kerry Regional Tourism Organisation in that area. That organisation, like all the other regional organisations, is limited by a guarantee to over 700 subscribing members drawn from the industry over the entire Cork-Kerry region and local authorities. The organisation operates in accordance with and under the direction of Bord Fáilte.

SFADCo would assume functions covering visitor information services, product development and the promotion of north Kerry in the domestic market. Bord Fáilte would continue to retain the responsibility for the promotion of the area overseas and for the inspection and registration of tourist accommodation. SFADCo have already met with the Cork Kerry Regional Tourism Organisation and Bord Fáilte to prepare the ground work for the transfer of functions to SFADCo. No problems are envisaged in this regard.

In the meantime the north Kerry area [2128] is to be included in the 1989 promotional literature of the Cork Kerry Regional Tourism Organisation, and SFADCo will include supplements on north Kerry in their promotional literature. I have no doubt that Deputy Spring, who claimed that an advertisement which appeared in a daily newspaper — which I did not see — contained no reference to north Kerry, would accept as I do that it would be inappropriate to include north Kerry until this Bill has become law.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  North Kerry is being put at a disadvantage for the coming season.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  One cannot anticipate what may happen in respect of any legislation, it would be inappropriate to do so. The Deputy knows this as well as I do.

Mr. Spring: Information on Dick Spring  Zoom on Dick Spring  Bad management yet again.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  SFADCo would also provide visitor information services to visitors to north Kerry and operate the tourist information office in Tralee. I am pleased to inform the House that in 1988 this office handled 67,000 personal callers and booked over 4,500 bed nights, which is an impressive performance. SFADCo would be involved in encouraging the development of tourism products, visitor attractions and facilities in the north Kerry area with the co-operation and investment of tourism interests and with the aid of European Community Structural Funds. All applications for European Community Structural Funds in respect of north Kerry have been passed on to SFADCo by the Cork-Kerry Regional Tourism Organisation and are being dealt with by the mid-west sub-regional planning group.

As Deputy Spring and Deputy Foley are well aware, north Kerry has many tourist attractions, such as the cultural activities offered by Siamsa Tíre and Comhaltas Ceolteóirí Éireann and Listowel Writers Week——

Mr. Lowry: Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  Which is now doing well.

[2129]Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  ——and sporting activities such as golf and angling, along with many various entertainment events like the Festival of Kerry and the Ballybunion festival. SFADCo would be involved in the promotion of all those activities.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  What about the Rose of Tralee?

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  Indeed. It would be most inappropriate if we were to forget that.

Mr. Lowry: Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  It was a Clare girl who was recently crowned.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  We would not expect a Tipperary girl not to do well.

Mr. Lowry: Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  I agree with the Minister of State.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  SFADCo would be responsible for the promotion of north Kerry in the home market and would work closely with Bord Fáilte in the promotion of north Kerry overseas. Bord Fáilte, as I have already stated, are responsible for the marketing and promotion of Irish tourism overseas.

Just as they did when assuming responsibility for the promotion of tourism in the Shannonside region SFADCo would enter into discussions with local authorities and tourism interests in the north Kerry area so as to ensure that they continue to make financial contributions to the tourism effort for the area in 1989. Last year income from these sources and that generated from commercial activities of the Tralee tourist information office came to approximately £34,000. Even though it has proved impossible to apportion Bord Fáilte's subvention to specific areas they consider their contribution to north Kerry as negligible in view of the size of the area and the healthy financial position of the Tralee tourist information office.

Deputy Carey made a number of points in relation to the involvement of the tourism consultative councils. As he [2130] is well aware, and I think I have adverted to this already, SFADCo have a tourism consultative council for the Shannonside region. This council is chaired by a representative of SFADCo and comprises of representatives drawn from industry in the Shannonside region and representatives of most of the interested bodies in the area.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  Will it include representatives of the Shannon Estuary Development Corporation? I have asked the Minister of State that question five times.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  As the Deputy is well aware, there are two Bills at present before the House. First, there is this Bill, the Shannon Free Airport Development Company Limited (Amendment) Bill, 1988 and the second, the Harbours (Shannon Estuary Development Corporation) Bill, 1988. We are dealing with the first of those two Bills at present and I have no intention of getting involved in a debate on the other Bill.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  It is proposed that they be given the same powers.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  Let me reiterate what I have said already. Two Bills were placed before the House following a Government decision. There is close co-ordination between the Department of Industry and Commerce who have responsibility for the Shannon Free Airport Development Company Limited (Amendment) Bill, 1988 and the Department of the Marine who have responsibility for the Harbours (Shannon Estuary Development Corporation) Bill, 1988. I have no intention of getting involved in a debate on that Bill. The Deputy will have an opportunity to discuss that Bill when it comes before the House.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  I must be particularly dense. If the Minister of State is not prepared to do so would he get his officials, following the conclusion of this debate, to explain to me what the difference is? Maybe I am particularly [2131] dense. Why is it necessary to propose the taking of the same powers in the Harbours (Shannon Estuary Development Corporation) Bill 1988?

Mr. Foley: Information on Denis Foley  Zoom on Denis Foley  In fairness, that is a separate Bill. At present Kerry and Clare have no say.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  That is another matter.

Mr. Foley: Information on Denis Foley  Zoom on Denis Foley  That Bill will shortly come before the House. It proposes to give both Kerry and Clare a say.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  For the information of Deputy Carey, since he is talking so much about the Shannon Estuary, let me make a number of points even though I do not want to get involved in a debate on that Bill. Another logical reason for extending the remit of SFADCo is that it is increasingly being recognised that the Shannon region is a distinct area and has significant potential for development. It has long been recognised that the estuary is a tremendous natural asset to the region. It has many advantages from an industrial and tourism point of view. Among the facilities available along the estuary are a good water supply, up to 90,000 cubic metres or 20 million gallons per day can be made available; an electricity supply available from power stations at Tarbert and Moneypoint; good harbour facilities including bulk, solid and liquid pipeline loading facilities at Moneypoint and Aughinish; a supply of natural gas available by pipeline to a point in the estuary between Limerick and Aughinish; large oil storage and handling capacities and a coal handling facility at the Moneypoint site.

Up to now for industrial development purposes the Clare and Limerick portion of the estuary as it was included in the mid-west region was promoted by Shannon Development while the north Kerry area was promoted by the IDA as it was included in the south-west region. This division did not help in the drawing up of an integrated development plan for the estuary. Having one unified region would [2132] allow the adoption of a more comprehensive approach towards planning, promotion and development of the estuary, which could be promoted and marketed as one unit.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  By the Shannon Development Company?

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  Economic investigations and other studies could be carried out in respect of the entire estuary which could be developed without the disadvantage of internal demarcation. Another example of the Government's commitment to developing the estuary as a coherent unit is the decision to establish a single harbour authority for the river mouth. There are obviously good, compelling reasons why this decision has been taken.

In reply to Deputy Carey, the Shannon Estuary Development Corporation will deal only with port and marine related matters — I have said that — because they are functions of the Department of the Marine. There will be no duplication of activities as far as SFADCo are concerned. I hope that answers it.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  What tourism is there in marine affairs in the port of Limerick?

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  The Minister has outlined a considerable amount of work to be undertaken by SFADCo in different areas. He has mentioned the area I represent, my home area, where questions are being asked of me about what is happening in the Birr south Offaly west areas. I wish to put a couple of simple questions to the Minister.

What exactly will be the brief of SFADCo in regard to tourism development in this whole area? Will SFADCo be responsible for the development of tourism for the home market in south and west Offaly? Secondly, will SFADCo or Bord Fáilte be responsible for tourism development in south and west Offaly? Which of them will be responsible for the promotion of tourism from overseas in south and west Offaly, in other words in [2133] Kilcormac, Ferbane, Cloghan and Shan-nonbridge? Thirdly, Clonmacnoise is famous throughout Europe and attracts huge numbers of visitors each year. Will it to be included under SFADCo? It appears to me that it is not being included, although it seems part of the area there is being included.

Excellent hotels have been developed there. The River Shannon comes right across the area. People have spent a considerable amount of money developing boating on the Shannon which brings in numbers of visitors from Germany, France, Britain and all across Europe who spend a great deal of money there each year. Bord Fáilte have been doing certain promotional work attracting visitors from Europe. Who is to be responsible for that now?

There are a number of lakes in the south Offaly-North Tipperary area which are used for fishing and boating. Who is to be responsible for them? We have been reasonably successful with golfing and it has been well promoted. Who is to be responsible for that? People there own a number of stables and horses are available for hire and so on. Those people have spent a great deal of money to attract overseas visitors. Who is to be responsible there? I ask the Minister to outline what will happen here.

The IDA will be responsible for part of Offaly in regard to industrial development. They will be responsible for the remainder of my constituency and for Deputy Flanagan's constituency. Part of Offaly is to be under the SFADCo remit. Whatever development for industrial purposes takes place, I hope there will not be demarcation lines, red lines or lines of division. We have enough divisions, in this country without having more in Laois-Offaly. We should try to promote Ireland. Be it SFADCo, the IDA or Bord Fáilte, we should promote Ireland and attract investment and tourists into Ireland. I hope there will be no overlapping due to certain individualistic approaches by different organisations. It is important that that should be avoided.

In regard to the literature, if Bord [2134] Fáilte are doing the promotion their brochures should cover all the area, and similarly for SFADCo. In the past few weeks mention has been made of some areas not being included by the IDA in their promotions for industrial purposes. I have not seen the brochures referred to, but whatever areas are included under the IDA, SFADCo or Bord Fáilte, we all represent different parts of Ireland but we represent the one country and that should be in the forefront of our minds. I have described the position to the Minister. There is a great deal of disappointment and upset in regard to the Slieve Bloom area.

We will not push this matter to a vote tonight. It will be coming before the Seanad. I ask the Minister to consult with his advisers to see if we can find an overall strategic approach to Slieve Bloom. People have devoted a lifetime to the development of that area when to do so was unpopular, when nobody knew about Slieve Bloom. People worked away night after night in cold schools and halls promoting the area. After all that work the prospect of the area being divided is causing problems and upset. I ask the Minister to see if it can be rectified. I do not believe it was envisaged or even remotely in mind that such a situation could arise when this legislation was being drafted or these Cabinet decisions were taken. A great deal of work will now be seen to have gone a-begging when too many volunteers have contributed so much.

In the Shannon area wonderful tourism work is being done in a place called Lusmagh in County Offaly. Old canals have been developed that had gone dry because water was not allowed into them. The work there was all done by hand because for grant purposes under the schemes the people were not allowed to bring in machines. By pure muscle and sweat those people did a great deal of development work. I do not know whether SFADCo at present can contribute financially towards these works or the development of this area.

The people in that area have done Trojan work. They are planning to develop trout, salmon and all types of [2135] fish. An effort should be made by SFADCo to assist these people further. I have found the staff of SFADCo to be professional, hard working and enterprising in their approach. The Minister should ensure that there will not be further divisions in the area. It must be sorted out in consultation with the people concerned.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  I asked the Minister on previous occasions to give a clear indication that there will not be a duplication of power and responsibility. The Minister has not, however, conceded one iota in regard to duplication or lines of demarcation. It is most frustrating not to get an answer on this matter. When the Minister is replying he will talk about powers in relation to tourism which will be exercised by SFADCo, but many of these powers are also to be exercised by the Shannon Estuary Development Corporation. I have already named the areas affected in north Kerry. Under the Harbours (Shannon Estuary Development Corporation) Bill, 1988, it is proposed in section 4 (1) (a) that the functions of the corporation shall be to promote, coordinate and develop, in conjunction with Bord Fáilte Éireann, the Industrial Development Authority, the Shannon Free Airport Development Company Limited, and the appropriate local authority, investment in marine-related industrial, tourist recreational and amenity facilities....

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Carey knows full well that there is a special piece of legislation appertaining to the estuarial development of the Shannon region before this House. He and every other Deputy will have ample opportunity of ventilating their views on that legislation. It does not arise now. The Minister in the House and his Department have no responsibility for that matter.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  The Minister is seeking authority in the Bill before us. He is looking for the same authority.

[2136]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  You will have an ample opportunity of expressing your views on the estuarial legislation. It does not arise now. It is not relevant.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  It is most certainly relevant.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Carey, it most certainly is not relevant. It is most audacious of the Deputy to suggest so, especially when he is in full knowledge of the fact that there is specific legislation before the House on the estuarial aspect of the matter.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  I have difficulty in understanding the Ceann Comhairle.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Carey must desist. Does he deny that this legislation is before the House?

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  No.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Then wait until it comes before you and you can speak as long as you like on it on Second Stage.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  I will remember that.

Mr. Lowry: Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  Deputy Carey is frustrated because he has not received answers to some of the questions previously put by him. While I respect your position and your admonishing of him, I am sure he will express himself in due course on that matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Surely the Deputy will agree that there is a special piece of legislation appertaining to the estuarial aspect of the development of the Shannon region.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  It is beyond me. It is incomprehensible. They are taking the same powers.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  It is not relevant on this measure.

Mr. Lowry: Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  There are many properties in those areas which have been purchased [2137] by the IDA. What is the legal position with regard to those properties, land banks and various industrial sites in view of the fact that earlier this year the Minister for Industry and Commerce instructed the IDA to dispose of assets to assist them in meeting the day-to-day costs of fulfilling their functions? Have arrangements been made for a transfer of these properties to SFADCo? Some of the properties have been on the open market for a considerable time and prices have been negotiated for them. Will the money accruing be transferred to SFADCo? It would assist in meeting the shortfall which currently exists. I am quite concerned that lack of funding will inhibit SFADCo in fulfilling their role and responsibilities in this extended area.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  The Shannon Estuary Development Corporation will deal only with port and marine-related matters. There will be no duplication of activities. They cannot grant aid any body that would be grant aided by another State board. The Ceann Comhairle has clearly indicated that it is a different Bill.

Regarding Deputy Enright's points, west and south-west Offaly have been in the mid-west region under the aegis of SFADCo since 1983 and since that time SFADCo have had responsibility for small industries there. As and from 1 January last year, SFADCo also assumed responsibility for large and medium-sized industry and tourism in that area. There is a demarcation in regard to the promotion of tourism. SFADCo promote tourism on the domestic market, while Bord Fáilte promote tourism on the overseas market. The two bodies will work hand in hand to promote Offaly. Obviously Bord Fáilte promote all activities in parts of Offaly not included in the SFADCo administrative area.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  One half of the parish.

[2138]Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  That Bill was enacted in 1983. I wonder if Deputy Carey protested then. If there is an anomalous situation there he could bring it to the attention of the Minister for Industry and Commerce and I have no doubt that he would give due consideration to it. I am not an authority on the townlands of west and south-west Offaly and for that reason I respect the local knowledge of the Deputy. However, I have no doubt that the Deputy would get lost if he visited south Tipperary. The Deputy has a thorough knowledge of his own constituency and if there are anomalies there he should point them out to the Minister for Industry and Commerce who, I have no doubt, will listen very conscientiously to what he has to say.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  We are referring to tourism.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  It has been stated that there is a lot of disquiet in the very beautiful area at Slieve Bloom.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.


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