Wednesday, 26 April 1995
Dáil Éireann Debate
6. Mr. B. Ahern asked the Taoiseach the progress, if any, the Government has made on implementing the recommendations of the Government Task Force on a Crusade for Survival related to the West of Ireland. [7571/95]
Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Mr. Carey): The report of the Government task force on A Crusade for Survival was published in April 1994. The report made a large number of policy recommendations. They cover issues on agricultural and rural development, social welfare incentives, manufacturing industry, tourism, marine development, infrastructure and sustainable development and institutional issues. These issues span a number of Government Departments. Considerable progress has been made under each of the headings by the Departments concerned. I will forward to the Deputy a detailed statement outlining the main developments in each area.
The commitment of this Government to the west of Ireland is well illustrated by my own appointment. In my capacity as Minister of State responsible for western development and rural renewal, I have responsibility for the Western Development Partnership Board, for the establishment of a pilot programme on an integrated approach to the delivery of public services in remote rural areas and as chairman of the Interdepartmental Co-ordinating Committee on Island Development, I am also responsible for the development and improvement of living conditions on our off-shore islands.
Mr. Carey: That is a separate matter but I am concerned about the flooding in Gort and visited the area on a number of occasions. I was there last Monday night and heard the Minister, Deputy Higgins, who has responsibility for this explain how the Government will tackle the difficulties experienced by the people there.
Mrs. O'Rourke: I appreciate that the Minister of State is doing his job and I have no gripe with him or the way he carries out his duties. I am puzzled as to whether Ministers work to the Minister of State or the Minister of State works to Ministers.
Mr. Carey: I do not believe that the Deputy lacks understanding. She knows what is involved. I will read the reply again in case my diction was wrong on the first occasion. I said I have responsibility for the Western Development Partnership Board which was set up in a flurry by the former Taoiseach, Deputy Reynolds in Castlebar. I also have responsibility for the establishment of a pilot programme on an integrated approach to the delivery of public services in remote rural areas. I recommend that the Deputy read the NESC report on rural renewal as it makes interesting reading especially if one is languishing in Opposition.
Mr. Carey: As chairman of the interdepartmental co-ordinating committee on island development I held more meetings of that committee than were held in the previous three years. I believe I am making good progress.
Mrs. O'Rourke: I believe the Minister of State is making good progress and I am trying to be really sweet. I read the report as I read every report. Not only am I good at attending but at reading. Does the Minister of State work to Ministers or do they work to the Minister of State?
Mr. Martin: Given the decline in primary schools in the west, the number of two and three teacher schools and the critical role played by national schools in rural development and renewal, will the Minister of State indicate if he will bring this important question within his remit to ensure a proper integrated approach on the Government's side towards arresting the decline of the primary school population in the west?
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