Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - A Crusade for Survival.

Wednesday, 26 April 1995

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 452 No. 1

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  6.  Mr. B. Ahern  Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern   asked the Taoiseach  Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton   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): Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal 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 principal recommendation of the task force was that an outline plan of the region should be prepared by a new [86] body, the Western Development Partnership Board.

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.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  I thank the Minister for his detailed reply. Has the task force studied the effect of flooding around Gort? Does that come within the responsibility of the Minister?

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal 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: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary 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: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  I do not know if the Deputy listened to my reply.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  I did and it was very detailed.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  I have given this reply on a number of occasions and the Deputy was present on all of them.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  I am good at attending.

[87]Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal 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.

Miss de Valera: Information on Síle de Valera  Zoom on Síle de Valera  We do not languish.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  The Minister of State has it coming to him.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal 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: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary 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. Barrett: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  They work together; it is a team effort.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál 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?

[88]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy should put down a question on that matter.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  It is relevant to urban renewal.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am proceeding to questions nominated for priority.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  This is not fair. The question I asked was relevant to urban renewal.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  You raised a specific matter, put down a question on it.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  It is related to urban renewal.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  You may not argue with me, Deputy.


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