asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state what other documents, estimates, statistics and calculations, modifying, explaining, or amplifying the Siemens-Schuckert Report, were available for the experts that have not been made available for members of the Dáil and Senate, and the public in general; further, whether, having regard to the Minister's statement that the Oireachtas is the proper body to judge of the merits of the scheme, he will furnish members of the Oireachtas with all the information available to the experts, in order that they may be in a position to come to a sound conclusion with all the facts before them.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - THE SHANNON SCHEME—DATA FOR EXPERTS.
In addition to the Siemens' scheme, the only documents supplied by my Department to the experts were extracts from the 1911 census of population and particulars of existing electricity undertakings, but the experts supplied themselves by inquiries when in Ireland with a great deal of miscellaneous information which it would obviously be impossible for me to tabulate.
If any members of the Oireachtas require further information I will be glad to consider whether I can supply it, but to put them into possession, as proposed in the question, of all the information available to the experts when forming their judgment, would involve a training in hydro-electrical development at least as long as that of the experts and this is not a task which I feel called upon to undertake.
The Minister says apart from Messrs. Siemens' proposal, but I understood here on a previous occasion that we did not get all of Messrs. Siemens' report in the books that were issued. Am I right in saying that?
I make a difference. When I say in addition to the Siemens' scheme, by the scheme I mean the report, plus maps.
Will the Minister not consider following the usual practice in Private Bill legislation, having regard to the number of interested parties whose property will be taken, or destroyed, or depreciated in value?
And will the Minister not consider that we should have a full opportunity of seeing every point of information that is to be got, at the earliest possible moment?
That, I think, would come under the first portion of the second paragraph of my answer. As a matter of fact, if the Deputy will wait until he sees the proposed Shannon Bill he will see that there is a provision for leaving in offices of the Department throughout the country certain plans which will correspond to the type of plan requisite for Private Bill procedure. Of course I am not at all weakening in my previous reply when I stated that I would give the detailed business plans which I have in my possession to nobody.
On the question of the plans, is there something secret about the plans that they will never be available? What is the reason for that? Is it a question of costs in preparing copies? That would be a very simple matter.
It is a very simple matter. It is a question of revealing the brainwork of the only firm who thought that the Shannon scheme was possible and who have brought it to the stage when it is possible. I am not going to give that away to be employed by rivals.
How would that injure Messrs. Siemens, having regard to the fact that the Minister has stated, definitely and distinctly, that if Siemens did not get the contract there would be no scheme? How then could the revealing of these plans hurt Messrs. Siemens in any way?
Because the Oireachtas has not yet decided formally by legislation to have the Shannon scheme.