asked the Minister for Finance if he received an application for a grant from the Relief Schemes Vote for the purpose of carrying out a drainage scheme in the town of Ballinakill, Leix; whether he is aware that the existing system was condemned many years ago as a menace to the health of the inhabitants; whether he has been furnished with evidence to show that there are over one hundred unemployed able-bodied men in the dispensary district, many of whom are now in receipt of home help, and also whether he is aware that the local ratepayers could not presently be expected to bear the total cost, and if he will sympathetically consider the question of giving a reasonable grant so as to enable this necessary work to be carried out, and thereby relieve unemployment and distress in the district.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - BALLINAKILL (LEIX) DRAINAGE SCHEME.
An application was received from the town of Ballinakill for a State contribution towards the installation of a new sewerage scheme, estimated to cost £4,000.
The scheme was examined, but having regard to all the circumstances, was not considered a suitable subject for a grant.
Is the Minister aware that the Rural District Council, lately abolished, were requested to draw up a scheme in anticipation of receiving some suitable grant? Is he aware that there are over one hundred men unemployed in this area, and that there are 60 per cent. of them ex-Volunteers, who subsequently served in the National Army? Is he also aware that a road scheme with the object of giving employment to these men has been turned down, and will he say if there is no scheme that can be put up by the local authority which would allow a grant to be given to relieve unemployment in this area?
I could not undertake to remember all the questions the Deputy has asked. I will answer the last one. A scheme might be put up which would lead to a grant being allowed, but I do not think this is a district in which the distress is so great as in others. At least my information is not the same as the Deputy's information. This is a very small village which, I understand, is not as badly hit as a great many other places, and there can be no justification for giving such a large sum as £4,000 in that area unless there were some special circumstances which have not yet been disclosed.
There was no application to cover the full cost of the scheme, but for whatever amount which would in the opinion of the Minister, enable the work to be carried out without any undue hardship on the local ratepayer.