Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Assistance for Inistrahull Residents.

asked the Minister for Lands and Fisheries if any decision has yet been reached in regard to rendering assistance to the natives of Inistrahull Island (Co. Donegal).

The result of the enquiries made on the spot into the conditions of the six families which left Inistrahull last year for the mainland did not disclose any case for State assistance or intervention. It appeared that four of the families derived their livelihood from the Irish Lights boat service to the island, in which they are still able to engage.

Is the Minister aware that as far as the people on this island are concerned their occupation has been seriously interfered with by the operations of foreign trawlers? They were engaged on long line fishing and that helped them over the winter, but at present they are in exceedingly poor circumstances. Will the Minister say if the inspectors he sent to inquire into the matter reported that the people there are in poor circumstances?

I sent one of the principal officers of my Department there and he reported that of the six families, four earned their livelihood by service with the Irish Lights. As far as the other two families are concerned, any application that came from them to my Department was not for things that could be supplied by the Department. There were no applications for loans for boats or gear, but there were applications for a money grant to tide them over the winter. I referred them to the home assistance officer for the district.

Is it not a fact that the Minister said he would send an inspector there and after that inspector's report the whole matter would receive the consideration of his Department?

The Deputy Secretary of the Department did visit the district.

Did he report that these people are in poor circumstances?

He reported that they are not.