Ceisteanna.—Questions. Oral Answers. - Manufacture of Felt Hats.

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether his statement (a) to the Dáil on the 11th May last, to the effect that one factory had come into operation capable of supplying 25 per cent. of our requirements in men's felt hats, and that two other factories were to be built during the current year; and (b) his statement to the Dublin Chamber of Commerce on the 24th October last, to the effect that not one had yet gone into the manufacture of men's felt hats, were intended to refer to the same kind of felt hats for men; and if he will state how many persons, if any, are employed in the manufacture of men's felt hats of any kind and what is the average monthly output of such hats.

On the 11th May last, the date of the statement referred to by the Deputy, there had been established in the Saorstát one factory for the manufacture of men's felt hats. Since that date a second factory has been established, which has only entered upon production and has not yet completed the installation of its full plant. The plans of these two firms should result in the production within a reasonable period of the bulk of the requirements of the Saorstát in respect of men's fur felt hats. Wool felt hats, however, are not being manufactured in the Saorstát at the moment to any appreciable extent. Certain proposals have, however, been submitted to me having for their object the manufacture of wool hats and are receiving consideration. There are at present approximately 30 persons employed in the manufacture of felt hats in the Saorstát. It is not possible to state the average monthly output of such hats.

Are we to understand then that the statement made by the Minister to the Chamber of Commerce on the 24th October to the effect that no one had yet gone into the manufacture of men's felt hats was an incorrect statement of the position?

It was quite correct in so far as it related to wool felt hats.