Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Deliveries of Coal Slack.

asked the Minister for Supplies if he is aware that coal slack deliveries have ceased to quarry owners in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains, and that this stoppage is affecting from 800 to 1,000 persons engaged in the granite industry, as the slack is necessary for the sharpening of tools; and, if so, if he can take any steps to alleviate the present situation.

I am not aware that coal supplies to quarry owners in Wicklow and Dublin have already ceased. In the existing critical supply situation, however, it has been found necessary to withhold permits for the purchase of fresh coal by individual concerns whose existing stocks were considered sufficient to meet requirements during the month of June, 1944.

The particular form of industry referred to by the Deputy is not included in the group of first-line industries or services, the maintenance of which is considered at the present time to be essential to the life of the community as a whole. It will not be possible, therefore, after the end of June, to make further supplies of coal available generally for use in connection with the operation of stone quarries.

In connection with the provision of the slack necessary for the sharpening of tools, is the Minister aware that the same conditions apply now to the Dublin Corporation and to outdoor jobs where small forges are used for the sharpening of tools? The slack has been withdrawn and that has resulted in unemployment. In view of the small quantity required for these outdoor forges, will the Minister see that no necessary unemployment will follow?

It is not possible to make coal available for the purpose.

This is a question of slack.

Will the Deputy agree to take coal from the Dublin gasworks for that purpose?

I only mean to give a small quantity of slack to keep the smiths working sharpening tools for others.