asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware that there is no fuel depôt in Thomastown; that the nearest fuel depot is about one mile distant from the town; if he will take steps to have a fuel depôt established in Thomastown; also, if he is aware that deliveries of turf to the Thomastown area are most irregular, and that in consequence there is considerable difficulty in executing orders for delivery in the town.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Kilkenny Fuel Supplies.
I am not aware that the position is as stated by the Deputy. From inquiries I have made, I am satisfied that the existing facilities for the supply and distribution of turf in the Thomastown area are adequate for the purpose.
Is the Minister not aware that the only supplier of turf fuel in Thomastown is the local creamery, which is situated a mile or so from the town? I am informed that the supplies from there are most irregular and that, at times, the poor of Thomastown are unable to procure any, fuel.
The co-operative society to which the Deputy refers say they have no difficulty in meeting local demands for turf.
asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware that there is no fuel depot in Callan for the distribution of turf; and if he will take steps to have a fuel depot established in that town, and ensure that regular supplies of turf are delivered to it.
I am not aware that there have been any recent difficulties in regard to the distribution of turf in Callan. A turf merchant's licence was granted to a local trader in December last and since then no complaints have reached my Department of any failure to meet the local demand for turf.
asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware of the grave shortage in the supply of timber fuel for the Thomastown area, and of the fact that local fuel merchants do not sell timber fuel in small quantities, with consequent hardship upon poor people who are unable to buy in large quantities; and if he will take steps to amend the appropriate Order to compel fuel merchants to sell in small quantities to the poor of Thomastown.
There is no Order in force relating to the distribution of timber fuel. Inquiries which have been made do not indicate that the firewood position in Thomastown is one of peculiar gravity. For some time past there has been a general scarcity of this particular fuel and I am satisfied that the imposition of distribution restrictions would not result, in any improvement.
Is the Minister not aware that there was considerable controversy in the local Press with reference to this complaint-that it was impossible to obtain timber in quantities of less than six tons. That was the gist of the controversy in the Press. The individual timber merchant concerned said, when pressed on that matter, that he had not refused to sell timber in quantities of less than six tons and that, as late as a few weeks previously, he had sold quantities of four tons. The fact remains that poor people in Thomastown cannot get timber in quantities of less than a ton, at least. Would the Minister consider, in these circumstances, bringing in some Order to compel fuel merchants to sell in reasonably small quantities to poor persons-quantities to which their purse will reach?
Since the time to which the Deputy refers, felling has been resumed in the wood of the Forestry Department at Grennan, about a mile from Thomastown, and the officer in charge has been instructed by the Department of Lands to dispose locally of firewood blocks and light brushwood.
Is the Minister not aware that felling was suspended during harvesting operations?
On the 21st October, the Department of Lands had several hundred tons of timber for sale in the area.