Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Industrial Uses of Peat.

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state if any research is at present being conducted into the possible industrial uses of peat as a raw material or the utilisation of its by-products.

Research on turf in this country is now carried out mainly by Bord na Móna through the experimental and research station financed under the Turf Development Act, 1946.

Experiments have been continued in the production of wax from peat, and substantial samples have been submitted to potential users with whom discussions are proceeding for the manufacture of the wax on a commercial scale.

Inquiry is proceeding on the question of the manufacture of wallboard and insulating material from peat, and on the utilisation of peat in gas turbines.

The research activities of Bord na Móna are, however, being concentrated at present on work designed to secure the production of turf in large quantities at reasonable cost.

In view of the latter portion of the Minister's reply, to the effect that the research activities of Bord na Móna are being concentrated on work designed to secure the production of turf in large quantities at reasonable cost, would the Minister consider extending these research activities in view of the need for finding other uses for peat either by way of raw materials or by-products?

I think I made it clear in the earlier part of the reply that that aspect of the matter is not being ignored but that, for the moment, they are concentrating mainly on finding methods of reducing the costs of producing turf in large quantities.