asked the Minister for Local Government whether his Department will consider in conjunction with other interested Departments the desirability of having special grants made available for the improvement of roads in Gaeltacht areas, most of which are in bad repair at present, so as to facilitate tourism in these areas and promote the economic well-being of the people there.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Roads in Gaeltacht.
The extent and location of the road works to be carried out in each county, including such Gaeltacht districts as lie within that county, is primarily a matter for the council of the county. The maximum grants which can be made available from the Road Fund for the coming financial year have already been notified to local authorities.
In addition to any moneys which the appropriate road authorities may decide to spend in Gaeltacht districts out of their annual allocations from the Road Fund and out of local rates, about 75 per cent. of the annual grants to county councils from the Employment and Emergency Schemes Vote are allocated towards the cost of further road works in the four principal Gaeltacht counties. I understand that the Gaeltacht areas also receive more than 50 per cent. of the minor employment schemes allocation for repairs and improvements of non-public roads.
Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the roads I have in mind in this question are county roads and that the improvement of county roads is not a matter for the office of works to which the Parliamentary Secretary has referred me in his reply? Is he aware that the roads in portion of the Gaeltacht are in very bad repair at the present time? In view of the desirability of improving economic conditions in the Gaeltacht and attracting tourists to that portion of the country, is this not a matter that should be specially considered by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister concerned?
I am still under the impression that moneys from the Employment and Emergency Schemes Vote can, as I stated in my reply, be devoted to county roads and 75 per cent. of that money goes to roads which are generally favoured in Gaeltacht counties.
The grants to which the Parliamentary Secretary refers have not been applied to county roads, to my knowledge.