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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 17 Apr 1951

Vol. 125 No. 6

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Turf Production.

asked the Taoiseach if he is aware that the Minister for Social Welfare is reported in the Press of 9th April, 1951, to have stated at a political meeting that, in conjunction with the Department of Local Government and Bord na Móna, he was working on a scheme for the production of turf by county councils by semi-automatic machines as a permanent arrangement; and if he will state (1) which Department of State is primarily responsible for the Government's turf production programme; (2) the special functions, if any, of the Minister for Social Welfare in relation thereto, and (3) when the Government's plans for increasing turf production will be officially announced to the Dáil, and by whom.

I am aware that the Tánaiste made the statement referred to by the Deputy. The replies to the second part of the question are:—

(1) The Department of Industry and Commerce is responsible for the supervision of the production of turf by Bord na Móna and for the encouragement of private turf production through the board's turf-marketing and publicity schemes. The Department of Local Government is responsible for the supervision of turf-production operations by local authorities.

(2) The special function of the Tánaiste in relation to fuel supplies is the co-ordination of the efforts of both Departments to ensure the maximum supply of fuel. The Minister for Social Welfare, as such, has no functions at all in the matter.

(3) The House will be given full details of the plans for increasing turf production, during the forthcoming debates on the Estimates, by the Ministers for Industry and Commerce and Local Government.

Is the Taoiseach aware that there is a certain amount of genuine confusion in the country, more especially amongst local authorities, as to which Minister is definitely responsible? In the event of a serious fuel shortage, what Minister in the Government will be prepared to accept responsibility?

So far as local authorities are concerned, it is the Minister for Local Government. So far as the rest of production is concerned, it is the Minister for Industry and Commerce. The Tánaiste came in, merely at my request, so as to co-ordinate the effort to ensure that there will be no confusion and that the maximum supply of turf will be available.