asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware that during the term of office of the previous Government, the then Taoiseach accepted on behalf of the Government the principle of workers' representation on the boards of all State-sponsored bodies; and, if so, if he will state whether or not the present Government also accepts this principle, and whether he has any comment to make on the recent reappointment of the directors of Bord na Móna as announced in the Press on the 27th June, 1951.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Workers' Representatives on State Bodies.
As the Deputy may be aware, I have had, recently, correspondence on this subject with the Irish Trade Union Congress.
The Government does not consider it desirable that a representative of the workers employed in a State-sponsored commercial undertaking should be appointed to the board of directors. It would be difficult if not impossible for any person nominated on this basis to combine his obligations as a director with his obligations as a representative of the workers. Occasions, however, may arise where it might be both desirable and beneficial that persons with experience of trade union organisation and labour matters generally should be appointed to the boards of State-sponsored companies. Such persons would combine their experience in this field with the other qualities necessary in any director of a public undertaking and should, of course, be willing to participate in the management of the concern, sharing all the responsibilities incumbent on their fellow directors. I do not feel called upon to relate this principle to any statement of policy which may have been made by the former Taoiseach.
As regards Bord na Móna, the outgoing directors were recently reappointed, but no decision has been taken on the question of the desirability of appointing any additional members to the board.
Is the Minister aware that the constitution of the directors of Bord na Móna has been one of the great difficulties in recent years with regard to the recruitment of labour; that the constitution of that board has no confidence as far as the workers are concerned and that that has given rise to tremendous difficulties with regard to turf production?
The answer to the supplementary question is in the negative. I am not aware that that is so.