asked the Minister for Local Government what State grants were allocated during the last three and a half years to county councils in respect of the erection of major bridges and, further, if he will allocate to the Wexford County Council, in respect of the erection of Wexford bridge, a State grant not less than those allocated during that period.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Grant for Erection of Wexford Bridge.
Grants from the Road Fund have been allocated to county councils in respect of three major bridges during the last three and a half years. They are £5,760 to Donegal County Council for Belleek bridge; £86,000 to Donegal County Council for Gweebarra bridge; and £180,000 to Wexford County Council for Wexford bridge. The amount of the grant was determined in each case on the merits of the case. In the case of Belleek bridge the grant represents 72 per cent. of half the difference between the cost of replacing the old bridge and providing one up to modern standards. The grant for Gweebarra bridge represents 75 per cent. of the entire cost of the new bridge. The grant for Wexford bridge represents 60 per cent. of the entire cost of the new bridge and in addition special repayment terms are being extended to the Wexford County Council and the Wexford Corporation in respect of the loans they will raise to meet their shares of the cost.
Will the Minister not agree that there is a big difference between 60 per cent. for Wexford and 75 per cent. for Gweebarra?
The former Parliamentary Secretary is aware that 60 per cent. was the maximum amount sought by Wexford County Council and that his colleague, the previous Minister for Finance, refused to sanction that amount. He should be aware that the percentage sought by Wexford County Council was sanctioned only recently. The former Parliamentary Secretary is also aware, I am sure, that the circumstances in Belleek and Gweebarra and in Wexford are entirely different.
Will the Minister not agree that since that application was made by Wexford County Council the costs of the erection of the bridge have gone up?
The percentage is still the same.
But there is a maximum.
It is a generous maximum.