asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been directed to the statement which appeared in a daily newspaper of the 18th June stating that the design of the Corrib drainage scheme has been virtually completed and that work will commence next year; and, if so, if he will state whether the statement is correct and, in view of the urgency of the work, if he will introduce proposals for legislation to repeal or to amend Section 5 of the Arterial Drainage Act, 1945, so that work can commence immediately.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Corrib Drainage Scheme.
I have seen the newspaper report to which the Deputy refers. The position regarding the Corrib-Clare catchment drainage scheme is that the design and preparation of the scheme are well advanced but a considerable amount of essential preliminary work yet remains to be done. That preparatory work is being pressed forward with all possible speed and it is hoped to commence actual drainage works in 1953.
It is not proposed to amend Section 5 of the Arterial Drainage Act, 1945.
Would the Parliamentary Secretary say why it is not proposed to amend that section of the Act?
I do not think it would be at all desirable to repeal Section 5 of that Act in view of the fact that the local authority is also the local sanitary authority and the local health authority. Many things enter into a scheme in relation to waterworks and sewerage upon which it would be advisable, I think, to give the local authority a chance of making its observations. Furthermore, the local authority will be responsible for recouping the Commissioners of Public Works in relation to the cost of maintenance, which is no inconsiderable amount and has to be borne by the ratepayers of the respective counties.
Is the Parliamentary Secretary not aware that that section of the Act causes three months' delay? Secondly, we have had experience of three arterial drainage schemes where the local authorities themselves more or less brushed aside the Act. The Kerry County Council was willing to give its consent on the day on which it was asked in relation to the Feale drainage scheme. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to inquire into that matter.
I know it causes a certain amount of delay, but that is taken into consideration. The section at least gives the right to local authorities to make their observations, and that, in my view, is very desirable. Those observations cannot be ascertained until the survey and design is complete.
Would the Parliamentary Secretary inquire into the three arterial drainage schemes that are in operation? Did not the local authorities concerned themselves consider that this delay of three months was not necessary at all?
It might not be necessary in one particular case and it might be necessary in a number of other cases.
But it was not necessary in any of the three schemes that are in operation?
Why did you not repeal it?
That is not an answer to my question.