Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Foxford Forestry Employees.

asked the Minister for Lands if he will state the number of persons employed by the forestry branch of his Department in the Foxford area, County Mayo, on the 15th June in each of the years 1956, 1957 and 1958.

The total numbers of men employed at Foxford forest on the 15th June, 1956, 1957 and 1958 were 72, 49 and 33, respectively.

Could the Minister indicate why the trend appears to be downward?

Unfortunately the numbers of offers of land in the immediate area seem to make it impossible, at the moment, to expand employment. The high employment given in 1956, and for a considerable period in 1957, was due to costly thinning work which has now been completed. The road construction programme has now also been completed.