I want to dispose categorically of the typical red herring which has been dragged in by the Leader of the Opposition in connection with the whole fisheries policy. It is untrue to say that the ice plants are to be closed down and got rid of. In fact, Deputies will be aware that it is the intention to provide ice in other places where it is necessary for the development of the fishing industry.
Deputy Dillon suggests that these processing factories are being closed down. The position was made quite clear in the White Paper to which my Parliamentary Secretary referred as to what was the policy in this connection. The White Paper on the industry set out at paragraph 18:
Where factories are held or provided by An Bord Iascaigh Mhara, efforts will be made to induce private or co-operative interests to lease or purchase them. The fishmeal factory at Killybegs was leased to a Danish firm shortly after its acquisition by An Bord Iascaigh Mhara in 1961 and offers have been invited for a letting of the fish processing factory at Schull, County Cork.
The fact is that there was a processing or freezing plant established at Schull by Deputy Dillon or by Deputy Flanagan, whichever of them did so, and that outfit has not worked since. It is the policy of this Government to see, where possible, that An Bord Iascaigh Mhara will lease or sell these processing units so as to get them working in the same way as we have got the Danish firm to get that factory working, and working successfully, in Donegal.
We are not prepared to leave these factories idle. Considering that these plants are up for sale or leasing, I do not think I should say anything further about their past history but it is my sincere wish, and I am sure the sincere wish of the House, that co-operatives or people concerned in the business, no matter who they are or from what country they come, will be interested in these processing factories that are now for sale or leasing, and that we shall have the same activity as is now provided under the same policy in Donegal in the factory to which I have referred.
It is no use having these factories there idle; it is no use having these factories there serving no purpose. If people who are expert in this business are prepared to operate them on a commercial basis and thus provide a market for the fishermen who land their fish, then I think we should all rejoice. It is a complete absurdity to suggest that we expect the fishermen to take a cheaper price for their fish, and in some way to enrich the merchants. In fact, no Government since the foundation of this State have gone as far to provide inducements for the resurrection of the Irish fishing industry as this Government have under this White Paper.
There were never such inducements given for the provision of new boats. There were never such inducements given for the training of young fishermen. There was never such an attempt made on a broad national scale to provide for the reorganisation of this industry, for the marketing, export and processing of fish and to deal with every other aspect and development of this industry. I will not allow the Leader of the Opposition to get away with this red herring, that this new policy is designed for the purpose of enriching those involved in the commercial side of the industry.
Deputy Dillon has mentioned Galway. I want Deputies to throw their minds back to a few years ago when the Coalition were in power and when he put the plant in Galway. What happened? Under his Department, there were supposed to be eight boats given to Connemara fishermen in order to ensure a continuity of supply for that factory in Galway. The result was that with Deputy O'Donnell in Donegal pulling this coat tail and Deputy Somebody-else in Kerry pulling the other coat tail, all these boats were scattered around the whole coast and the poor Connemara fishermen, who were waiting for these boats in order to provide the fish for this factory, had to take to the emigrant ship.
That is the reason why Galway failed. Under this new policy, I can assure the House we are now providing ways and means for the boats to be given under most favourable terms to our own fishermen in order to supply places like Galway. If we are successful in getting a sound commercial undertaking to take over Galway and run it as the Danes are running the one in Donegal, then there will be more employment and there will be a new life for the fishermen on the west coast of Ireland.