asked the Minister for Finance if he will make a statement on what has been achieved to date by the Kerry Development Team.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Kerry Development Team.
The Kerry County Development Team, as well as the teams in the other western counties, was constituted in its present form in 1965. The membership consists of the county manager, as chairman, the chairman of the county council, county agricultural officer, county education officer and county engineer. Each team is provided by my Department with a full-time development officer who maintains close contact with all local and national organisations.
Development has been proceeding at a rapid pace recently. Since 1965 new industrial projects have been established in the county with a total employment potential of 650. Proposals for the establishment of further industries are being examined and 13 small industry grant applications are at present being processed before being passed to the IDA.
A sub-committee of the team operates in the Gaeltacht and has been associated with the development of the Ballyferriter Co-operative Society which has received Gaeltacht Department building, management and machinery grants. In addition, the team's activities in this area have resulted in hotel development and harbour improvements.
Tourism is making satisfactory progress. New bedrooms in registered hotels and motels in the county have increased from 1,736 in 1965 to 2,609 now i.e. a 50 per cent increase.
The team has been responsible, with the aid of a grant of £50,000 from the Special Regional Development Fund, for the development of an airstrip mid-way between Killarney and Tralee at Farranfore which should give a great boost to tourist and indeed industrial development in the county. On the recommendation of the team assistance from the fund for a number of other projects has been promised.
One of the main achievements of the Kerry team, as indeed the teams generally, has been to provide local expertise and leadership in the promotion of the economy of its county in conjunction with local voluntary bodies, private individuals and groups and State agencies. I am satisfied that the team has made a notable contribution to development in Kerry and will continue to do so