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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 16 Apr 1969

Vol. 239 No. 10

Industrial Grants (Amendment) Bill, 1969: Second Stage.

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time".

The Industrial Grants Acts and the Undeveloped Areas Acts fix an overall limit to the total amount of grants which may be paid for industrial development by An Foras Tionscal. Under the existing legislation the limit is £40 million.

This limit will be reached in the very near future. Total grant payments under the Acts up to 31st March, 1969, were £35,910,781 and expenditure on the provision of industrial estates had reached £2,060,030 by the same date. This made a total expenditure by An Foras Tionscal up to the end of the last financial year of £37,970,811.

The House is aware that comprehensive legislation to amend the Industrial Grant Acts and to amalgamate the Industrial Development Authority and An Foras Tionscal is being prepared. I have to say that the preparation and drafting of this new measure has proved to be much more tedious than had been anticipated. I can assure the House that it is being pressed forward as rapidly as possible, but there is little chance that it could be enacted before the present limit on grant expenditure, £40 million, is reached.

It is necessary that An Foras Tionscal should not be debarred from paying grants on commitments they have entered into under the existing legislation and consequently the enactment of this further interim measure raising the ceiling for total grant money from £40 million to £50 million becomes necessary. This is the only purpose which this present short Bill has, and I recommend the Bill for the approval of the Dáil.

This type of legislation making grants available for the whole country for the first time in 1956 was introduced by the late Deputy William Norton as Minister for Industry and Commerce, in the case of the Industrial Grants Act, and by Deputy Gerard Sweetman, as Minister for Finance, in the case of the Miscellaneous Provisions Act of that year, and was opposed by Fianna Fáil and particularly by Deputy Seán Lemass, and then adopted by them when they came into power. In fact they have now reached the stage where £50 million will be spent within this financial year. This means that another policy proposed by the Fine Gael Party while in the interParty Government and by Deputy Norton of the Labour Party has been adopted by Fianna Fáil, namely, that if all the countries of Europe decided to subsidise and to encourage by financial inducement the provision of jobs we would have to do it too, that the world is getting smaller, the Continent of Europe is becoming smaller as far as communication between countries is concerned and that if free trade moves slowly towards culmination we will have to take our place with other countries. It is sad that the present Minister, who was not here and does not know the violent opposition of Deputy Seán Lemass at the time, with the full force of his Party behind him, should now find himself asking for more money for what was good parliamentary practice, good policy and necessary for this country.

However, let us not worry about the past. This Party for the last seven or eight years, certainly for five years, have been advocating change in the application of these grants. They were not alone because in the NIEC Report of 1962 it was the straight recommendation that the Government should indicate the growth areas. The idea of indicating those growth areas would of course have meant that the local authorities and everybody else who had capital moneys to spend would know where to spend them, would know what roads to improve to a very high standard to take heavy traffic, would know what facilities to provide for workers, would know the housing requirements and could make their case for capital funds from the Local Loans Fund and could ask the Government, through their agencies, to carry out the necessary infra-structure work that should have been done.

We now find ourselves in 1969 with the changes that were adumbrated from this side of the House announced in a press release from the present Minister some months ago and in the third paragraph of his speech he mentions the comprehensive legislation that is necessary. He says it is taking far longer than he thought and it is much more tedious than he anticipated. Be that as it may, in 1962 we had this report of the NIEC and nothing was done about it. Nothing was done about it because the Government were more interested in political affairs. They were more interested in the votes they would get in Leitrim, which I always use as an example, and what would happen if they decided that there should be an industrial estate and large-scale industrial development in, perhaps, Sligo. Whatever the loss of votes one way or the other, it is necessary to accept the fact that it is better for an Irishman or an Irish woman to move from one county in Ireland to a neighbouring county or even to the far side of the country than it is for that person to move from his own county to Birmingham, London or Coventry. That would be fundamental in our national thinking and proper in the furtherance of our industrial future.

In fact the spending of £50 million should have that thinking behind it as a prerequisite so that the spending of this money would not be clearly based on political advantage or disadvantage but on what was best for the country. As far as I can see, quite a bit of the comprehensive legislation mentioned by the Minister, if it follows the lines of his press release, is stolen from Fine Gael. We have had for five years at our Ard Fheis a proposal for the institution of a small industries grant with different application throughout the country. There is, in addition, the objection we lodged to the fact that adaptation grants, when they were produced first by the Minister some years ago, did not take in supply industries that might perhaps, in free trade conditions find themselves completely wiped out by competition from abroad. Unless the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement is changed, in 1975—I quote the words of the NIEC—72 per cent of our industrial products will be subject to the full blast of British competition. Therefore, the home market should be looked after as well as the export market.

Adaptation grants were available only for export—orientated industries. We welcome the suggestion of moving on to re-equipment grants and find it a little gratifying, but only a little gratifying, that the Government and the Minister have adopted our suggestion after perhaps three, four or five years' waste. The failure of the Government to make the necessary changes over the years means that now, after they have been in office since 1957, they tell us that the legislation necessary for the changes in those grants is tedious and will take a long time to prepare, when we have been telling them over the last decade, certainly over the last six or seven years, that the changes were necessary. In fact, if the Minister's predecessors had been doing their job those changes would have been carried out one by one, so that we would now find ourselves on the eve of an election, or in an election year at any rate, with our industrial thinking or industrial legislation up to date and not, as we are, in the position of waiting for long and tedious legislation to be prepared after a run in Government of 12 years by Fianna Fáil. This is entirely due to the failure of the Government to make these changes year by year.

There is another factor which must be mentioned in relation to the expenditure of this huge sum of money. We have had reports of international consultants such as Colin Buchanan and Partners in regard to where our industries should be sited. These reports have not seen the light of day yet. When I put down a question about certain areas in my constituency I was told here that this report was confidential and that it was improper of me to put down a question in relation to the development of industry in the north-eastern part of the State. At that time, as chairman of Louth County Council I had had that report lying in my desk for nine months. What are the Government doing? Will they give us this information or is it, in fact, being deliberately withheld from us? My view is that we should be a young State in a hurry, and the Minister should be a young man in a hurry. The evidence is that such has not been the case. The evidence is that we have been sitting down thinking of our votes and not heeding the recommendations of the NIEC. We are heeding them now because we are approaching an election. But, no matter when this election is held, perhaps all that will happen before it is that the legislation will be passed.

I am aware that from the Minister's press release that the people who applied for grants have been dealt with and they have letters to say that they are entitled to £X or £Y grant in relation to expenditure specified. That is all they have. The detailed legislation that will govern these grants has been delayed, wrongfully in my view, by the Government. I welcome the fact that we are heading for an expenditure of £50 million but it would be wrong in relation to this expenditure not to say that there has been a wastage. I deliberately refrain from mentioning individual cases but the Minister knows as well as I know that there has been a wastage of something in the order of well over £10 million. I agree completely with those on the other side of the House who say in defence of this situation that we must take risks and that there must be failures. I have no objection at all to the people in the Industrial Development Authority or in An Foras Tionscal or the Minister himself taking a calculated risk, because if we are to employ the number of people leaving the land and stem the tide of emigration we must take risks and we should be prepared to take them. All I am saying is that, as opposed to what is said from the Government benches, the incidence of risks has been far too high. I do not want to labour that point because it might perhaps tend to inhibit development of future industry here, but if the Minister wishes to have a list of industries which have failed he can have it from me privately or from most Deputies who have been here for the last 12 years. The number of industries which have failed is far too high in relation to the expenditure on them. I could visualise a ten per cent failure rate.

I want to say also—again I will not mention individual cases but the Minister can have a list from me privately —that, where there have been failures and attempts were made to redeem the failure by getting somebody else into the industrial building that was left behind, very often the second inhabitant of the building was not nearly as important to the economy or to the local situation as the first. It has been proved that, where there have been failures, employers of large-scale female labour have been induced to come in on the second occasion.

It is my view that in many of these cases larger grants were given than commonsense would indicate as proper. It would be wrong to mention individual cases but when one scans a list of grants and the amount of employment given—that is all you can do because most people who apply for these grants are pretty flamboyant when conjecturing about potential employment—one finds that in some instances industries have been set up in very expensive buildings, industries which will never have the same advantages for this country or for the local situation as the first inhabitant.

In relation to the failures, I feel that the new departure—brought about perhaps by constant hammering for change from this side of the House— will bring about a better situation. I feel, too, that there should be a change in relation to the method of payment of these grants. If industries have to wait too long and are told that the legislation is not there but it may be there after six or nine months, you will find that some of them will move off to Northern Ireland or across the water to England. This has happened far too often. I can give the Minister an instance of a small industry in County Donegal with which I was involved myself. A principal of the industry approached me. He took up the matter with the county development team in Lifford. The matter went on and on ad nauseam and he is now shifting the entire industry across to Scotland where he got action inside one month. Therefore, the delay I have referred to in the passing of this legislation, at a time when other legislation was passed which had no interest for anybody except political interest, is something that has brought about the transfer of potential industries and, in this case, an existing industry from this country.

If the Government are now voting £50 million, there is not the slightest objection from this side. We were the first people to introduce this type of legislation. The people on the far side of the House objected to it at that time and objected strongly, not only by their voices but by their votes. We, on, this side, would not object to getting legislation through if it would mean that grants would be paid under the new system and that we would not have the situation I have indicated, namely, the losing of industries to other countries when they should be snapped up by what must be for many years to come a young State in a hurry.

We in the Labour Party have no objection at all to an increase in the amount for the payment of grants up to £50 million, as proposed in the Bill. However, I should like to say this: When grants are being given to industrialists we often find that people come along and apparently persuade those in authority that the employment potential is very high. It should be a relatively easy matter for experts to estimate the employment potential. For that reason I can never understand why an industrialist can say that he proposes to employ over a period of years 650 people and eventually finishes up with 55 and the State and everybody else seem to be perfectly satisfied. This is the sort of thing which makes people a little bit chary about grants being paid.

I do not go the whole way with Deputy Donegan in regard to the question of losses. I would not agree that the amount of losses is as big as he says. As a matter of fact, I think a certain amount of risk must be taken. If these grants are given only to those who can guarantee gilt-edged security, I am afraid the number of people coming here to start industries will drop dramatically.

There are two reasons for the giving of these grants. One is—and I think it is the most important one—the question of employment. The second, of course, is manufacturing goods for export. There is a third, which is manufacturing goods, which are not now manufactured, for the home market. That is not being pursued as far as it might be. Possibly the small industrial grants may improve the position there.

I also believe, and I have stated this time and time again in this House, that the use of the produce of the land for manufacturing purposes is not developed sufficiently. I believe we are slipping up badly there. Even though there have been recent developments as, for instance, in the processing of fruit and vegetables, I still think we are a long way behind. Perhaps the Minister would try to encourage more of this type of industry? It seems ridiculous that when one goes into a store one finds that perhaps 40 or 50 per cent of the processed fruit and vegetables on sale are imported. That does not make sense. We should be able to do more in that field.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I was delighted to hear Deputy Donegan talking about the dangers likely to arise as a result of the Free Trade Area Agreement with Britain. We saw them at the time and we expressed our opinion by voting against the Bill which was supported by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

Be accurate. Do not put words in my mouth.

I am always very careful, as Deputy Donegan knows, to put the right words in the right place. We greatly fear that the Free Trade Area Agreement will have very dramatic effects on employment if we continue to operate it as we have been doing and I mean by that, the further ten per cent reduction on 1st July. If that comes off, we will need a lot more than this extra £10 million which is being made available here to try to make up for the losses in employment which will occur.

We have all the goodwill in the world for the Minister and his Department on this question of trying to have as much industrial employment as possible. Some of my colleagues and, indeed, people on all sides of the House may disagree with my view on the siting of industrial undertakings in inaccessible places which affects the cost of the haulage of the raw materials, in places where the number of people available for employment is not sufficient. When an artificial attempt is made to create an industrial estate, for want of a better word, where there are neither raw materials, roads nor workers available, this is not in the best interests of industry.

I know that a certain amount of employment must be provided, and a certain effort must be made to try to provide employment in areas where employment is very badly needed, but where there is a scarcity of labour it is rather foolish to try to set up large-scale industries in the hope that people can be brought in from outside to work there. A few years ago, with the exception of the Labour Party, everybody in this House was mooning about the right of the people in the EEC to a free exchange of men, money and materials. I heard a Minister saying there was nothing wrong with the idea of people who were in the EEC, as they hoped we would be finding employment somewhere within the EEC and, if that was in Berlin or Paris or Luxembourg or Brussels, he did not see any difference so long as they found employment. My colleagues and I in the Labour Party see a difference.

We do not think people should be treated as chattels and made to move not only from one area to another but from one country to another. I agree that in this country it is a smaller matter to move someone from Dublin to Connemara or from Navan to Mullingar or Donegal or West Cork. That is a relatively small matter compared with what was considered as being feasible or the right thing to do in the EEC proposals. The Minister is aware that the EEC countries now realise that the creation of an artificial set-up of industries in areas far away from cities and towns has not worked out well. Industries which seemed to be thriving—and people were brought out from cities and towns to work in country districts—after a short time fell down because the young people were not prepared to stay, and they went back to the cities and towns. I am not saying that grants should be given only to industries which are centred in cities and towns. What I am saying is that the Minister and his officials should be very careful when giving these grants to ensure that the industry is placed where it has a chance of success.

We have no objection to the increase. We feel that a much bigger effort is required if we are ever to attain the objective to which we are all supposed to be devoted, that is, full employment.

We should be concerned with the end product of this question. I should like the Minister to give the figures of those who have secured employment in the past. Like Deputy Donegan, I welcome the attitude of Fianna Fáil in reinforcing this measure which was brought in by this side of the House when we were in Government. It is about time they saw the light. I should like to say to the Minister that we will have a visitor to our city for the opening of an industrial estate next Friday. I was at the opening of a big industry within a stone's throw across the road from this estate. The Minister should look at that. It was opened with a flourish. Deputy Seán Lemass was Taoiseach at the time and he was there. All the dignitaries in the country were there. It was a big occasion and there was a lot of big talk. We were all impressed when we heard 700 people were to be employed in that factory. I want to warn the Minister against making this sort of promise to the people because this factory will be a warning to him. It is right across the road. It is a fine shell. It is the Potez industry.

In regard to the allocation of these grants it is strange to see the faces of those who benefit either in grants or somewhere along the line. I have seen gentlemen who appeared at by-elections all over the country for Fianna Fáil and it is rather strange to see those faces amongst those who are benefiting when the grants are being allocated. For God's sake cut out this political palm-greasing. That is what it amounts to.

Would the Deputy like to specify a case in which he says someone got a grant for political purposes?

I will point him out to the Minister next Friday when he is in Galway.

Would the Deputy care to name names?

I will name names.

Please do.

I will name him. Mr. D.

Mr. who?

Mr. D. will be enough for the Minister.

I do not know what the Deputy is talking about. I am asking him to talk out loud. He should not make allegations here unless he is prepared to stand over them.

All right. I will name him. Mr. Christy Dooley, who appeared all over the country and who built the estate for you.

It is not in order to name individuals——

I have been asked by the Minister——

The Minister challenged the Deputy.

The Minister challenged me and I gave the name.

It is not in order.

I am challenging the Deputy——

The Minister got his answer and I am giving the name of the contractor of the estate.

If the Deputy is saying there is something wrong let him specify what is wrong. It is no use making wild allegations. Does he say this gentleman got a grant and was not entitled to it?


We do not want this palm greasing of gentlemen who appear at by-elections in Cork, Limerick, Kerry and all over the country. I know what I am talking about.

Well, tell us. We are still waiting.

I have told you. I have given the Minister the name and I shall go further.

Allegations are no good. Give us the facts. If the Deputy is alleging there is something wrong——

Corruption in high places.

Yes, tell us about it.

The Minister is the man who made the statement.

Did the Deputy ever read my speech?

I did. Tell us about corruption in high places.

I want to hear about this first.

The only people in high places in this country are the Government.

Deputy Coogan is in possession.

The palm greasing is done for the purpose of continuing in power a Party who have set up in this country the famous Taca organisation where you have to slip £100——

It is down to a fiver now.

The fellows with the fivers only come in when the——

This may be very amusing but the reputation of public servants is at stake. The Deputy might have some regard to this.

The Deputy was dealing with Taca.

Will the Minister hold his peace for a moment? I am a member of that Industrial Advisory Council there, and I warned these gentlemen beforehand. Now bring up those gentlemen to your elbow and ask them did I not warn them.

I do not care what the Deputy warned them about. Give us the facts.

The Minister does not know what he is talking about. I do. This was done for the purpose of continuing a situation where there is filthy work at a high level. The Minister is the one man who personally cried out about it. He had the courage to do so. In fact he has been here for about half an hour and he is like the boy on the burning deck, with no one behind him until the two gentlemen——

Would the Deputy come to the Bill before the House?

I am pointing out the fact that the Minister was deserted. Regarding the siting of these industries he has mentioned, I am sorry to note that the Leader of the Labour Party is on record as saying that it is not advisable to site them in the West, that the east coast is the place for these things. I should like the Labour Party to say whether that is their attitude.

There must be a general election coming. Is the Deputy worried about the Labour Party again?

I do not fear an election, but I have seen a lot of people who have lost £100——

We are not concerned with what was lost. We are concerned with the Bill before the House.

I have been asked by the Minister to name names, and I challenge the Minister to say that these gentlemen whom I have mentioned have not been at by-elections.

The Deputy is aware that names of people who are not here to defend themselves ought not to be mentioned in the House.

You were not here, Sir, when the Minister challenged me.

The Chair has consistently felt that names should not be mentioned in the House.

In the presence of the previous occupant of the Chair the Minister challenged me and I have given him the facts.

I will challenge the Deputy again. He has given us nothing but a name and an allegation. Give us facts.

The Minister asked me for a name.

I am asking the Deputy is he saying this gentleman whom he named got a grant and was not entitled to it? Or is he saying a man who supported Fianna Fáil got a grant?

I shall repeat what I said. Those gentlemen who appeared at by-elections in Limerick, Cork and Kerry are gentlemen who benefited in this estate, not them all, but some of them.

The Deputy is running away.

I am not. It is on the record. I was challenged and I have given the Minister the name.

The Deputy has given me a name, and I am asking what is wrong in that case.

The next time the Minister visits the estate I hope he will not go in at 60 miles per hour as he did on the previous occasion in order to avoid the pickets that were there from another industry.

This has nothing to do with the legislation before the House.

There is a large amount of money involved and we want to see how it is being spent. I feel it is my right to stand up here and say what I have to say. If the Minister thinks I am wrong, he is entitled to his opinion. I think I am right and we shall leave it to the judgment of the people. The Minister will be welcome to come to our town on any occasion he wishes to visit there. Possibly the Minister may not be long enough there, but I shall say this in the Minister's favour: he is the most decent of a bad bunch.

I wonder will we ever grow up in this Assembly, or will we continue to slander one another all the time. If we had somebody in this House who would preach a sermon on charity it might be a very good thing.

We have the bishop now.

I am sure the people who sent us here would wish us to have a sense of decency and not misrepresent facts to the degree they have been misrepresented here.

On a point of order. I misrepresented no facts.

That is not a point of order.

I am prepared to stand over anything I have said.

Statements have been taken out of context. Statements made some time ago by the Minister for Industry and Commerce have been taken out of context, magnified and exploited for political purposes. I suppose that is politics, but I deplore that type of politics. I am here almost a quarter of a century and I have never said anything personal about anyone. As far as Taca is concerned, is there any political Party in this House that has not ways and means——

The Chair would appeal to the Deputy to keep to the legislation before the House.

I am only replying to what has been said.

He is only defending Taca. It is a dirty word. He is entitled to do that.

I am only replying to the Deputy I heard speaking. Every Party has its own ways of getting funds for political purposes, and that applies to political Parties all over the world, not alone in this country.

Does the Deputy not know that Fine Gael do not collect money from anybody? Apparently they exist on thin air.

People have never had cause to condemn the manner in which Fine Gael collects its funds. The same cannot be said about Fianna Fáil.

The Chair again reminds the House that the matter before the House is the Industrial Grants (Amendment) Bill and the Chair must insist that speakers keep to the legislation before the House.

I shall keep to the Bill. All of us are anxious to see industry prosper and the only reason why I referred to the matter was that the implication was that, because a man is a supporter of Fianna Fáil, he gets a grant. That is completely untrue. Every case is studied on its merits. The economy of this country was at a low ebb some years ago. It is most desirable that we should put any money we can into industry, industry which will provide employment for our own people and keep our balance of payments healthy. This legislation is designed to increase industrial grants. I am surprised at Deputy Coogan saying what he did because my experience is the opposite; I have had constituents coming to me who were interested in establishing industries in the constituency. I brought them along to see the Minister. What their politics were was a matter of no concern to me. As far as we are concerned in Fianna Fáil, we put the national interest before Party interest. Every person is entitled to subscribe to whatever political Party he likes. How many industrialists subscribe to the three Parties? No person's name should be mentioned in this House. It is a most uncharitable thing to do because the bearer of the name cannot defend himself here.

The Minister asked for the name.

The Minister asked for the facts. He is still waiting for them.

No man's name should be mentioned here. The Deputy only does himself harm when he resorts to tactics like this.

I reluctantly gave the name. The Minister challenged me five times.

I am sorry this happened. Possibly this is an innocent man and his name is bandied around here; if he is trying to carry on an industry it will be very humiliating and embarrassing for him to have had his name bandied about in this House. The Deputy can be a Member of this House without resorting to these tactics.

If the Deputy continues in this vein there are bound to be recriminations and the Chair wants speakers to keep to the Bill before the House.

I am glad the Minister is in a position to increase the grants. This will be very much appreciated. Some industries may prove to be failures but, because a few fail, there is no reason to imply that a great many others will fail also. If we had not been prepared to take risks we could never have had the magnificent industrial revival that we have had under Fianna Fáil. It is no part of the policy of Fianna Fáil to help millionaires to establish industries. I hope that the industrial revival will continue until such time as all our people find employment in their own country.

I am disappointed that the Minister has not yet found it possible to introduce the comprehensive legislation he promised, particularly that part of it dealing with the amalgamation of the IDA and An Foras Tionscal. This is the second occasion within six weeks, or so, on which the Dáil has had a special Bill submitted to it by the Minister for Industry and Commerce and only a short time before Easter we had a discussion on a Supplementary Estimate for Industry and Commerce. The promised comprehensive legislation has been on the stocks for a long time. I cannot understand the difficulty in formulating comprehensive legislation. Perhaps the Minister would explain, when he comes to reply, the reason for the delay. There is need for a complete re-organisation of the whole approach to industrial development. This is the third time in the past 12 months on which the Minister has stated that this new legislation is being prepared. The delay is creating difficulties for those involved in negotiations for the establishment of new industries because the tendency is to postpone negotiations in the hope that the new legislation will result in bigger and better grants. There is a good deal of confusion.

One of the reasons why the Minister has had to bring in this Bill is that, as he said himself, the expenditure in relation to the provision of industrial estates will reach £2,060,000 and legislation is needed to extend the limit for financial assistance. The proposed new legislation is vitally important. It is, indeed, a matter of extreme urgency now in relation to the development of industrial estates.

I referred to the matter of industrial estates only four or five weeks ago in the debate on the Supplementary Estimate. Within the past week, I read in a newspaper that the Minister informed some local development association that it is intended to provide grants for the building of advance factories. If this is so, what will be the position of private individuals and development companies who have already committed themselves to the building of advance factories? Is it a fact that such grants will be available? Is the statement I read in that connection in a newspaper a week ago correct? If such grants will be introduced, when will they become effective and will people who have already built advance factories be eligible for these grants?

I regret very much that it has not been possible to have a more comprehensive and extensive debate on this vitally important matter of industrial development. This Bill is purely an amending Bill to enable the Minister to increase by £10 million the limit available to An Foras Tionscal for payment of industrial grants. I have no objection to the granting of this extra £10 million. This Bill is absolutely necessary because the Minister, as yet, has not been able to introduce a new Bill. I think nobody here has any objection to the expenditure of money to create employment in this country.

By and large, despite criticisms and despite disappointments—and anybody engaged in industrial development will have experienced frustration, delay, disappointment and so on—An Foras Tionscal and the IDA have been doing an excellent job.

Hear, hear.

I state that objectively; it is based on my experience of dealing with An Foras Tionscal and its officials. At all times I have met with the greatest co-operation from them. Nevertheless, we must not lose sight of the fact that mistakes have been made and that perhaps unwise decisions have been made in some cases. As the Department of Industry and Commerce have reviewed the whole approach to industrial development, the whole machinery of grants, and so on, it is now high time that we formulated new ideas and new regulations for industrial development. It is important to turn to good account the experience gained by the IDA and An Foras Tionscal in industrial development, in the allocation of grants, and so on, and to benefit by any mistakes which may have been made and which should have been examined by now. In short, new ways of overcoming past difficulties should by now have been devised.

In the course of debates during the past year on industrial development criticisms have been made that the financial assistance available to Irish industrialists has not been adequate. Certainly, statements have been made that Irish industrialists are not getting the same inducement or the same encouragement as foreign industrialists. This has not been my experience. I have tried to assist Irish industrialists as well as foreign industrialists and the same co-operation and help have been available from the IDA.

My advice was recently sought by two different people in manufacturing business in a small way who found it extremely difficult to get the assistance they felt would help them to put their small industries into proper shape. A defect I have come across in a couple of instances in relation to incentives and to the assistance which is available concerns the availability of working capital for industrial development. About three weeks ago, a small manufacturing outfit in Limerick which had secured a substantial export order sought my help. Because they had not the necessary working capital to stock up the raw materials, to employ extra workers and to gear themselves, there was great danger that they could not fill that export order. Through contact with an independent financial institution, I was fortunate enough to be able to persuade that institution to grant the necessary financial assistance. Particularly in relation to small industries, there is need for financial assistance other than grants and I would ask the Minister to bear in mind the question of working capital.

In addition to the problem of providing working capital to meet perhaps temporary difficulties or to fill certain orders, I might mention, in relation to home industries or to traditional Irish industries, a very serious and distressing matter. I come from a region where, in recent years, a number of old-established industries have been forced to close down. The Shannon Industrial Estate is a modern development with 20, or so, new industries. We have three instances where old, fairly substantial major industries have closed down. There was the closure of one of our bacon factories. There was the closure of a tannery in Limerick. At Sixmilebridge, County Clare, there was a very substantial woollen mills at one stage. I visited this place last Sunday and it was the saddest sight I ever saw. It is a building extending over 100,000 square feet within six miles of the Shannon industrial zone and it is in a semi-derelict condition, having been allowed to lie idle for the past 12 years.

The time has come when there should be some section of the Industrial Development Authority, perhaps consisting of two or three experts, which could be called on when a traditional industry is getting into difficulties. In other words, there should be a rescue team. Certainly, in my opinion two of those concerns in the Limerick region could have been rescued and put on their feet if proper assistance had been available in time. I know that this Bill does not allow us to go into detail, but I felt that I should cover these points. I am very disappointed that it has not been possible to introduce the new legislation. There has been criticism all over the country about the delay in introducing it and there has been considerable confusion caused in the minds of potential industrialists. Perhaps the Minister might elaborate on this matter.

I simply want to endorse the support given by Deputy Tully of this Party to these proposals to make available sufficient money to attract industry here or to promote it either from outside or internally. I should like to ask the Minister if some of this money will go to finance small industries. About 12 months ago I had to get in touch with the Minister's Office about a potential small industry which would have been developed by a father and his two sons and the reply I received was that, while it was conceive templated that the scheme would be extended to cover small industries like that, at the time only a pilot scheme was in operation. Would the Minister indicate if the scheme now extends to the whole country and if further applications can be made with the expectation of getting financial assistance either for extending existing small industries or starting new industries suitable for small areas of development, areas which could not benefit from the industrial estates but which nevertheless could give worthwhile employment in towns and villages.

Listening to the debate one is provoked into making some remarks. Those Deputies whom I have heard speaking are among the blessed as far as their parts of the country are concerned. Deputy Coogan comes from Galway where an industrial estate has been sponsored and Deputy T. O'Donnell represents the Limerick area into which a vast amount of money has been poured by the Fianna Fáil Government. Deputy Kyne represents Waterford where the same applies. I represent a constituency of a different nature, one which is benefiting to some extent as a result of the industrial policy of the Government but not to the same extent as the areas which those Deputies represent. It was not my intention to speak on this Bill but listening to one of the speakers one would feel that a supporter of the Government should not demand any help from the Government to establish an industry in the West of Ireland. It would not be fair to say that this attitude was followed by the other speakers.

One wonders how serious a person is in making such statements. What was the statement that was made? The statement was made that a person helped the Fianna Fáil Party in the various by-elections and this was followed by a statement that he got a grant from the Government. He was challenged and was asked was this wrong. He persisted and pointed out that the statements he made were on record. If the person concerned was not entitled to the grant I have no doubt that this allegation would be made in the House and put in black and white in the Official Report. This was not done. It was just left blank. This is a most unfair way to approach this question. After all, a considerable number of people in the West of Ireland support this Government and surely they are not to be precluded from grants or intimidated from seeking grants just because they help our Party? Perhaps in the 1980's the other Party may be in power and their supporters may be in the same position. They should not be precluded from getting grants just because they support the Government of the time. I heard the exchanges and the challenge has remained unanswered. There has been no allegation made that this man was not entitled to what he got. As Deputy Burke said, this House should serve a different purpose.

I have already stated that the area which I represent has little industry, although we are making some progress. We can never make any real progress in this area, or in particular parts of it, unless the problem is approached from a social rather than an economic viewpoint. Perhaps I am asking too much from the resources of this State in saying this. The logical approach should be, in regard to a lot of our problems, to look at the map of the West of Ireland and see the area which is most gravely depopulated. Then the planners should say to themselves: "Here is an area in which we must keep people." They should then set about constructing an industrial estate of some kind to solve the problem.

I have very little training in these matters and my reading is limited for a number of reasons, but I feel that somebody sometime should decide to start a pilot scheme along these lines. They should go into the vocational schools and the post-primary schools and start to train a group of pupils over a period of years, and try to convince them that at the end of three or four years, as a result of specialised training, there will be a factory which will give them employment. At first this may not show a profit but it will keep the population there. They will acquire skills and, one hopes, the market will have been got for their products long before the factory is opened. Gradually, in this way you will build up in these areas a certain amount of industry to retain the population.

I accept that all industries cannot be social efforts but, at the same time, I think I am as justified in making this demand on the State on behalf of my constituents and other places in the West of Ireland as are others who have spoken here from areas enjoying many natural advantages and resources. I believe that, if the present Minister gets any encouragement and help along those lines, he will be the one who would hope to adopt such a policy as this. In the near future I hope we shall see some pilot effort along those lines—the education of the workers and the provision of the factories—and in this way provide an answer to the problems of the north-west of Ireland which I represent and Deputy O'Hara opposite represents. If you look at the population map you will see the black area stretching across that portion of Ireland. I think this is one solution that should be put forward for this problem.

I gladly support the viewpoint of Deputy Dr. Gibbons. He represents the Leitrim area. As a Deputy from Mayo I thoroughly agree that a special case can be made for counties like Mayo and Leitrim, where little or nothing has been spent out of sums voted in this House. I gladly support the present measure despite the fact that we in Mayo stand to gain—I say this from my past experience—very little from moneys voted by the House for industrial development and expansion.

I recently addressed a Parliamentary Question to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, which was answered by another Minister, asking him if he was aware of the urgent need for industrialisation in towns like Ballina, Killalla, Swinford, Charlestown, Ballyhaunis and others. There is urgent need for such industrialisation, as is borne out by the fact referred to by Deputy Dr. Gibbons that we have had depopulation in recent times and also in the past. Mayo lost a Deputy some years ago because of depopulation. More recently, they lost another Deputy, reducing their representation in Dáil Éireann to six, whereas it was usually eight and, I think, at one time, nine. Consequently it is absolutely necessary to industrialise our towns if we are to retain people in the West of Ireland.

I have had experience of an industry being established in my home town of Foxford 70 or 80 years ago without any State assistance. I think a nominal sum was paid by the old Congested Districts Board to start it. It has made progress all through the years, even during the period when there was no protection of Irish industry. The principal reason for that was that it produced a good article. The products got into the export field and made steady progress. It now employs something like 200 people in a small town with a population of less than 1,000. That is a very creditable record. This was done by private enterprise. If concerns like Providence Woollen Mills and others that were engaged in industry before the establishment of our own Government and Parliament can be a success in such areas as Foxford it should be within the competence of the Government today, with all their resources, to do likewise.

I have great confidence in the present Minister for whom I have great respect. He is a man of ability and integrity, anxious to help in any way possible. He has shown his concern by going down to Ballina and meeting members of his Party who, no doubt, pointed out the problems as I have done. But the fact remains that we are still in the doldrums as regards industrial development. It is true that small industries have started, employing 15, 20 or 30 people. One can count them on the fingers of one hand. I sincerely hope that, if in time we enter a free trade area, these industries will continue to expand. Unlike Deputy Tully I have the greatest confidence in going into Europe and into competition with all comers. I believe we can do it if we pull ourselves together. One thing that always bedevilled us in this country was the fact that we were on the doorstep of one of the greatest industrial countries in the world with world-wide markets and experience and skill and many raw materials. They also had many of their markets in countries under their heel and had the great advantage of being able to export to them. We were up against it from the beginning in trying to industrialise.

We have made some progress. I agree it is easy to see that progress. I agree with Deputy O'Donnell of Limerick when he said progress had been made in the Limerick area. I have seen it there and I see it in the Dublin area. I have been a long time coming to the city and I can now see on the way from Lucan, or even from Kilcock into Dublin, industrial estate after industrial estate. This is in a part of the country where I think it is not needed to anything like the same degree as it is needed in the West and in Mayo particularly. Foxford has stability because of the industry there. It is possible to expand our towns. I regret that a town like Ballina with a population of 5,000 or 6,000 seems not to be making the same progress as has been made in other towns of smaller population.

The Government will need a crash programme to solve our problems, as pointed out by Deputy Dr. Gibbons, and nothing less will be sufficient. If the methods that have been tried have failed to a large extent and are not capable of fulfilling our purpose, we must resort to other measures. It is up to the Minister and the Government of the day, no matter what Government it may be, to take some action. We must not continue to travel along the road that we have been following for such a long time.

Time and again I have heard talk of an industry being started in some town or other. For instance, it was proposed to start an industry in Charlestown. This proposal had the support of everybody including the local county council. It had the goodwill of everybody but so far that industry has not started.

I am sorry that the new legislation is not before the House. If it were, we would have an opportunity of passing judgment on it and it is my opinion that when it does come before us it will be subject to a certain amount of suspicion. In all probability, we are facing a general election and people become very suspicious of anything that is proposed at a time like this and I suppose we cannot really blame them. I do not think that the Minister for Industry and Commerce will bring in red herrings. He is not the type of man to do that; he would not be capable of doing it. However, I hope that the new legislation will be brought in here at an early date and I sincerely hope that it will bring some benefit to the people whom I am privileged to represent in part of Mayo. There is an urgent need for it. A change is long overdue.

The method we have used down through the years has failed. There is proof of that in the decline in population which is evident from the number of closed homes to be found all over the place. It is a tragic thing that, although we have extended rural electrification to nearly every part of the country and have installed telephones all over the place, in so many places houses are now closed up. The ESB poles have been taken up. There are more than 500 of them dumped in my yard awaiting return to Swinford. I agreed to allow the ESB to leave them there.

With all this talk of new Bills and new legislation and talk of increased sums being voted for industrial expansion, it is just too bad that I should have this sad story to tell in this house. I do not grudge places like Limerick, Cork, Waterford or any other place anything that is given to them but I am pleading with the Minister, who, I believe, is very sincere and honest in his approach to his work and who does not make political cracks across the floor of the House, to give us a crash programme in the West of Ireland so that we can pull the situation out of the fire because it is in the fire at the moment. I sincerely hope that the Minister will do something about it.

I shall not be able to deal with all the points that were raised because they were rather diverse but I shall try to deal with the main points raised during this debate.

First of all, I shall deal with a small point raised by Deputy Kyne. I should like to confirm that the moneys being made available under this Bill will include money for the small industries programme and I should like to tell Deputy Kyne that, as I announced in the House some time ago, the small industries programme has been extended from 1st of this month to the whole country with the exception of Dublin. It will apply to Dublin as and from 1st September next.

Deputy O'Donnell raised a few points on which I should like to comment. He talked about a rescue team for traditional Irish industries. In fact, an apparatus is in process of being formed which might be described as a rescue team for industries, not only Irish industries, but any industries which are getting into difficulties. I am not in a position to give details of this at the moment and, indeed, it might not be appropriate to do so on this Bill but I wish to say that this is under way at present and details will be announced in due course. I should like to make clear, however, that even the existence of such an apparatus cannot, of course, ensure that no industry will go bankrupt because this will happen if the industry basically is not viable. The object is to try to find out in time the industries which are going wrong and to put them on a viable basis.

Deputy O'Donnell also raised the point about advance factories. I made it clear when announcing the details of the new legislation and again in the House on at least one occasion that the new legislation will provide that the IDA would be able to provide advance factories in any part of the country. Under the existing legislation, An Foras Tionscal can provide only in an industrial estate but it is proposed in the new legislation to allow for the building of advance factories in any part of the country. Of course, it is not intended to provide an advance factory in an area where there is a factory in existence not is it intended to dot the country with white elephants of advance factories. I see no possibility of grants being made retrospectively available in respect of these except in the case of an industry which goes into a factory already built. In such a case the industry will obtain a grant in relation to its expenditure on purchasing that factory.

In the new proposals to make grants available is it the developer who will get the grant?

There is a provision at the moment for the developer to get a grant after an industry has taken up an advance factory but not before. What is intended is to authorise the IDA, which will be the amalgamated body, to build advance factories in any part of the country.

Deputy O'Donnell also complained as did other Deputies about the delay in bringing forward this legislation. As I said when introducing this Bill, I am sorry that we have not got the legislation but the preparation of it has proved to be a more difficult task than we had anticipated. The legislation is at present being drafted and will be brought forward just as fast as we can bring it forward but I can say that the delay has not been due to anything other than unanticipated difficulty in the preparation of it. It is rather complex and indeed has to be tied in with other legislation relating to the Shannon Industrial Estate also. The House will see, I think, when it is brought forward that it is somewhat complex legislation but I want to assure the House it will be brought in just as fast as it is possible to do so. However, I should say I have no evidence available that the absence of the legislation has led to any projects which might have been brought forward being held back. I have no evidence of that at all. Indeed, in so far as the reorganisation of the IDA, An Foras Tionscal and so on, is concerned this is being proceeded with in so far as it can be done under existing legislation and a great deal of the reorganisation, preparation and recruitment, as Deputies have seen, has been going on near the organisation to grow under this legislation. As I say I have no evidence that projects are being held up because of the absence of the legislation.

Would it be possible to indicate in advance of the legislation what the proposed new scale of grants will be?

That has been done as far as I know. I said originally when announcing this the level of grants which would be available.

I have seen that all right. It is still rather general and vague.

The whole object of it was to make it certain. The original arrangement in which there is flexibility is at the top level for big important industries. There is room for negotiation by the IDA of a package deal.

That is what I mean, the package deal. If we could have more specific information in advance of the legislation in relation to that it would help. There is a bit of confusion in regard to the package deal.

The only thing is that even when the legislation is enacted the package deal will still be a matter for negotiation and it will not be possible to say to people then: "This is the position." The whole object is to make it flexible at that level. Below that level it will be quite certain. Those limits have been announced. Deputy Donegan said in relation to this that there was a small industry in Donegal which he was aware, he said, was going across to Scotland bag and baggage because of the absence of the legislation.

I said because of the slowness in dealing with the matter by the development team in Lifford. I will give the Minister the name. I do not want to give it here.

I would be interested to hear that. I thought he said it was due to the delay in the legislation. I appreciate the position.

I will give the Minister the name privately.

Deputy Donegan said, and I suppose one cannot really fault him for saying this especially as there is an election in the offing——

——that this new legislation which we are not discussing at the moment, the Chair will appreciate, was really just a copy of Fine Gael policy.

Largely. We could improve it.

Indeed I think he said the small industries programme was too. If this is so all I can say is that great minds must think alike. I can assure the Deputy that in the preparation of those schemes I was not aware of any such proposals from the Fine Gael Party. As I say, I am not denying either that there may be some substance in what he is saying but at any rate I can take some pleasure in the fact that he said this because no doubt when the legislation comes forward it will get a warm welcome and a speedy passage from the Fine Gael Party.

It will. If we were there we could improve on it.

I do not want to go back over the past and the introduction of this kind of legislation. I want to point out that while it is true the Fianna Fáil Party opposed this legislation originally it is untrue to say it opposed it just in principle. What was said was that we did not think that the legislation at the time originally introduced was geared to what was required. When we came in we amended it and made it work.

You did not amend it one bit.

The Deputy can go back over all the arguments and we will see. However, I am not going to argue with him about this. It is all behind us. I do not think either of us was here at the time.

I was here. The Minister was not.

With regard to the Buchanan Report Deputy Donegan said something here today which he said on another occasion in the House, that he had a copy of the Buchanan Report on his desk as Chairman of the Louth County Council for nine months. I think I told him on the occasion when he said it before, and I am telling him again now, that if he had it he had it long before I saw it.

I had it.

I do not know where or in what capacity he had it, whether he saw some kind of draft or something like this. I think I got a copy of that report fairly soon after it was completed and I certainly have not had it anything like nine months.

I have it in relation to North Leinster. I had it long before I asked the question. I will send the Minister a copy of it.

I think the Deputy must be referring to a draft in relation to one particular region. Is that what he is talking about?

That is not the Buchanan Report which is available to the Government.

That was available. The Minister does not want to say where those growth places are now that there is an election coming.

No. I made it clear at all times that it was not intended, apart from the Limerick and North Tipperary region, to deal with the country piecemeal. The reason why we dealt with Limerick and North Tipperary, as I have already made clear, was that we had already everything done there and the organisation was geared to it. The Buchanan Report as such deals with the whole of the State. It is with the Government at the moment. There is something I would like to make clear. I think there are too many people assuming the opposite. Something that Deputy Donegan said seemed to me to indicate that even he was assuming that things like the Buchanan Report and NIEC Reports going to the Government should be implemented by them — Deputy Donegan is as well aware as I am of this but I want to make it quite clear as well. The position is that any such reports which go to the Government are considered by them but the ultimate decisions on them are Government decisions. Those things are merely recommendations to the Government. There is in fact no certainly that the Buchanan Report, for example, will be accepted by the Government.

Do you think you should sit on a recommendation by the NIEC from 1962 to 1969 and now start to say you are going to do something about it?

Which recommendation is the Deputy talking about?

The recommendation that there should be growth centres and infra-structure developed for industries in various places in the country. You sat on that for seven years and you say you are going to do something now.

The policy in regard to industrial development on a regional basis has been outlined by me. It has been formulated partially as a result of the A.D. Little Report, partially as a result of the NIEC comments on that report and partially as a result of the overall view which was taken by me as Minister for Industry and Commerce and by the Government as a whole of this situation. We did not accept all the items in either report but the policy decisions that were made were announced and those are what have been incorporated in the comprehensive legislation to which I referred earlier.

Does the Minister think that sitting for seven years on a report typifies what I would call a young State in a hurry with a huge emigration rate?

The point I want to make is that I do not care whether the NIEC, Buchanan or anybody else issues any report today, ten years ago or any other time. Those are mere recommendations but the people who have the responsibility and who make the decisions are the Government. The fact that reports issue from the NIEC or anybody else does not mean that if the Government do not act on them it is the Government who are wrong. It does not mean that at all. I want to make this quite clear in the interests of parliamentary democracy, in which we are all interested. This country is not being run and will not be run by groups, however eminent their members may be, who have not got the responsibility entrusted to them by Dáil Éireann.

Would the Minister not think that seven months consideration instead of seven years would be a fair length of time?

I think the Deputy and myself are at cross purposes on this. I think we are talking about different things.

I think the Minister is getting out a side door if he can.

Deputy Donegan also referred to failures. He quoted a figure of £10 million. I do not know where he got that figure—I think Deputy Tully expressed doubts about it and he was right—but I want to say that the information available to me is that there were 12 grant-aided firms which ceased production and are still closed and that of the grants paid to them the net amount, that is allowing the total amount paid less some amounts recovered, was £1,335,847.

It is a kindly figure.

There were a further 20 firms which closed down but were subsequently taken over and other industrial undertakings commenced in those factories and in those cases the net amount of grant involved was £1,358,548. In most of the cases where a new firm came in the incoming firm got the benefit of the grant already paid. They were not, of course, again paid a grant but they got the benefit of the grant because the premises were there and in some cases the plant was being used.

May I ask a question? Does the Minister include in this losses such as that of a very big firm, the name of which I shall not mention, in which there are still a few people employed, not very far from this House? Does he include also a firm in the north-east portion of the country, not in my constituency but not too far away from it, where 500 people were to be employed and where, I am informed, there are now 11? Were those two included? The figure in those two cases, if the Minister wants to question my figure of £10 million, would increase the grants lost by £2 million.

I know the first case the Deputy is referring to. I cannot recall the second at the moment. In the first case it is included, but I think the difference between us may be that I am talking here about grants paid. The Deputy may in the cases to which he referred be including more than grants.

I am including loans as well.

I am referring solely to grants because that is what we are dealing with. Even including loans, I do not know if the figure would come to £10 million. This seems an excessive amount to me, but I have not done that sum.

We will meet some evening and agree or disagree.

I think it was Deputy Tully who raised the question of the employment potential given when a new industry is announced. He seemed to think that we were being grossly misled in this. I do not think we are. It is not possible to say with full accuracy beforehand how many should be employed in an industry but it is possible to say it with reasonable accuracy. There has been a survey of grant-aided industry published which shows what occurred in regard to industries that were in existence up to then, what happened between the estimated potential employment and the actual employment. The Deputy can refer to that if he wishes to see what the position was at that time.

I do not think I need deal with any other points except the allegation made by Deputy Coogan who, I am glad to see, has returned to us.

Would the Minister not comment on the position of Mayo?

The trouble about that is that I may go on at great length if I go into that subject. I shall try to be as brief as I can.

It is worthy of comment from the Minister. I would be disappointed if he did not comment.

Deputy Dr. Gibbons called for, and Deputy O'Hara supported the call for, a crash programme of industrialisation for the west of Ireland. I do not think it is possible to mount it in quite the same sense that the Deputies mean but I want to tell them that under three main headings this problem is being tackled at the moment.

The first is the Small Industries Programme. The example Deputy O'Hara gave from the town of Foxford is a very good example of what can happen if an industry is commenced locally, utilising the services that are available and under the Small Industries Programme the services are available. I want to stress that the onus here is on the people living in the areas concerned, especially in relation to the Small Industries Programme; they must utilise the aids and incentives.

The second heading is the regionalisation approach which I have already announced. It will mean that within the region in which Mayo will be situated there will be a local IDA office charged with the promotion and development of industry within the region. There will be an organisation involving co-operation between the local authorities concerned and any of the bodies within the region concerned with industrial development. This is aimed at decentralising to some extent the industrialisation programme, utilising local knowledge, initiative and enthusiasm and ensuring that there are people responsible, directly concerned with and having a knowledge of the local conditions within the region, as distinct from depending on the overall responsibility exercised heretofore from Dublin. I feel this can make for a considerable change in approach to each region.

The third aspect is one which is of some interest. It seems to me—I am not saying this with certainty but it is based on what I have seen happening and on what I know is in the pipeline with the IDA—that there is a change taking place as far as promoters coming to this country are concerned, or some of them at any rate. Promoters are now coming here with fairly largescale projects who say to us: "We want to go to the west" instead of our having to say, as we did heretofore, "There are advantages in the west" naming the additional grants and so on. There is a change here. There are a number of factors leading to it. The point is that it is happening and Deputies will see that this is so in the not-too-distant future I hope. It is a result of the development over the years of factors such as scarcity of labour in certain other parts of the country and so on. What matters is that this is happening now and I think it is going to make a considerable difference as far as the west is concerned.

The other point I want to mention is Deputy Coogan's allegations. As Deputy Dr. Gibbons said, I asked Deputy Coogan on a number of occasions to say what it was he was complaining of, what he said was wrong and on each occasion he evaded the issue.

It is true that, when challenged to give names rather than make vague allegations, he gave a name. This is true, but giving somebody's name means nothing unless you say what you are contending is wrong, and all the Deputy has said is that the man concerned was a Fianna Fáil supporter who worked in by-elections in different parts of the country. As Deputy Dr. Gibbons pointed out, it is reasonable to assume that since approximately 50 per cent of our people support the Fianna Fáil Party, approximately 50 per cent of those obtaining grants will be Fianna Fáil supporters, and some will be active supporters.

I want to deny categorically that there is, to my knowledge, any basis whatsoever for the allegation that industrial grants are being or have been allocated on a political basis. I want to go further and say that, if Deputy Coogan or any other Deputy of this House, knows that this is not so, then he has a duty to bring the matter to light. It is up to him to decide the best way to do it, but it is certainly within his responsibility and his duty to raise it in this House. If he raises such a matter, there is a responsibility on him to specify what his allegation is, what he says is wrong, and to stand over it. Deputy Coogan has not done that.

The Minister did not specify the lowest standards in high places yet.

The Deputy has walked into it. I knew he would. I knew I could depend on him. I know he is trying to divert me from Deputy Coogan but I will come back to him.

The Minister did not specify the low standards in high places.

Wait for a moment. First of all I will guarantee that Deputy L'Estrange to this day has not read the speech from which that statement was taken.

I have, and I have a copy.

I bet the Deputy has not.

I have a copy. I have it written in black and white in my notes.

Does he now appreciate what the Leader of his Party did not appreciate when he commented on it, that it was in fact an historical lecture?

It is historical all right that the Minister made the reference——

The Deputy did not read it.

——to low standards in high places. He has not exposed them.

The Deputy did not read it.

In his own Party.

When challenged not only did I say what I had in mind, but I went outside this House to do it. The Deputy should know by now anyway what I was talking about. He should remember what I said. I do not want to pursue it any further. I made it quite clear outside this House, and if the person to whom I was referring at the time thought it was untrue or unfair he had every opportunity to do something about it. He did not.

I am talking about a Deputy coming into this House and alleging in a casual way that industrial grants are dished out on a political basis. That is not true.

What about Ryans?

On a point of order. Will the Minister quote what I said?

That is not a point of order.

I am asking the Minister to quote what I said.

I have not got the report. The Deputy spoke only today.

The Deputy may ask a question.

I said that it is rather strange that faces that appeared at by-elections were the faces of gentlemen who had benefited—some in my own area and Deputy Molloy can bear me out.

Sit down.

The Deputy cannot make a second speech.

The Deputy's righthand man was one who qualified.

Make that statement outside the House and you will be brought into the courts and made to answer.

I will answer anywhere I go.

Deputies should cease interrupting.

Say it outside the House.

What about Ryan's car hire? When they had not got the hotel built they got the contract. Will someone tell us about that?

That has nothing to do with this legislation.

He was at every by-election for Fianna Fáil for years.


Will Deputies please respect the Chair?

We respect the truth.

The Chair has suggested previously that this kind of thing should not be bandied across the floor of the House.


Was the Minister to let this allegation go and say nothing about it? Did the Deputy think he could get away with that? Let me say, Sir, that I would not in the normal way, in response to an allegation like that by Deputy Coogan, have paid much attention to it. The reason I did——

Was that you will be down in Galway on Friday.

——was that it is now clear that he is following a Party line. I want to make it clear to Deputy Coogan and any other member of his Party that any time any allegation of that nature is made they will be challenged to justify it and, if they do not, they will be exposing themselves to the Irish public as liars and cheats and frauds.

Will the Minister give me recourse to the files in his Department?

The Minister started it.

The Minister did not. The Deputy was not here.

Low standards in high places.

Let Deputy Coogan say it outside the House. He is the most scurrilous and the lowest thing——

Sir, Deputy Molloy has just passed a remark, but I would expect nothing else from him.

These interruptions must cease. The business of the House should not be interrupted.

I stand over what I have said.

Question put and agreed to.
Agreed to take remaining Stages today.