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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 24 Apr 1969

Vol. 239 No. 14

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Subsidies for Repair of Ships.


asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether any subsidies are being given to firms in the shipbuilding industry in the State for the repair of ships.

No subsidies are given to firms in the shipbuilding industry for the repair of ships.

The Minister is aware that Verolme Cork Dockyard recently won a contract in competition with other shipyards in the State. The Minister is further aware that the tender which they put in was totally uneconomic and was the lowest price that could be quoted by any shipbuilding yard in Western Europe and this, by reason of the fact that the subsidy given by this House to this firm was used in offering the tender.

The Deputy must ask a question.

This is a very important matter.

There are many other important matters to be dealt with.

I cannot accept the Deputy's statement as being true. The same sort of allegation has been made to me by other people in this House in another area which had nothing to do with shipbuilding or repairing but when these people went into all the details themselves they eventually had to conclude that the particular tender was so low because of better arrangements and possibly better equipment and less restrictive practices operating in Cork which enabled them to give a very much lower tender. It is conceivable the same things might apply in the case of the ships. I have gone into the case in question very thoroughly and I am certain that the subsidies given for shipbuilding have not in any way affected the tender submitted by the Cork Dockyard for repair work.

The Minister says that possibly this company have better equipment but would he say that the subsidy given to this company from this House provided such equipment? Would the Minister not say that there is an unhappy situation where Liffey Dockyard put in a competitive tender and finds another tender which, as the Minister knows, was thousands of pounds less and which could only be made possible by the use of the subsidy that this House gives to Verolme Cork Dockyard?

That is a separate question. The Deputy cannot continue making speeches on these questions.

May I say in response to that—I do not intend going back over all I have said before because the Deputy is asserting one thing and I am denying it. The Deputy did refer to the fact that assistance was given in the purchase of capital equipment. This is quite correct. This is not a subsidy. It is by way of a loan and equity. There are facilities available to Liffey Dockyards. I had a meeting with the former management and with the workers and shortly I will have another meeting with the present management. I hope as a result Liffey Dockyard will avail of the facilities for this kind of reequipment. I see no reason why they should not but if they do it will not be true to say because they get assistance in that way they are being subsidised in their tenders. The same thing applies to Cork.