Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 30 Apr 1969

Vol. 240 No. 2

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Leitrim Population.


asked the Taoiseach the population of County Leitrim in 1926, 1956 and at the latest available date; and if there are plans under consideration designed to halt the decline taking place as a result of emigration.

The following are particulars of the population of County Leitrim according to the censuses of 1926, 1956 and 1966: 1926, 55,907; 1956, 37,056; 1966, 30,572. The plans concerning Connaught, to which I referred in my reply to the Deputy on the 23rd April, apply in full measure to County Leitrim. I have in mind, particularly, the special farrowed sow subsidy scheme, increased piggery grants, the mountain lamb subsidy scheme, the higher rates of grant under the Land Project in western areas, the Small Farm (Incentive Bonus) Scheme and the new Beef Cattle Incentive Scheme.

The Government also provides valuable facilities through the Industrial Development Authority to encourage the establishment and development of industries. Of particular value to Leitrim and the other western counties is the Small Industries Programme, as the rate of grant is weighted in favour of such counties. The Regional Development Fund provides supplementary financial assistance towards the development of desirable projects in the western areas.

Would the Taoiseach not now admit that over 1,000 people a year have emigrated from Leitrim since Fianna Fáil came into office? Will he not further admit that the incentives that they are giving to keep the people in the west up to the present time have been a failure? Have the Government any plans to try to keep the people in the counties like Leitrim in the future, or have they lost all hope in the west?

The percentage reduction in population in the last census period was the second lowest in any inter-censal period since 1911. I am not suggesting that the population is increasing, but an effort is being made to arrest the trend.

If the percentage for the last census is the lowest since the establishment of the State it means that the people were already gone. There is nothing in Government policy to prevent the present emigration from Leitrim. The only thing the Government have done for Leitrim was to divide it into three parts for political purposes.

We cannot have a speech on this question.

There are no plans to stop the haemorrhage of emigration.