With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 10 and 11 together.
Irish printing firms, known to have the capacity to produce the telephone directory, were invited to discussions with officers of my Department before the invitations to tender for production of the telephone directory for the years 1970 to 1974 were issued. The purpose of these discussions was to discuss type faces, layout, etc., so as to ensure that conditions which Irish printers might not be able to fulfil, would not be included in the invitation to tender. Two of the printing firms concerned produced sample lists of subscribers' names and telephone numbers as an indication of type faces available. Apart from this, I have no knowledge of any work being done by a printing firm in connection with the 1970 telephone directory, the contract for production of which has not yet been placed.
I am aware that printing unions were perturbed about a clause in the invitation to tender for production of the telephone directory for the years 1970 to 1974. The insertion of the clause in question, which required firms tendering to furnish precise details, if they planned to have any portion of the work done outside the country, was in accordance with standard contract procedure in my Department.
A proposal to have a substantial portion of the work connected with the production of the directory done outside the country would not be acceptable in present circumstances. I am concerned, however, that the telephone directory should be as up to date as possible at the time of publication and I am not prepared to exclude the possibility of a small proportion of the work being done outside the country, if this would result in speedier and more efficient production at economic rates.