Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - New Ross (Wexford) Development.

36.

asked the Minister for Local Government if he proposes to give a loan of £17,000 from the Local Loans Fund to the New Ross Urban District Council, County Wexford, in order that they would be able to pay for a site acquired at Barrack Lane, New Ross, for the provision of swimming pool, ball alley, cafeteria, library, fire station, museum, conference hall, office blocks and housing; and if he will define another source from which a loan of £17,000 should be sought.

Local Loans Fund moneys are reserved for the financing of major capital works involving heavy capital outlay and are not normally available for meeting the cost of land acquisition as proposed in this case.

The other sources from which local authorities normally seek loans for this purpose are their treasurers or other agencies such as insurance companies.

As far as the Department and the Minister are concerned they are not prepared to give any assistance at all to this excellent venture carried out by the New Ross Urban District Council?

That is not what I said.

But neither the Minister nor his Department will pay for the site or make any contribution towards it?

Money from the Local Loans Fund is not normally made available to meet the cost of land acquisition in cases of this kind. When the land has been acquired there will be a fair share of demands on State funds from the point of view of assistance, but at this stage it is felt that the urban council should endeavour to negotiate the loan from their treasurers or some other source.

Will the Minister say why the information he has just given the House was not given to the New Ross Urban District Council when the venture received the approval of the Minister's predecessor, Mr. Boland?

The local authority were asked to seek a loan from a source other than the Local Loans Fund on 11th November, 1970.

That is so, but that is not the point I am trying to make. This venture got the approval and blessing of the Minister's Department a long time ago. It is only now the council are being told no financial facilities will be available for the acquisition or purchase of the site.

There is a difference between blessing and money.

What about the Local Loans Fund, is that blessing?

It is used for major capital works involving heavy capital outlay.

I am sorry to have to attack the Minister for Industry and Commerce but this is the first venture of its kind. It was applauded by everybody, including the previous Minister for Local Government.

In all cases of this kind, where the acquisition of sites is being negotiated, local authorities are asked to raise funds from sources other than the Local Loans Fund.

They will have to borrow at high interest rates.

Twelve per cent.

Is it not a fact that the Local Loans Fund is available for the building of doctors' residences? They can hardly be called major projects?

37.

asked the Minister for Local Government what financial assistance he will give towards the New Ross urban renewal project, County Wexford, which was first initiated in 1961, a report on which was prepared by An Foras Forbartha and which received the approval of the urban council, his Department and the personal approval of the then Minister for Local Government.

Final plans for this project and cost estimates for the various elements comprised in it have not yet been completed and consequently I am not in a position at present to give any detailed information on the level of assistance that may be made available from State funds towards the cost of the project. However, on the assumption that the project as finally approved follows the general outline of the preliminary plans, I expect that several parts of the project will qualify for such assistance under grant and subsidy schemes available generally for certain services.

Will the fullest information be given to the urban district council as soon as possible as to what financial assistance they may expect to get?

The Department cannot give an indication until such time as the final plans and cost estimates have been submitted and in this case these have not yet been completed.

Surely the Minister can say roughly what percentage grant they may expect to receive?

I am sure he can.

Will the Minister ask his colleague, the Minister for Local Government, to convey that information to the New Ross Urban District Council?