Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Fuel Resources.

41.

asked the Minister for Transport and Power if he will consider the publication of a paper setting out the existing and potential fuel resources of the country and containing a statement of policy for the full development of these resources with a view to achieving self-sufficiency.

The development of the existing and potential fuel resources of the country is being reviewed by my Department in consultation with the other Departments concerned and the appropriate State-sponsored bodies. It is not proposed to publish a paper in the matter at this stage.

In view of the urgent need for action this year, would the Minister consider dealing with this matter as an emergency rather than as he is proposing in his reply?

My reply does not say that I am not dealing with this as a matter of urgency.

Does the Minister not think that the general public should be made more aware——

The general public were made aware of it by a statement made by Bord na Móna a few weeks ago. Reports submitted to my Department by Bord na Móna in conjunction with the ESB are under review.

There has been a great lack of knowledge over the past few months.

Not at all.

Is the Minister aware that Bord na Móna deal only fractionally with the peat fuel resources of the country? Apart from any activity on their part, surely the Government, through the various county councils or other organisations, should encourage turf development over and above that which is being carried out by Bord na Móna?

I would not agree that Bord na Móna deal with only a fraction of peat produced. That company is the authority designated by the Government for the production of——

Machine turf only.

——for the production of machine turf. That is the way it has developed because it became uneconomic for individuals to harvest hand-won turf. If any county council want to put a proposition to me I will be very glad to examine it. I agree that we may be very glad of this turf next winter.

Arising——

We must pass on to the next question. I have given the Deputies a lot of leeway.

County councils have put forward——

I am calling on Deputy Callanan for a final supplementary question.

In view of the answers given by the Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Lands that they do not accept responsibility for roads leading to those bogs, will the Minister for Transport and Power make sure that something is done about them? Turf was cut in bogs and it was impossible to get it out.

I am afraid the Deputy is engaging in another matter altogether.

Would the Minister indicate Government policy in regard to conserving fuel supplies in the country particularly in regard to turf production which is becoming an important element?

We have passed from that matter.