asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries the number of grants paid from EEC funds for the purchase and building of fishing trawlers in this country.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Trawler Grants.
No grant has so far been paid from EEC funds for the purchase and building of fishing trawlers in any of the countries including Ireland which acceded to the Community in 1973.
Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware of the statement of the Irish Federation of Marine Industries that £500,000 worth of fishing boat construction grants were lost to fishermen in this country because they were not aware that these grants were available for boats of 50 feet and over?
That statement is completely incorrect. The position is that applications are dealt with on an annual basis. The next closing date is the 30th of next month. We are submitting a number of applications for consideration by the Commission. The Commission have not clearly laid down the regulations governing the award of grants, but so far as the fisheries section of the Department are concerned and so far as BIM are concerned—all grant applications must go through them— every effort is being made to get what we possibly can from the Community.
Surely the Parliamentary Secretary must accept that the fishermen were not aware until recently that those grants were available. From what the Parliamentary Secretary has stated June 30th is the deadline for receiving applications. Surely he will not have many applications in by that date. Would he ensure that this deadline is extended beyond that date to enable fishermen to make their applications? This is very important.
It is not the function of the Parliamentary Secretary to extend the date set down by the EEC. For the Deputy's information, we are submitting applications in respect of 20 large boats and 30 small boats. That is a sizeable number.
As it is not the function of the Parliamentary Secretary, would the Minister pursue this matter to have an extension of the deadline granted by the EEC?
That is a separate question. Question No. 16.
May I have an answer?
The Chair has called the next question.