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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 18 Jun 1980

Vol. 322 No. 6

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Youth Exchanges.


asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he is aware of the Inter-European Socio-Cultural Youth exchanges and of the project Young People make Europe, the Italian Regions; if he will state in respect of the educational trip this summer from this country by young people in response to the invitation to 1,000 school children by the Italian Government to visit Italy, the number of children from this country who will participate in the trip; and the steps being taken by his Department to ensure that this generous invitation by the Italian Government is fully availed of.

I am indeed aware of the exchanges to which the Deputy refers and have brought the invitation of the Government of Italy to the attention of the Minister for Education, whose function it is to decide as to feasibility of participation in such schemes. I would refer the Deputy to the reply of May 28 by the Minister for Education to a similar question by Deputy E. Collins.

In view of the importance of this very generous invitation by the Italian Government, which in my view should be availed of as an educational trip, can the Minister say if he has heard from his colleague, the Minister for Education, in regard to the possibility of participating in the exchange and if the Minister for Education has given him any indication of the number of children who will avail of the trip and whose education will be vastly improved thereby?

In view of the Deputy's constructive interest in this matter I propose to take it up with the Minister for education because there is a lot of merit in the very generous proposal that has come from the Italian Government.

But there is no money there to finance it—is that not a fact? Is it not a fact that the Government are unwilling to provide the necessary money to have the offer taken up?

That is another day's work.

Is it or is it not? What is the Minister saying?

I am answering Deputy Flanagan's question. I am not answering Deputy Collins' question.

On a point of order, I asked a supplementary question.

Deputy Collins——

A Leas-Cheann Comhairle, is it you or the Minister is in the Chair?


I am sorry. If three Deputies want to talk and ask questions simultaneously, neither the Minister nor the Chair has the power to do anything about it. Deputy Collins, a supplementary question. There is no need for any hassle at all.

I do not propose to answer Deputy Collins' question because it does not arise out of the question put down.

With the permission of the Chair might I state that Deputy Flanagan's question specifically asks: "...and the steps being taken by his Department to ensure that this generous invitation by the Italian Government is fully availed of". I would——

A supplementary question, please.

If it is all right with the Minister, may I ask a supplementary question through the Chair?

A supplementary question through the Chair.

Is it all right with the Minister for me to ask a supplementary question?

The Deputy might not get an answer.

The Chair is not responsible for answers. I am responsible for the questions being asked.

We would never hold that against you, Sir.

There are a lot of things held against me that should not be. Deputy Quinn, a final supplementary.

Might I ask the Minister—with the deference which he seems to require if not demand——

Thank you.

——what steps have actually been taken in his Department to find out if we are in a position to respond to the offer which Deputy Flanagan rightly describes as generous? Does the Minister know if money is available?

As I fully explained, this is a matter for the Minister for Education. I told Deputy Flanagan that I regard this as a very constructive proposal by the Italian Government and I intend to take it up with my colleague, the Minister for Education, who has responsibility for it.

Who has not a shilling.

Is it not a fact that some time ago the Minister told me that because——

I did not say that.

The Minister for Education said that because of lack of finance they were not going to take up the offer. Why can the Minister for Foreign Affairs not be honest and say the same?

In view of Deputy Flanagan's constructive approach here, I propose to take up the matter again with my colleague, the Minister for Education.

What is the point? There is no money. The Minister is a Minister for gobbledegook.

I am calling Question No. 14.