Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Council for the Status of Women.

2.

asked the Taoiseach the budget allocation to the Council for the Status of Women this year; when such moneys will be paid; and, if a new headquarters has, or will be, given to the council by next September.

The council's allocation for 1987 has been fixed at £88,000. In addition the council will employ three people under the social employment scheme at a cost to the Exchequer of almost £11,000. This compares with a total grant last year of £88,000.

The council have already received £33,762 of their total allocation this year. Future payments will, as usual, be made on the basis of expenditure submissions from the council.

Inquiries have established that there is no suitable, vacant, State-owned accommodation available for the council. As there are no funds available in current financial circumstances for other accommodation, the likelihood is that the council will continue in their existing accommodation for the present.

I am very pleased the council were finally told last Friday evening and again this morning what their financial future will be. Why were the Office of Public Works showing the council various public buildings during the past three weeks if it was not intended to make a public headquarters available for them, given that they will be homeless from September when their lease runs out?

I have nothing to add to what I indicated in my reply, namely, that there is no suitable accommodation in State ownership at present.

The Government are asking the Council for the Status of Women to house the documentation, library resources and records from the now abolished Department of Women's Affairs but their present premises presents such a fire hazard that delegates from over 50 women's organisations can no longer meet there. I put it to the Taoiseach it is an absolute disgrace that such a situation should be allowed in respect of a group who represent over 50 women's organisations, many of whom work in a voluntary capacity and——

A question, please.

How does the Taoiseach expect the Council for the Status of Women not only to survive but to expand as their programme warrants? Is the Taoiseach aware that we are talking about over 50 per cent of the population?

I have indicated that the council will receive £88,000 this year and in addition will be entitled to employ three people under the social employment scheme. That is an indication of the Government's approval of the work undertaken by the council.

Which will not be allowed to continue.