Industrial Development (Amendment) Bill, 1991: Second Stage (Resumed) and Subsequent Stages.

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Deputy Rabbitte was in possession.

The National Development Corporation was conceived in political conflict, strangled at birth by financial deprivation and constrained, for the duration of its existence, by the absence of political will to make it work. It is important to record that the political will never existed to make the concept of a National Development Corporation in this country work. The concept of a State venture capital company with the developmental role in industrial strategy was effectively strangled at birth. It was announced in 1981 by the then Tánaiste, but the warring factors in that Coalition cabinet did not manage to introduce the legislation until 1985 and did not complete it until 1986. Since then it has been starved of the necessary funds. From 1986 to date NADCORP has invested approximately £26 million and currently holds shares in about 57 companies which employ in total almost 2,000 people.

Some people have taken that up during the course of the debate as meaning that the National Development Corporation have created 2,000 jobs. I would like the Minister to specifically address that point in his reply. That is not my understanding of it. I do not understand the Minister to be saying that the equity invested in these 57 companies has created 2,000 jobs. It has assisted, presumably, in making the enterprises in question viable or keeping them viable and generating additional employment, etc., but it has not created 2,000 jobs and I think that point should be clarified if I am wrong, because other speakers are saying that it did quite well to create 2,000 jobs. It did not create 2,000 jobs as I understand it, and more is the pity.

That, I suggest, is a puny involvement in the context of the scale. For example, in 1990 NADCORP invested £5.3 million and only £3.1 million in 1989. Compare that with the new limit being introduced in the Bill today of £1,200 million for the IDA to assist them with their mandate of grant aiding and otherwise assisting industry. Clearly NADCORP were never taken seriously and a good idea was never really tested.

The present Minister has concluded that the private venture capital market has developed greatly since 1986, making NADCORP'S role redundant. I am advised by business people that the private sector venture capital companies, or risk capital companies as they are sometimes called, are in fact misnomers. These companies are disinterested in meeting strategic industrial objectives or in assisting the development of any enterprise which cannot virtually guarantee a quick return on money's invested. If the purpose of a national development corporation is, to quote the then Minister for Energy when introducing the Bill in 1986, "to play a critical role in the Government's overall strategy for the development of the indigenous resource sector of the economy, especially in relation to agriculture, fisheries and forestry, it is by no means evident to me that private venture capital will meet that challenge.

In helping to construct such an indigenous sector for the first time in the Irish economy, quick returns on investment may not always be possible. Consequently, the dictates of the private venture sector are allowed to determine critical investment decisions.

It is interesting to note in this regard that, according to the findings of the survey of business attitudes contained in the review of industrial performance last year, 61 per cent of those surveyed considered State venture capital to be an important support mechanism of industrial development. I am not arguing for imprudent investment decisions by a State agency or that such an agency should apply criteria which are less rigorous than those applied in the private sector, but I am arguing that targeting investment is a major instrument of industrial policy and that the existence of a body, such as NADCORP were intended to be, enables the State to intervene to meet critical policy objectives. That same review pointed out that "there is a poor correlation between public expenditure on industry and net employment creation".

Instead of doling out, annually, massive expenditure in grant aid, supports and tax reliefs of various kinds, The Workers' Party have argued that the State should take direct shareholdings in the enterprises being assisted. In so far as this Bill permits the IDA to hold such preference shares I welcome this development. However, this decision alone will not revolutionise our industrial strategy, especially if the extent of its implementation is constrained in the same fashion as were the operations of NADCORP.

It is all very well for the Minister to say that he, too, accepts the argument that we have not been getting value for money from the system we have been operating up to now where up to £1 billion a year is doled out by way of grant aid to industry or, as the report put it, there is a poor correlation between State expenditure on industry and net employment creation, but the question is, what changes does he propose to make in industrial policy?

Other speakers have taken great exception to the manner in which the Bill which deals with such a major issue has been rushed before the House, without any agreement. Ideally, in discussing such a Bill we should discuss the inherent failures in industrial policy rather than focus attention on the minimalist measures contained in the Bill. The House, within the lifetime of this Dáil has not been provided with an opportunity to discuss industrial policy. That is extremely regrettable having regard to the fact there appears to be agreement on all sides of the House that our existing industrial strategy is manifestly not working, that there are almost 300,000 people unemployed and that we have witnessed highest rates of emigration during the past four or five years since the low point of the mid-fifties. As I said in the House before, if we are to make any impact on the question of employment generation, industrial policy ought to be the subject matter of a sustained debate in this House.

We have had enough reports which analyse our industrial performance. The Department produced their own recent reports. In his speech, if my memory serves me correctly, the Minister warned that we should not seize this opportunity to confuse it with the review of industrial policy which is currently being concluded by the special review group which he set up. I do not see any reason we ought not confuse it given that they all deal with the same problem. Time after time, in the lifetime of this Dáil, we have been asked to discuss some aspect of industrial policy. We are proceeding in an ad hoc fashion to make piecemeal reforms without making any overall assessment of the defects in industrial policy and the changes we ought to make. This is regrettable. These reforms include the rationalisation of agencies, the extension of the special manufacturing tax regime to the year 2010 and a number of others.

The Minister promised he will act swiftly on the review which will be completed by the end of the year, but I cannot see in the middle of the crisis we face at present in terms of unemployment, the reason we cannot have this debate on industrial policy and make a number of changes, if the House agrees and the Government so determine. Instead, we are being asked to rush through this legislation which will abolish the only State venture capital company.

The argument the Minister has put forward is that the private venture capital sector has developed greatly since 1986 and there is no need for this agency. I have been dealing with business people long enough to know that that is not the way they perceive it. If one goes with a good idea to any of the risk capital companies, they will have to be given assurances with the result that by the time they divvy up the project will have to be risk-free. There is agreement in the House that one of the major defects in our industrial performance has been our inability to construct an indigenous sector in the economy. If we are to set ourselves broad policy goals and objectives the State must reserve to itself the right to intervene and target spending of scarce resources. It could do this through a State development agency such as NADCORP. That was the original thinking.

The impact by NADCORP has been so puny that I cannot get hot under the collar about the decision to rationalise them in this fashion. They were neither given the necessary resources nor encouraged. The political will was never there, they operated in a hostile culture and the impact they had was minimal.

The chairman of the board set out in his statement in their final report that they had played a minimalist role. In 1990, £5.3 million was invested and £3.1 million was invested the previous year.

The chairman wrote the type of report that chairman of semi-State boards write. The one exception was Mr. Alex Spain of the B & I, but his report was not allowed see the light of day. Chairmen of companies are very careful to conform to the pleasant language that will not incur the wrath of the Minister and nobody would wish to incur the wrath of this Minister. I gather that when he is in full flight he is a sight to behold. Nonetheless, Mr. Richard Burrows drew attention to the fact in his statement, in relation to the survey of business attention to which I have referred, that 61 per cent of those surveyed considered State venture capital to be an important support mechanism of industrial development. In throwing one of those bones to the Minister so as to be seen to be in tune with him Richard Burrows says that private sector venture has become more readily available through BES funds and the easing of bank credit. That statement is already out of date on both counts. The BES was quite properly cut back in the last Finance Bill and hopefully additional loopholes will be plugged in the next Finance Bill because that scheme was disgracefully abused in some cases. Mr. Burrows, as chairman, seems to be offering that as an excuse as to why we do not need NADCORP. The existence of the BES and the easing of bank credit were very temporary palliatives indeed. It seems it is not difficult to envisage a whole series of enterprises that might profitably, usefully and productively, in terms of employment, avail of the existence of such a body as NADCORP. The Minister commented on remarks he made at the recent launch of a promotional video, a video that seems to have had a short shelf life.

And only one copy.

The body to which it refers has been abolished. I would like to have had the opportunity of viewing the video. The Minister for Industry and Commerce does not seem to take the same approach as, for example, the former Minister for Labour, who ensured that spokepersons on this side of the House were formally invited to meet the chairperson and chief executives of State companies such as AnCO, FAS and other agencies under his aegis. Seeing that we cannot have the assistance of high calibre public servants like Mr. Purcell, I think it would be useful if we were at least facilitated with meetings with organisations such as NADCORP which the Minister should be able to concede without political conflict. I would like to know how the Minister can conclude that these developments in the private venture capital market make this body redundant.

I assume the Minister will say that the IDA will take over that role. I am not opposed in principle to the rationalisation of agencies, and effect has already been given to some rationalisation in the area of industrial promotion because it seems there has been overlapping and presumably costs have been incurred as a result of that overlapping. Therefore there is an argument for rationalisation of the agencies.

I do not want to provoke Deputy Carey, and I am not suggesting that, for example, SFADCo should be rationalised, but it is interesting that the Minister for Industry and Commerce is as prone as the rest of us to looking after his back garden. Noises were made when the Progressive Democrats were in full ideological flight that the IDA were doing the job adequately and that whereas there was a role for Gaeltarra éireann or údarás na Gaeltachta, there was no necessity for that aspect of SFADCO's mandate. That was the Progressive Democrats argument, but I do not think that company will be interfered with in the rationalisation that is being presaged by the Minister.

The Minister referred today to the fact that the limit currently imposed on the IDA is rapidly being exhausted. I would be obliged if the Minister would do some research for me on that. I do not know how the £688 million compares to the amount dispensed by the IDA in the last few years. Am I to presume that that involves not just direct grant aid but also equity participation by the IDA in some companies? I repeat that on the scale of the new limit of £1,200 million the investment absorbed by NADCORP in recent years has been minimalist.

The Minister cautioned us that "Deputies should not confuse this Bill with any measures which the review group may recommend as I propose to deal with these swiftly at a later stage". That is an unfair attempt to warn us off the wider debate. For the reasons I have outlined, all those measures that we have been discussing on a piecemeal basis up to and including today are essentially parts of the ingredients that would go towards a revamp of industrial policy. We may be taking decisions that will cut across recommendations of, for example, the industrial review group and we may have to change some of these decisions again. It is regrettable that on such a critical issue as industrial policy we should proceed on that basis.

I want to comment very briefly on the impact of unemployment on the Dublin region. Deputy Taylor and Deputy Barry dealt with the overall endemic unemployment crisis as we all sadly know it, but there has been a perception abroad for the years of our greatest industrial expansion that Dublin has been doing exceptionally well as compared with the other regions. Unfortunately that is not the case. There is a crisis in Dublin, a crisis in pure statistical terms that is worse than anything else we have to contend with. For example, when jobs were being lost at a great speed in the eighties Dublin lost most of them, and in the seventies when jobs were being created the fewest went to Dublin. In the seventies there was a net increase of 33,000 jobs in Ireland but yet Dublin, the largest, most populous and most industrialised part of the country, got just 3 per cent of these jobs. When Government policies led to the loss of a staggering 42,000 jobs between 1981 and 1989 a massive 64 per cent, or 26,595 jobs, were lost in the capital. The fact that Dublin got so few new jobs in the seventies and had to bear almost two-thirds of all job losses in the eighties provides strong evidence of a policy of deliberate discrimination which must now be reversed. I do not think it has impinged on the public consciousness that the position in Dublin is so appallingly bad. I represent a constituency that is not untypical of a number of Dublin constituencies where, in large tracts of them, the unemployment rate is up to 70 per cent.

One can talk about minimal progressive improvements in budgetary policy in terms of social welfare entitlements, but that will have no impact on these communities until we tackle the crisis in unemployment. I will refer to a recent article published in The Irish Times on 15 November 1991 on a study done by Dr. P.J. Drudy and Ms. Orla McKeown on the question of job losses in manufacturing. Their conclusions are similar to those in other reports. Having talked about the overall situation and the decline in manufacturing in the Dublin region, the article goes on to say:

More alarming, however, is the fact that the growth in the number of firms did not in fact result in any net increase in employment. The opposite occurred. The net loss in employment in Irish owned firms in Dublin during the 1970s was 3,800 — and this was at a time when every other region in the State was experiencing significant employment growth. During the same period, foreign owned firms increased their employment in Dublin by only 230; this was again in sharp contrast to what was happening in other areas.

During most of the 1980s, the situation was even more serious. By 1989, Dublin had reached a low point. In that year there were almost 25,000 fewer jobs in manufacturing industry than there had been in 1980. The vast majority of these losses were suffered by Irish-owned firms so that the proportionate importance of foreign-generated employment has increased from 33 per cent to 40 per cent of the total during the decade. During 1990 there were overall net gains of 500 manufacturing jobs in Dublin, but whether this signals a serious revival remains to be seen. A dramatic turnaround would be required to counteract the losses of the past decade.

I presume that will also interest you, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, in your capacity as a Deputy for Dublin NorthWest. This is an appalling picture of the extent of the crisis in Dublin. I look forward to the House being given the opportunity to consider what the Minister says will be his swift reaction to the recommendations of the Industrial Review Group when they will draw their conclusions at the end of this year. I sincerely hope this will not become caught up in the log jam, as did the second triennial report on industrial performance. It took a great deal longer for that report to see the light of day, for some reason that one is left to guess at, than should have been the case. We have enough reports. The sad thing is that too many of the reports compiled in the past decade were not significantly acted upon. This Minister will say that he has made some reforms — and he has — but the unemployment situation is worsening and I look forward to the opportunity of having a comprehensive debate on industrial policy.

The Bill sets out to do a clearly defined job: first and foremost it winds up NADCORP; second, it transfers its assets and responsibilities to the IDA; and, third, it increases the upper limit of the aggregate grants of the IDA and SFADCo, which will allow them to continue supporting industrial development.

The Bill steers away from policy and I too, like the last speaker, am anxiously looking forward to the speedy action, which I am sure the Minister will take, as he promised, when the report of the review group comes to hand. Clearly, the introduction of this Bill is both timely and necessary. The IDA and SFADCo were about to reach the upper limit of the amount of grants that both bodies were empowered to make to industry. Clearly, from what the Minister had to say in his speech, NADCORP had outlived its usefullness and was doing nothing which the IDA — given such powers by this Bill — cannot undertake. It is important that both the IDA and SFADCo are given the wherewithal to pursue their efforts to attract further industrial development and investment to this country. The increase in the upper limits to £1,200 million and £150 million respectively for the IDA and SFADCo are appropriate.

Despite the adverse criticism, I believe the IDA have done a very good job down through the years. They have succeeded in attracting very significant and worthwhile foreign investment. A very significant percentage of the working population are employed in foreign firms which the IDA attracted to this country. They were encouraged to set up business because of the grants they were offered. Despite the criticism to the contrary, I believe it was a worthwhile exercise and I do not subscribe to the idea that the IDA were throwing money at foreigners who would avail of all the grants and incentives before clearing out. Unfortunately, that might have happened in isolated incidents. However, the whole pattern of their activities over the years proves that it was well worthwhile both economically and industrially to this country. By and large, they have done a good job. The IDA and their personnel encouraged industries, which would not otherwise have done so to set up in the small towns throughout the country. Fortunately, many of those smaller industries in the small towns are still extant and flourishing.

The economic climate has changed a great deal in recent years, not just nationally but internationally, and it is now more difficult to attract industries to this country, as indeed it must be for other countries. I am quite certain that other countries face the same limitations and similar problems in preserving and extending the opportunities for employment. Similarly, SFADCo have done a good job. Again, I hate to differ with my county man opposite, but I am sorry that we cannot have a few more bodies like SFADCo along the west coast.

In years gone by when it was evident that the west and south west would find it a struggle to survive economically, SFADCo was established and since then it has done wonderful job. It is the one bright spot in the long journey from the north of Donegal down to Kerry. I am only sorry that a similar body cannot be set up in other parts of the west, a body that would enhance the opportunities and possibilities for those regions and would do for those regions what SFADCo has done for the mid-west.

In the Minister's speech he referred to the Industrial Policy Review Group which he established last June and I was pleased to hear of his intention to take all appropriate action as soon as the report of that group, which is expected shortly, comes to hand. Action is needed in view of the serious unemployment level and I am sure that the urgency of the need for such action is fully appreciated by the Minister. I urge the Minister to lose no time and spare no effort in implementing any worthwhile suggestion in that report which would help to alleviate the unemployment level.

The Bill provides for the transfer to the IDA of all NADCORP assets, liabilities and commitments, but it also makes amendments to the Industrial Development Act, 1986, by increasing the grant and by allowing the IDA to, first, hold shares in its own name and, second, give employment grants to all industries rather than to small industries only, as was the position heretofore. Those two provisions are certainly steps in the right direction. Indeed, the first provision in particular is long overdue.

With regard to the extension of the employment grant to all industry, I understand that at the moment there is no differential between grants available to industries no matter where in the country they are set up so long as their employees number fewer than 15. I suggest to the Minister that there should be a differential between grants offered to employers in the disadvantaged part of Ireland — the west of Ireland, if you like — and to employers in the east who avail themselves of those grants. Years ago there was a large differential in the capital grants available to industry. If I remember correctly, there was a 60 per cent capital grant available in the west and a 45 per cent grant available in other places. I do not wish to be thought of as talking only about the west; I mention it in the context of the disadvantaged part of Ireland. To my way of thinking, all of Ireland, with the exception of a few cities and big towns, is now disadvantaged. In the provision of employment grants the west of Ireland could be extended to include other disadvantaged areas or even provincial and rural Ireland, which would include smaller towns with populations of 2,000 and 3,000. Many of those towns are finding it difficult to survive. It is essential to make some effort to provide industry and employment opportunities for the people who live in those areas and not just those who live in the cities.

In many ways it would make good sense in the national interest to encourage development in the lesser developed parts of Ireland and to discourage it in those parts that have the greatest development now, because often at times further development merely adds to the headaches of an area of development. It puts a burden on the existing infrastructure and builds up a problem for the future, a problem which could perhaps cost millions and millions of pounds to solve satisfactorily.

I suggest to the Minister that he consider introducing a differential between the employment grant paid to an employer in the more developed parts of Ireland — in the east — and the employment grant paid to an employer in the other parts.

I welcome the Bill generally and I look forward to the action that the Minister proposes to take when the review group report is to hand.

I first place on record my objection to the Bill being imposed on the House with very little time given to Members to consider the details of the legislation.

The Bill is sponsored by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who professes to have a major role to play in altering the proceedings of the House and making them more democratic and accessible to the general membership of the House. By producing the Bill at such short notice, rushing it through the House and giving very little time for debate — and, in particular for discussion on Committee Stage — the Minister's actions do not sit well with his professed desire for the House to be more amenable to its ordinary membership.

The first point I wish to make in this submission is that serious consideration should be given to the idea of changing the title of the Bill. This is not the Industrial Development (Amendment) Bill, since "development" implies improvement, progression and consolidation — a positive feature that can be measured in terms of the wellbeing of its participants. No, this is not the Industrial Development (Amendment) Bill. I submit that it should more correctly be called the "Requiem for a Government Bill" because it very effectively gives notice that this Government is breathing its last.

The Government are throwing in the towel and admitting that they have run out of their own ideas. Additionally, they are seeking to kill off the ideas of others by the introduction of the Bill. The Bill is a public admission by the Government that they have nothing left to offer the workforce of this country. In the past the Government have conceded by covert means that their cupboard of ideas is bare; they are now attempting to sell off the cupboard itself. When all of the fancy phrases are stripped away, when the high-flown expressions of endeavour are laid bare and when the nitty-gritty of the Bill is exposed to critical scruitiny, then the skeleton which is left will be seen to be nothing more and nothing less than a shameless admission by the Government that they have nothing to offer in the area of employment stimulation and small business growth — two key sectors of the economy.

If one goes back to 1985, the year in which the National Development Corporation Bill was enacted by the House, it will be noted that the conditions which spawned and gave birth to NADCORP — conditions of rising unemployment and lack of long term venture capital for the small firm and the cash starved entrepreneur — have not changed today. The need for NADCORP is as great as ever. Indeed, on the basis that NADCORP should be viewed not as a single entity in isolation from the other State agencies but as an integral part of an overall strategy in our approach to the employment question, it is ridiculous to view NADCORP as anything other than an essential tool in an ongoing quest for answers to the employment problem.

Conditions in the marketplace have not changed for the better; rather, they have worsened in many ways. Energy should be channelled in the direction of bolstering the support systems. The Bill seeks to do the opposite by removing an arm from the corporate body, leaving it weaker and less well able to function.

NADCORP was set up on the basis that a particular niche in the financial support system was identified as not having been exploited or assisted by the private sector. It was also a condition of their establishment that their role would run parallel to and in total harmony with that of the IDA. There is no suggestion that that has not been the case in the intervening years. Therefore, why are we now being asked to support what can only be described as two steps backwards when previously we had taken a positive step forward?

The development of a venture capital market, capable of making a significant contribution to industrial expansion, is as much an educational process as anything else. Those were the words of Deputy John Bruton in this House on the introduction of the National Development Corporation Bill six years ago. I happen to agree wholeheartedly with those sentiments. The development of a venture capital market is an educational process, a learning process, one which must be measured in the long-term as part of an overall strategy. I believe the sentiments which stimulated the introduction of that Bill are even more valid today. If we accept the Bill before us in effect we will be preventing the embryo from maturing, not merely throwing out the baby with the bathwater but throwing away the bath itself.

In considering this Bill it is important to ponder on the role of NADCORP as it was intended when the Bill for its establishment was originally introduced. The eighties brought a multitude of scientific and technological innovations which changed the face of industry and commerce. Those changes brought problems, particularly related to the use of personnel, which have added enormously to the unemployment which has bedevilled this country for years. In such circumstances there are two ways of tackling the problem. The first is to accept that the problem exists and resolve it by merely penalising the workforce. The second is to endeavour to reverse the trend by offering support and assistance to those willing to chart new ground, to attempt alone what they can no longer undertake as part of a group. That is what the National Development Corporation were established to do. I believe their role is more vital today than ever. If NADCORP have had a problem, their efficiency impaired or had been less than might have been required that can have been caused only by the manner in which they were hamstrung by Government through lack of adequate funding and support. There has been no suggestion of which we are aware that NADCORP have not been functioning along the lines intended or were at variance with other State agencies. If that is so — and there is no evidence to the contrary — why then are we discussing a Bill seeking to dissolve the corporation, leaving us without one more valuable aid in our endeavours to come to grips with the greatest single problem confronting the country today. When all is said and done this is about employment, or lack thereof and, more importantly, about the lack of desire and motivation on the part of the Government to come to grips with the pernicious disease slowly strangling our nation. Let us awaken from this awful sleep induced by the total torpor of Government inaction which sees us lumber from one nightmare to another in the wild expectation that, when we finally awaken, everything will be all right, Mother Ireland will be there to soothe us and bathe our fevered brows. Mother Ireland is a sick old lady at present without a nurse or caretaker, now having her medicine withdrawn.

We are constantly reminded by people on the other side of the House about how healthy is our economy, how well we are doing vis-à-vis financial targets and how soon we shall turn the corner, that is if the Government can ever discover where that corner lies. I say to Members of the House: try telling that to the thousands in the dole queues in my constituency, there not because of any individual or collective inadequacies but rather because of the uncaring attitude of a Government so bereft of ideas they are amputating their own limbs; try talking about economic wellbeing to the young electronic engineer in my constituency who must be content with a job behind a check-out till; or to the school teacher who applies his talents in an office where he needs only to be able to write letters and answer the telephone; or to the food technician who uses his skills garnered over many years in a once-weekly deciphering of his signing-on sheet. Try talking about a healthy economy to the many craft workers left without either a job or any hope of one by the closure of Irish Sugar in Thurles, whose futures will appear even gloomier by the closure of one more channel to their aspirations if this Bill is passed.

Many Members of the House could tell similar stories, about a constituency where the once strong urban-rural divide no longer obtains because, like the walls which have crumbled all over Eastern Europe, it has crumbled under the twin onslaught of unemployment and the devastation of essential services. The farming community in mine and many other constituencies have fared equally badly in the present economic climate. There is sufficient evidence to confirm that much entrepreneurial potential lies simmering beneath the surface if only it could be tapped and supported by the right agencies. If we abolish those agencies — as is the proposal in this Bill with regard to NADCORP — what will be the outlook? We should seek to expand the support services on offer in the workplace rather than curtail them and channeling them through a single agency, as is now proposed. That is not intended in any way as a criticism of the IDA but rather simply pointing to the need for a proper evaluation of what these agencies are doing and the direction in which we should be looking in the difficult years lying ahead for the remainder of the nineties.

On regular visits to the towns of Thurles, Nenagh and Roscrea in north Tipperary I never cease to be impressed by the huge numbers of young second-level students these towns support. One is impressed but, at the same time, more than a little apprehensive. For example, it is a chastening experience to be in Thurles at lunch time on a school-going day when more than 2,000 students hit the streets. They are the life blood of our country, the vibrant future workforce and leaders. What have we to offer them? We offer them a town and county in serious decline because of lack of Government support, where unemployment for life is a grim reality for a great many people. For those young people opportunity is a word spoken with an American or Australian accent, for whom the height of ambition is to be able to make it across the Atlantic or to the other side of the world.

The National Development Corporation was an excellent concept and could still be excellent in operation if only they were properly funded to allow them carry out their remit. Their role should be advertised in the workplace so that the people who can reap most benefit will be made aware of their existence and what they can do for them. If they had a failing that may well have been that their existence was not sufficiently known or their services not as widely publicised as may have been required. If NADCORP have not been functioning properly their role should be re-evaluated and reassessed so that any inherent difficulties can be ironed out or eliminated. We should not let them go out of existence because of a fit of Government or ministerial pique or because of some imagined slight simply because it was not the Minister's idea in the first place.

We own it to our people not to remove this support system for those with ideas, talent and commitment. We should offer them every encouragement we can rather than be seen to be acting against the interests of those who cannot otherwise compete in the punitive area of capital borrowing on the open market. We have many talented people who have demonstrated that they can succeed given the right environment and assistance. If we pass this Bill we shall have taken another giant step toward the further erosion of public confidence in our collective ability and the desire of this Government to tackle the evil of unemployment effectively.

I congratulate the Minister on introducing this Bill. In particular I commend the provisions of section 9 enabling the Minister to continue to assist industry because, without such assistance, we would have even fewer jobs. I know of an industry in my home town in Sligo assisted by the IDA. Indeed many such industries have done excellent work and provided a number of jobs in an area where employment is much needed. Our infrastructure must be improved considerably to ensure that we reap the best benefits from industrial activity, particularly in the west, where our roads network must be upgraded with this in mind.

It takes approximately four hours to travel by road from the west to the nearest large port, which is Dublin, and it is important that we have better roads for heavy vehicles making this journey. I worked for many years in one of the great industries in the west, GWI in Collooney in County Sligo, which at one time employed over 400 people. Business was expanding and they borrowed heavily to build a new factory. Because of high interest rates in the eighties which were not controlled by the then Government, the company were unable to meet a number of repayments and the then Minister for Industry and Commerce, now Leader of the Opposition, decided to close the door on GWI. That was one of the saddest days for Sligo and the west. The factory had been grant-aided by the IDA and by Fóir Teoranta. If proper negotiations had taken place it would have been possible to prevent closure and to retain the reduced workforce of 120 people. Instead, these employees, who had carpentry and machine skills, were put out of work. If the business expansion scheme had then been in operation, it would have helped that industry. It would have been cheaper to keep those 120 people in employment than to close the factory and sell the machinery.

The business expansion scheme has been somewhat reduced but its availability to industry should be maintained. Basta Locks, a company located in my town of Tubbercurry and once owned by a former Member of this House, has been taken over by a group of workers who have availed of the business expansion scheme. Unfortunately, this company are not being supported. When one looks around this House and the new offices in Government Buildings, one sees that the ironmongery was not purchased in this country. Our architects must be prepared to specify Irish-made products. All the material in a recently build hospital in Sligo was imported. How is our industry to continue if we import foreign-made goods? These locks can be made and purchased in Tubbercurry, Country Sligo. Builders providers must stock these goods.

We buy Basta locks.

Basta locks are as good as Yale or Union locks. Why are people not buying them? Is it because they are considered to be of inferior quality? They may have been inferior many years ago but not today. But for the business expansion scheme, Basta might not be as progressive as it is. I want to ensure that this scheme is maintained in order to assist industry.

A good road infrastructure is important if industry is to be attracted to the west and enabled to transport finished products to the ports. When the big loads were leaving GWI for Cork or Dublin years ago, it was important to have a good road. The same applies today. The west needs special support because it is so far away from the nearest large port, Dublin.

I congratulate the Government on their support for industrial development. If interest rates can be kept down it will assist industries who are working on overdrafts. New industries can be set up. Years ago when people wore clogs there was a successful factory manufacturing the clogs here. Unfortunately clogs are not generally worn nowadays but they are coming back into use in hospitals. Perhaps the Minister would encourage some enterprise to set up a clog factory. I believe people would wear them. At one time if you wore clogs you were classed as poor.

Now you are classed as a hippy.

We could bring back many small industries if they were given Government support to start up. One idea might be to set up a poteen industry. We would have to talk to a number of Ministers about it. At one time poteen was exported to America.

Poteen-making is illegal.

I said we would have to talk to a number of Ministers. I know the making of poteen is illegal.

It is still being made.

Once, when I was travelling to the United States, I bought a bottle of poteen at Shannon. I do not know where it was made——

It was not the real thing.

It was stronger than Ballygowan or Tipperary water. I would support the development of such industries.

In conclusion, I congratulate the Minister on bringing this Bill before the House. I welcome in particular section 9 which will enable more money to be given to the IDA to support industry. If we do not support industry it will not be able to continue.

I welcome the opportunity to contribute to the debate on this Bill as I believe the time is right for our industrial policy to be reviewed. We seem to vary greatly in the emphasis we place on various aspects of industry depending on which party are in power.

It is regrettable that NADCORP are being put to sleep, so to speak, particularly in view of the quantum leap we need to make in terms of achieving greater industrial development and attracting more international investment. If we do not manage to attract such investment in the very near future our industrial policy will need to be reviewed. Indeed, I see no reason this policy cannot be reviewed now. When one considers that we have an unemployment level of 260,000 — the highest in the EC — and that approximately 30,000 people are involved in various training schemes one can see that it is high time we took a long hard look at our industrial policy. We need to ask ourselves where we are going, where we have gone wrong and where we want to go in terms of industrial policy.

It seems that we are running fast to stay in the same spot. We have not achieved anything in terms of reducing the number of people on the live register. This is the saddest indictment of the present system. I am not making a political point to any Minister. However, responsibility for reducing the number of people on the live register and for creating jobs rests with them. They are the people who told us what they would do when they became Ministers. I am sure they find their appointments as Ministers very rewarding in terms of job satisfaction, etc. However, they must be very disappointed in terms of job creation.

It has been argued that the industrial policy pursued by Governments for a number of years was not successful. I am talking about the policy of attracting multinational companies into the country and giving them grants. There was nothing wrong with that policy. The problem was that it was never perfected and it never achieved its full potential At present approximately 80,000 people here are employed both directly and indirectly by multinational companies. If we could double this figure we would be making great strides in trying to solve our unemployment problem. However, the prospects of doubling that figure, based on our performance over the past ten to 15 years which covers the life of a number of Governments, are very slim indeed.

It was thought in the mid-eighties that the time had come for the establishment of a body which would have State and private sector involvement to fill the gap which existed in this area. Apparently that is no longer the case and NADCORP are, so to speak, to be put down and their liabilities and assets transferred to the IDA.

We must ask ourselves how successful the IDA have been in attracting the foreign investment we require. A number of people believe that they have not been as successful in this area as they should be. Those of us who have sought investment from the IDA for blighted areas know full well the frustration which can be experienced by people. We have heard all the well known cliches such as that an area is being marketed on a national basis in the normal way, that it is being shown to various industrialists, etc. The competition for investment is much tougher now than it was five years ago. I do not know why the activities of NADCORP are being transferred to the IDA. Will this make the IDA more incisive, more competitive, more alert, more aware and more successful or is it being done for bureaucratic or ideological reasons? The one thing which is certain is that other people in the marketplace are competing fiercely for Japanese, US and European investment.

Over the past number of months reference has been made to the need to ensure that the jam on the European cake is spread evenly. We heard about this during the debate on Maastricht, both last week and again this morning. We will also hear about it in the run up to the referendum next year. In the context of investment in jobs in this country we should be able to say with justification that we are getting a fair share of the investment and opportunities being made available in the European arena. Preference should not be given to one region. We should ask ourselves the obvious question: are we getting a fair share of investment now available in Europe? Given our employment requirement I honestly believe that we are not getting our fair share. People will trot out figures and say that industrial growth was X, Y or Z and compare it with growth in our European counterparts. That is not the point. The point is that we have the highest unemployment level in the EC, the highest requirement and have much further to go before we reach the levels being achieved in most member states.

We can merge companies like the IDA and NADCORP as often as we like, trot out figures, try to convince ourselves that Government policy is achieving certain objectives and get Central Bank reviews and other reviews on a day to day basis but this will not achieve anything unless there is a massive change in policy both by the Government and the IDA. If this is not done we will still have 265,000 people on the live register and 30,000 people involved in training courses. This huge burden on our economy means that the people who need assistance are being deprived of it.

There has been much talk about the new macho images which have emerged in recent times and the tough Government policy which would encourage new initiatives and entrepreneurships. About a year ago competition, which is now much vaunted, in the baking industry caused considerable job losses in two bakeries in my constituency, one in Athy and the other in Kilcock. At that time I raised questions in the House about whether the bread price war would be in the long-term interests of the consumer, the employees, etc., and whether it was being used to remove people from the marketplace and the production arena which would lead to the removal of competition. Sufficient attention is not being given to this issue at present.

Subsequently, the production arena was pinned down and the people who were in production, Kellys of Kilcock and Bradburys of Athy, went to the wall. Ministers came into the House and justified that. A year later we have very little to offer those people except continued unemployment. We can say with our hands on our hearts, from the Government side of the House, that competition was good for us. Just how good was it? One year later the consumer, the man or woman in the street, will say prices have increased to what they were, there is less competition, there are fewer people in the production arena in that category and there are 2,000 fewer people in the baking industry than there were five or six years ago.

If we are serious about job creation and investment we should look again at what we are doing wrong. Surely we cannot be doing it right at present; there must be a flaw somewhere which somebody must come across when doing research and ask whether we are achieving anything in that area. I mention that point simply because it gives a graphic illustration of how wrong the Ministers and the IDA have got it.

I mentioned earlier the need for the IDA to compete with other overseas countries for investment. I mentioned in this House many times in the past that the east of Europe is in dire need of investment at present. We all recognise that and we also recognise as our party Leader, Deputy John Bruton, said this morning that the EC have a duty to assist. We have also a duty to assist ourselves. Our employment encouragement incentives and investment agencies have a double duty to ensure that a reasonable share of that investment comes in our direction. It is far better and more beneficial for an economy anywhere to gain investment which results in employment and further turnover in the community rather than what we have been doing in the past, going to Europe with a begging bowl seeking handouts to shore up the landslides which have taken place and which will only perpetuate and exacerbate an already difficult problem. I would ask the Minister and his colleague from the Progressive Democrats to recognise that the scene is changing fast and what was successful in the forties, fifties and sixties is now outdated. The stage is occupied by a number of participants who are in dire need of investment in their own countries and who are doing a great deal to procure that investment. If we are not in a position to compete vigorously we will lose the battle. Governments will change, Ministers will be thrown out of office, some will resign from time to time while others are sacked but at the end of the day the consumer, the constituents, the general public, are the people who suffer if we do not adapt and respond to the needs that arise at a particular time. I do not think we have done that in the last few years.

Needless to say, it must be a moot point for those who are unemployed at Christmas to note and acknowledge what we are proposing to do in relation to this Bill. I wonder whether they are as cynical as some of us here are. I have no doubt they are. Those who were unemployed last year and the previous year will see no prospect except that they may be in the same position next year. An evaluation of the age structure of those who are unemployed at present illustrates the seriousness of the problem. In my constituency of Kildare we have approximately 7,000 people who are unemployed, 80 per cent of whom are under 45 years of age and almost 50 per cent of those under 45 years of age are under 24. If one takes a casual look at the situation one will see that for those over 45 years of age there is little prospect of their ever getting a job. Unfortunately, that is the scene and the economic climate in which we live. Even though there are many competent, capable and well qualified people of 46 and 47 years of age available and willing to work in this country when they go along anywhere to get a job they cannot even get one sweeping the footpath for the local authority. The age barrier deprives them even of a simple mundane job. That is a crazy situation and one which the Minister needs to look at urgently in his evaluation of the problem.

I turn now to deal with those under the age of 45 who have a good life span ahead of them. In my constituency almost 2,000 of these people are under 24, some of whom were employed last year but some came on to the labour market this year from the various schools and are now unemployed. They have two prospects, one of which is unemployment. I am aware this debate is not about social welfare but I would like to make a quick passing reference to the case of a 45 year old man who lives at home with his parents and receives £31 per week at Christmas time, based on an assessment against him of board and lodgings, the same applies to women. Those people will look very carefully, coldly and callously at any proposals we have in relation to job creation in the future. Unless the results of any changes are fairly dramatic they will become more and more cynical. That is the reason the public are getting cunical about politics and public life. When it is all boiled down they relate it directly to themselves and ask: what is in it for me? Is there anything at all? Will anything change? Will I still be unemployed tomorrow, next week or next year? Will it be any different for my brother or sister who was unemployed last year or the year before? When I am 45 years of age and if I happen to be out of a job will I have a chance of getting one? Will there be a structure in place in Ireland which will be kind, caring and considerate enough to be able to provide for people like the father, mother, husband or wife who happen to be in that category at that particular time?

Another matter I would like to raise, and one which has been the subject of criticism, is multinational corporate investment in this country. There is evidence to suggest a repatriation of profits in many cases. That is not good, it is undesirable, and is unhelpful. Why do we give incentives to people who think it better to invest outside? Mind you, some of our national companies are not unknown to go outside the country to make their investments which again is not desirable or helpful to our economy. There must be something wrong either with the taxation system on the cost, in terms of overheads, of running industry if big investors are anxious to invest outside the country given that there are certain incentives available to attract them in the first place. If they find it necessary to set up offshore companies outside the country and to siphon their profits out of the country afterwards it is an indictment of the confidence they have in the system here. There is a particular onus on the Government to introduce changes in the system which would ensure that it is more profitable and more attractive for those people to keep their money inside the country. I know the very knowledgeable and learned arguments which will be trotted out but those excuses are unacceptable.

The time has long since passed when we should make excuses. We need evidence as to how we can attract those firms to make further investment in our economy. There would be a huge benefit to the State and the only ones to suffer losses would be people outside the country. I know that there are currency difficulties but we use them just as excuses. Many national companies are making a big effort to invest outside of the country and we need to change the system to encourage them to invest their money where we want them to.

There is nothing wrong with profit. If business does not profit it does not survive. Likewise business should pay its full share of taxes. We have many multinational corporations providing jobs here and we do not always give them the recognition or support they deserve. Our objective is to get employment and these companies deliver the jobs. Let us hope they remain. Where we fail is in encouraging them to expand sufficiently and to reinvest their money in our economy so that we can create more jobs.

In Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland, a huge effort is being made to attract foreign investment, and they are succeeding. Since the realignment in Eastern Europe started there has been a huge number of new investments in Hungary, Czechoslovakia and so on by multinational corporations. Some investment has taken place in EC countries close to the Eastern European border so that such companies will be in a position to launch into the new markets when the time is right. We have not achieved enough in that regard. We have allowed opportunities to slip. Unless we become more incisive, more demanding and more competitive in attracting investment we will lose the battle and we will not serve our people in the best possible way.

It is ironic that we are talking about industrial development now. A few years ago a plan was launched to provide in the region of 6,500 extra jobs in the meat industry. Those jobs did not materialise. At the end of 1991 the industry is in a sorry state. In terms of national and international profile and in terms of the jobs that were supposed to be provided, we have failed. There were more closures and more people made redundant than jobs produced in that sector. It is a sad reflection on what in 1987 and 1988 we were led to believe would happen. This sector needs to be looked at. It is amazing that in a country where agriculture is so important and at a time when jobs are at a premium we are closing down research and development stations. When jobs are needed research and development is being put on the back burner, yet in every worthwhile industry in Europe research and development is at the top of the agenda. Without research and development a company does not rate well for very long.

Last night on another Bill we asked the Minister whether any liabilities were involved and we got no reply. We did not get any information as to whether liabilities were being transferred with the sale of one company to another. It transpires that there is a possibility of very considerable liability. The purpose of this Bill is to transfer the assets and liabilities of NADCORP to the IDA. I wonder if any liabilities or commitments made by any subsidiaries of NADCORP will arise at some stage in the future. Were letters of comfort given on behalf of any of those subsidiaries by NADCORP which might have a cost implication in the future? who will pick up the tab? Do NADCORP's liabilities transfer to the IDA? Will the IDA accept full responsibility for such commitments, letters of comfort or sweetheart deals? Will the IDA accept commitments, entered into by NADCORP, any subsidiary of NADCORP or any commitment to employees, or anything that was implied which would be of benefit or otherwise to those employees?

We do not want to hear about something which might develop at a later stage and we do not want to have to ask what might be embarrassing questions of the Minister. We do not want to have continuous hassle in this House with Opposition Members having to wring information from Ministers, and Ministers screaming blue murder because they feel we are out to get them. We are entitled to seek the information. To protect Ministers from the possibility of something going wrong everything should be above board. Everything should be disclosed here and we should not have the cat and mouse game for which this House has become famous in recent times.

I note there is a proposal to make grants available for smaller industries, some of which may be service industries. That is dangerous. I know it has been said that there should be grants for service industries and that is good up to a point.

There comes a stage when if you grant-aid one service industry you have to counter grant-aid another and it becomes a vicious circle. The best grant to industry in this country would be a tax incentive to encourage companies, from multinational corporations to small firms employing two or three people. Such tax incentives would help to cover overheads and could be proportionate to the total number of people employed. It is a simple expedient that would cost the firm nothing and save the Exchequer a considerable amount of money in social welfare. I will not go into it further because there are other people here who wish to speak and there will be another time to go into that in more detail.

Before I sit down let me say that I am in favour of encouraging small industries. I think everybody in the House is. But many make the mistake of going overboard in thinking that the small industry will be the saviour of our economy and solve our unemployment problems. That is not so. To do that we need big investment, multinational corporate investment of the kind that is capable of taking 50,000 or 60,000 people off the unemployment register. We cannot indefinitely sustain the number of people who are unemployed now. We must face that fact. There are many in this House who would disagree with my views on that but I am prepared to state categorically that unless we get that kind of investment we will not be able to provide the numbers of jobs needed in the short time necessary.

With that I will conclude. No doubt we will have an opportunity to discuss it further on Committee Stage, short though the Committee Stage will be.

The purpose of the Bill is to amalgamate the National Development Corporation with the IDA and to make amendments to the Industrial Development Act. It is equally important that the financial limits under which the IDA operate be increased as proposed in the Bill.

The IDA have a very good record in the industrialisation of the country but many changes are needed. Ten or 12 years ago we in this House were demanding advance factories in cluster units which, when provided, were never used because they were not suitable for particular industries which found they were better going into a green field development. Some of the cluster units, consisting of 3,000 square foot factories, had to be reconstructed into one factory which probably cost more than the building originally.

The IDA have weathered many changes. They have changed now from capital grants to employment grants and are involved in research and development and marketing. This is something we welcome because it is necessary in order to keep abreast of changes. During those years a substantial amount of money was provided for food processing and slaughtering grants particularly in my own region. At that time they were leaders in the field of technology. Activity in these areas has diminished. Because of EC regulations coming into force in 1992 many of these plants will have to pay millions of pounds for restructuring to adapt to the changing needs and demands and meet the restrictions being put on them.

The broiler industry is a substantial employer in my region where we process 70 per cent of the national kill. They now cannot compete on the export market and are dependent on a very substantial home market where white meat is becoming very popular. To meet the regulations they require massive funding which many have not got. Their only alternative is to go out of business and then there would be a flood of imports.

Import substitution is as important as exportation. Under the regulations the IDA cannot provide grants because there companies are supplying the home market and do not have sufficient exports. If they were to give even 5 per cent of the costs of that development the company would qualify for an EC FEOGA grant which under normal circumstances would be 35 per cent and 45 per cent in severely handicapped areas.

I have appealed to the Minister on many occasions to do as is done in Britain, to facilitate these companies by giving them some grant to allow them to avail of FEOGA aid. In the last couple of months we have heard that hundreds of millions of pounds of EC grant aid has not been taken up. Where there is the opportunity the greatest possible use should be made of these grants. All it would take in this instance is a small change of policy.

The most important thing here at the moment is job creation. Are we making the best possible use of the resources at our disposal? I have doubts about that. When I came into this House about 20 years ago there were two tanneries in my area employing between 150 and 200 people. At that time most of the hides would have been processed here. Because of export subsidies they started moving them out and they were processed elsewhere. Now 80 per cent of hides are exported. We should move back to using that very useful raw material which we have in abundance. At the time I referred to, hides were not of good quality because of warble fly infestation, etc. Now the hides are of superior quality and are being exported.

Let me give another example. In 1990 a gas distributor set up here and imported £3 million worth of gas cylinders, about 15,000 or 16,000 gas cylinders. I checked with people in the manufacturing and the engineering area who said it would be quite simple to design a prototype gas cylinder and manufacture them here. Yet these cylinders were being imported at a time when many industries were working on short time. The total value of gas cylinder imports came to £3 million. With this amount of money we could keep up to 100 people in employment for up to 12 months. When I raised this matter with the Minister he informed me that the number of gas cylinders imported in 1990 was exceptional due to the fact that this new distribution company has been set up and it was doubtful whether normal domestic demand alone would be adequate to justify the large capital investment to produce gas cylinders for the Irish market in competition with existing European producers. However, the manufacturers I spoke to informed me that, if they were given advance notice that such a product would be put on the market, they would avail of the opportunity to use it. The IDA should closely monitor developments and make people aware of the products that are about to be put on the market.

The point I made in relation to the poultry industry and FEOGA aid should be examined with all due haste. I have drawn the attention of the IDA, the Department and the Confederation of Irish Industry to the fact that practically every shed used in the poultry industry has to be imported. I put it to them, at a time when they are whingeing and whining about the downturn in the building and construction industry, that they should make sure that as many items as possible are manufactured here. I accept that we are operating in a free market but we should utilise our resources to the maximum.

In conclusion, I should say that the IDA have changed and are doing good work. We could probably egg them on by criticising them to ensure that they take note of any developments which they can see on the horizon, no matter how distant, in an effort to ensure that the jobs which are urgently needed are created.

I would like to make a brief contribution to the debate. I welcomed the National Development Corporation Bill when it was introduced in the House in 1986 because I believed there was a necessity for the State to provide equity for companies. That Bill presented us with an opportunity to invest in the west and I illustrated some examples of projects which could have been proceeded with in my constituency.

Unfortunately, since then the National Development Corporation have been allowed to languish. While they have made some investments I do not think they have met the need to provide serious funds for joint ventures or stand alone projects in the west. Their demise however reflects the lack of thinking in the Department of Industry and Commerce. I do not believe the Minister will ever see major development in the natural regions.

One of the reasons the bishops and others who attended the western conference were so alarmed about the position in relation to job creation was that they could not see where the finance for projects was going to come from. For instance, there is a clear need to enhance tourist attractions in the west. One of the ideas promoted by hoteliers in the west around 1986 was the provision of international conference centres, covering both the tourism and business aspects, for which funding should be provided. I said at that time that infrastructure in the tourism sector had been partially developed in Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Clare and Kerry. Insufficient accommodation however is available in those areas to meet the demand that would be created if such a development were to take place. The mandate of the National Development Corporation therefore should have been expanded to allow them invest in these areas, but the Government refused to do so and no such development has taken place.

We have witnessed the abandonment of the west. It is ironic that the Deputies who welcomed the proposed expansion of the remit of the IDA and SFADCo were from the west. They obviously see our salvation in both those bodies, but I think they are wrong. People in the west have no confidence because they do not have the venture capital required. If the Minister sets up a regional body will the necessary capital be provided? If some of our neighbours, such as Germany or other developed countries who are interested in the principle of cohesion, present us with proposals, where would the venture capital come from, given that we have dampened down the business expansion scheme and are now exterminating NADCORP? This is a sad day.

I criticise the decision to allow the IDA and SFADCo to provide equity because I do not believe they have the necessary ability to control it. I have not been impressed by some of the investments they have made, particularly in my constituency. The Minister, Deputy O'Malley, knows exactly what I am talking about. I do not know if this has been mentioned already but Shannon Development, in a joint venture with European investors, have sought to develop a modern marina at Kilrush, called the Kilrush Creek Marina. This is a very laudable project but it has been stalled because of a lack of funds. It is clear that Shannon Development do not have the ability to manage the equity invested. There are rumours of sweetheart deals and that the private sector are being invited in, but this will serve to lessen the confidence of local people. Indeed, it is an insult to those who have invested in the business expansion scheme.

The National Development Corporation would have been in a position to advise those who wish to invest equity, to control it and promote the project concerned. In this Bill the Minister is wiping out an opportunity to expand the remit of the National Development Corporation by allowing them to enter joint ventures in the industrial, tourism and services sectors.

Since 1960, since the inception of the industrial estate at Shannon, the mid west has prospered and there has been solid employment. It was not until the introduction of schemes such as the urban renewal scheme that Limerick or Ennis experienced an upsurge in business confidence and undertook development. Allied with the business expansion scheme, people are investing in developments, but not at a rate that will create sufficient jobs to keep young people in these areas. If equity is wiped out we will be dependent on SFADCo or the IDA for development. While SFADCo have a definite role to play in the promotion of industry I am not sure that they are good managers of funds.

The Minister in his speech today seemed to imply that he sees an enhanced role for the IDA and SFADCo in this area. However, he should have outlined his proposals for the IDA and what their new role will be. If one looks around the country they can see the debacles that lie in their wake. As I have said locally, both the IDA and SFADCo are in such a rut that people have no confidence in them. With the new treaty, there is an opportunity to develop the regions. Corporations such as NADCORP should be allowed operate with equity. If we have to rely on the involvement of the IDA or SFADCo in all aspects of industrial development marketing, and so on we might as well nationalise the entire industry of the country. Given the ideology of Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats——

And Fine Gael.

——that is not likely to happen. This Bill will not work unless the Minister clearly illustrates his plans for the expansion of the role of SFADCo and the IDA in job creation. The Minister should have published the report of the committee before bringing this Bill before the House. I cannot understand how a man like Deputy O'Malley, who when he was on this side of the House protested so much about giving Ministers a blank cheque, can turn around and ask this House to give him a blank cheque for industrial promotion.

I have said nothing about the scale of unemployment, the number of young people in despair as a result of unemployment or those in third level institutions or universities whose future is very bleak. The Minister should have taken this opportunity to publish the industrial review and to give details of his proposals for the future. It is not acceptable to ask the House to give a blank cheque to abolish NADCORP and to increase the funds of SFADCo and the IDA and let them run higgledy piggledy around the country. They have run higgledy piggledy around my constituency. The IDA bought a site in a bog outside Ennis after refusing an offer from the local county manager and entrepreneur, who is now chairman of SFADCo, of reasonably developed land. That land has been laying fallow ever since. Thousands of pounds have been invested in it but it has never been developed. The position is the same all over the country, with factories lying idle in many areas.

How will the equity base be expanded in the IDA and what control will they have? Will SFADCo have any control? For example, did they exercise control in the marina project? For instance, did they have any say in the marketing and entertainment bills that mounted up for this marina? The people of Kilrush wanted something new and they got it in the marina? That marina has been developed but there is not sufficient investment for further development. Maybe with the passage of this Bill SFADCo will intervene or maybe some sweetheart deal will be done. That would not be unknown to happen in this area. I am sure my colleague, Deputy Michael Finucane, will remember the Rent an Irish Cottage scheme in this area. It was only when there was a public outcry about the sale of shares by SFADCo in Rent an Irish Cottage and they were forced to sell that action was taken. Allegations swept the mid-west about sweetheart deals and one still hears of them. Is that the way we want our affairs run by so-called independent companies such as the IDA or SFADCo?

I would ask the Minister, in any future Bills on this matter, to publish beforehand his proposals for industrial development and reform of the IDA and SFADCo. I hope that he takes note of the way companies in the EC operate. For instance, the Leader programme has been made available and note should be taken of it. The promotion work carried out by voluntary bodies and local authorities should be recognised. I hope that we will not witness a ruination of our countryside and the loss of more young people. I am very disappointed that the Minister, Deputy O'Malley, introduced this Bill without examining the proposal more thoroughly.

I will be as brief as possible because I understand that Deputy Garland wants to contribute also. This Bill is urgently needed in view of the capitalisation with regard to the Industrial Development Authority and SFADCo. I agree with Deputy Carey in that it is time for a re-examination of the future role of industrial development. Considering the action taken by the IDA with regard to industrial development in recent years— there is need for a lot more development — there is a desire to review their future role. Deputies from all sides of this House are blamed for the lack of industrial development in our areas but industrial development cannot take place if the climate and the incentives do not exist which would allow companies compete on an even footing for capital investment.

We should ask the IDA to examine what they see as the future target markets. They have targeted reasonably successfully the high tech market over the past number of years but this is becoming extremely competitive and they will find they will not be able to compete with their Japanese counterparts especially in the opening up of the worldwide trade. It is important that we look at the future role of the IDA in the context of its future role worldwide. We can no longer look at industrial development in the context of Europe but will have to look at it in the context of the world market. We will have to find areas in which we can surpass all others in terms of turning out a superior product at a competitive price.

The IDA will have to look for sectors on which to concentrate their efforts. They will have to examine the possibilities of our prime industries, namely agriculture and fishing. At present in many cases we sell a primary product which then goes on for further processing in other countries. We have recently completed a review of the Common Agricultural Policy and it is obvious that Irish agriculture needs to reach out for further processing opportunities. There are markets available to us which are not being pursued. At present intervention is seen as the gravy train for beef and butter producers. There are opportunities in the marketplace to provide products that the consumer wants, but we are not meeting that challenge.

The need to review the IDA is paramount. The Minister quite rightly says in his speech that he is reviewing the situation and waiting for the report of the review body, but I hope that as soon as the report of the review body becomes available it will be brought before the Members of this House and we will be given the opportunity to debate it prior to any legislation being put in place to implement its recommendations.

We have to examine how the peripheral areas have fared in recent times. I come from an area which has suffered to the greatest extent from unemployment and emigration over the past 20 years. The IDA offer grants but people who are willing to invest in industry find them insufficient to entice them to locate in peripheral areas such as Leitrim or Sligo. Last year's IDA report bears this out. The total IDA expenditure on job incentives in County Leitrim for the year 1990 was £622,000. That level of investment is not acceptable to the people of County Leitrim. People wonder why the young people are leaving County Leitrim; they are leaving because there are no jobs. We have a highly educated young population, as we have the highest ratio of students going on to third level education in the country. But we are preparing our graduates to take their place elsewhere in the world and not at home, where many of them would love to be. They have to go to Dublin or the big cities in Europe or America. It is important that we reap the benefits of our investment in education and we need to create jobs that will use the talents of our people. The talent is readily available. The IDA should concentrate on industries being sourced in the north west which would take on the graduates from the regional colleges in Sligo, Letterkenny and Athlone. The regional technical colleges are turning out superior students who are able to command the best jobs. They have had the benefit of our fine educational system but we are losing their wealth of talent because they have to emigrate.

We should look at the question of import substitution in the light of the present economic climate. The colliery at Arigna, which is in my constituency, has been closed for the past 12 months. The IDA then offered incentives for people to set up businesses in that area. To date few jobs have resulted from those incentives. I think it is time the Department of Energy examined the possibility of using the major reserves of coal by continuing to maintain the power station until such time as this natural resource is exhausted. I know that this may not come within the ambit of the Minister for Industry and Commerce but it offers the opportunity to consolidate employment opportunities in that area.

We have not highlighted the benefits of a clean environment and the superior products we are producing. We should do that. We should consider marketing this country as an industrial base and draw attention to the fact that our environment is superior to that of our European competitors.

At present the IDA will offer employment grants and not capital grants to small industries. We should have this examined. If somebody is willing to invest his own money he is entitled at least to get some type of capital aid towards job creation. In many situations people are only offered employment grants. A marriage of both grants would create jobs in the west, but one alone does nothing to ease our problems. Very shortly industrial development will be concentrated in a few large centres and the peripheral areas will be cast aside and will be left for forestation. Large tracts of land will be taken out of production and the inhabitants of rural Ireland will move to the larger towns. If that should happen it is a recipe for disaster both socially and economically. We should fight against this happening at every opportunity.

This is enabling legislation which provides for the dissolution of NADCORP and increases the money available to the IDA and SFADCo. I was in the Opposition when NADCORP was set up and I thought it had a good future. But it has proved to me that if people do not invest their own money the venture will not be as successful as if they were investing their own money in it. We need a more liberal system of grant aid. If we are to have development in the west we need to talk in terms of grant aid of up to 80 per cent. It is much more attractive for an investor to receive grants at the rate of 25 or 30 per cent and locate within ten or 15 miles of Dublin than to receive 80 per cent grant to locate in the west. The problems associated with a peripheral location include loss of time and the extra cost of transporting goods to and from the industry. If we are going to level the pitch for industrial development we will have to ensure that industries are given at least 80 per cent grant aid towards job creation. Anyone who says it can be made attractive with anything less than that level of grant is living in cloud cuckoo-land.

I promised at the outset that I would not take up too much time as I know that Deputy Garland wishes to speak for a few minutes. However, it is important that the House be given an opportunity to debate the review as soon as it is available. Members should be given an opportunity to make sure that the pitch will be level for future industrial development and that the peripheral regions receive a fair and equitable share of what is available in the area of job creation.

I thank Deputy Ellis for allowing me time to make a short contribution and I commend him on some of what he has had to say. The Deputy referred to import substitution, which is extremely important. Import substitution is as economically beneficial as are exports.

It is apparent from listening to Deputy Ellis and Deputies on the other side of the House also that there is a good deal of disquiet about the blank cheque that is being given to the IDA. There is an immense amount of money involved, and the Government are demonstrating a great deal of trust in an organisation that clearly have not functioned in the way they were intended to function.

On behalf of the Green Party, Comhaontas Glas, I oppose the Bill but I agree with those sections of it providing for the dissolution of the ill-fated National Development Corporation. I am opposed to the main thrust of the Bill, which deals with the provision of further money to the IDA.

The National Development Corporation were clearly doomed to failure from the start. Set up in 1986 by the Fine Gael/Labour Coalition Government it was a cynical exercise in supposed job creation. The corporation did not work and could never have worked.

The merging of what is left of the National Development Corporation with the IDA is not being given a mark of approval, so far as the Green Party are concerned, for the activities of the IDA. The position is quite to the contrary. In fact, one could list in great detail the many failures of the IDA. For me, probably their greatest failure concerned a campaign in which I was involved shortly after I was elected to the Dáil, that was the very successful campaign to keep Merrill Dow — the multinational chemical company — out of this country. How much is known in the House about the negotiating ability of the IDA? They have their hand out for another £30 million or £40 million — in fact, they do not even have to ask for it, they are going to be given the money and asked to account for it afterwards.

How much confidence can one have in the negotiating ability of the IDA when one considers what happened with Merrill Dow? That chemical company on coming into Ireland were offered an excellent site in Ringaskiddy, a chemical industrial estate. They were offered all of the usual training grants, tax breaks and so on but they were not satisfied. They had to have a green field site. Somehow or other, Merrill Dow managed to persuade the IDA that they would not move into Ringaskiddy. I am sure the company would have gone to Ringaskiddy if the IDA had called their bluff but, of course, the IDA did not do that. Instead, the company were offered a green field site, in addition to all of the other advantages such as tax breaks they had been offered. The IDA went completely overboard in offering Merrill Dow a green field site. Fortunately, due to the vigilance of the local people, that industry was kept out of Killeagh in east Cork. That is just an instance that the House knows about. What about all of the other plants that have probably received excessive grants? The whole issue is an absolute scandal and needs to be publicly investigated.

When one examines the record of the IDA one has to admit that jobs were created. However, they have been bought at an extremely high price to the taxpayer. In the past year alone the IDA received subvention of £137 million from the Exchequer. There has to be a question mark over the permanence and stability of much of the IDA investment. According to information I have from the Minister, in the past ten years no fewer than 167 overseas companies closed, with a loss of 4,800 jobs.

In addition to the poor value for money given by IDA grants, even more important is the tremendous and continuing environmental damage caused to this country by the attraction of "dirty" industries in the pursuance of the "job at any cost" policy of successive Governments. Due to the crazy industrial policy of all Governments for many years past, industrial employment not only has not increased but has reduced. The wholesale closure of much of our indigenous industry has resulted in tremendous job losses and has cost us more jobs than have been created by the IDA.

The complete bankruptcy of Ireland's industrial policy was recognised at long last by the former Minister for Finance, Mr. Albert Reynolds, when he said recently that the reason for our high unemployment was our over-reliance on international investment to create jobs. He advocated the creation of native based industry which, he said, while slower and not as glamorous as announcing an American firm coming in with 1,000 jobs, was still the only way in the end. Tacit recognition of that view appears in the Minister's speech today. To that extent, the Minister must be commended, though his is a very late conversion.

I suppose the IDA will have to continue in some form or other for some time, though their subsidy from the Exchequer should be reduced considerably. However, the thrust of the IDA must be towards more labour intensive industry using native raw materials and being natively owned. It is very important that as much of our industry as possible is owned by people here. One has only to have regard to the balance of payments every year to realise just how huge is the amount of money — thousands of millions of pounds — lost to this country because of the repatriation of profits made by multinational companies. That is money that would otherwise probably be re-invested in our economy to create further jobs. This denotes a tremendous defect in our whole policy.

Another point raised by Deputy Ellis, and one on which I would agree, is that there should be a very heavily built-in bias towards siting industry in the counties of the western seaboard, for example. Much industry has been set up in Dublin, again due to the poor negotiating ability of the IDA who allowed industry to come into Dublin to the extent that Dublin has grown much too large and unmanageable. We do not want more people here in Dublin, we want people to stay in the regions and be employed there. That is where they want to be and that is where we want them to be. Regional employment is a good deal all around for everyone. It makes much more sense to keep people in the regions, which have a good stock of existing houses, serviced sites, etc. than to bring them to Dublin and put a burden on the taxpayer and the ratepayers of Dublin to provide more serviced sites and houses, when there is adequate housing in country areas. We must bring the jobs to the people, not the people to the jobs. That is not an ideological point, it is a very practical point and it is a concept that should be taken on board.

Considering the amount of money spent on the IDA and the present unemployment figure of 260,000 we must accept that with the best will in the world there is no way the IDA, SFADCo, FáS or any other Government agency can absorb more than a fraction of those people. Indeed it is a result of the crazy industrial policies advocated by successive Governments.

The way forward is a very different one. We need to restructure our economy, providing paid work for all who require it, which can be achieved by reduced working hours, career breaks, job sharing and early retirement. Such a scheme would be greatly facilitated by the introduction of a guaranteed, basic income for all citizens.

It is ironic that the National Development Corporation is being abolished, particularly when there is much publicity surrounding our massive unemployment problem. Having been established in 1986 NADCORP have had a very short period within which to prosper. It is significant also that they could have created up to 2,000 jobs. The most essential element of their role vis-à-vis industrialists was that NADCORP could invest capital in companies when other commercial institutions rejected investment by such industrialists. Therefore, it was essential that there be a body such as NADCORP. If anything, perhaps there was not sufficient publicity given to their role particularly in the way in which they could help out industries. We are all aware that if banks and other institutions regard an industrial project as doubtful they will be reluctant to invest money in it. It is significant that the IDA and SFADCo — who it would appear will embrace some of the present role of NADCORP — are experiencing great difficulty in attracting industry here. I am pleased to see the Minister present. He will be as familiar with the mid-west region, where there may well be a very confused position as regards industry. I heard many speakers today extol the virtues of SFADCo, but they may not be as familiar with the confusing scene there as we are in the area. Employers may well be somewhat confused now about the role of SFADCo, in that the IDA are involved in industries in the area almost by remote control, with their executive arm based in Dublin and no regional office for the mid-west region. We have also experienced difficulty in attracting industry, although the Minister represents the area. However, I would hope that industrious bodies would continue to attract such industry.

I heard Deputy Carey mention earlier the Kilrush marina project which has gained much publicity. I have been down to see it, a laudable project, undertaken by SFADCo although I am not so sure about its marketing potential. I trust their hopes will be fulfilled and that they will attract the overseas boats anticipated when the project was being built. Of course, the estuary where it is located has tremendous potential; and Foynes will supplement it with a very successful satellite marina and hopefully Glin who are also seeking a marina. I hope those projects will be given the requisite funding to ensure their success.

One criticism of the IDA I have often heard voiced is that most industrialists will be attracted to locate in any small town not only by the package of grants available, but also by the prospect of being able to live in harmony with the local community. Very often the itineraries arranged for foreign industrialists to come here and visit many locations act as a disincentive in that the speed with which they travel throughout the country does not permit them to meet the local people who count, for example, chambers of commerce representatives, local bank managers and so on. Two projects successfully initiated in Newcastlewest by overseas industrialists was due to the fact that they took a concerted decision to meet the local community, and were impressed by their enthusiasm and commitment, so that they now feel part of that community. Therefore, in arranging such itineraries one would be better to concentrate on quality rather than quantity in proposing locations. Question marks can be raised about such exercises.

The Shannon estuary has attracted much welcome overseas industry, principally due to the dynamic harbour board located at Foynes. Of course, they are attracted there because of the tremendous advantage of the River Shannon. Indeed the Shannon estuary often has been described as the jewel of the western world. Probably there has not been sufficient heavy industry attracted there. I very much welcome the recent SFADCo role in marketing, particularly in relation to the promotion of the estuary, tapping top companies likely to site mobile overseas industrial projects there. It would be my hope to attract such industry to the estuary, thereby providing much needed jobs. We believe there may be an imminent announcement of the location of a chemical plant in the estuary outside Askeaton. Let us hope it will come to fruition. Industry must be important with our current 260,000 people unemployed. I saw school children in the Visitors Gallery this afternoon. Seeing these students streaming out of schools one often asks oneself where they will get jobs. In that respect we cannot rely totally on industrial promotion agencies like the Industrial Credit Corporation and the IDA. The biggest recent growth has taken place in the tourism sector. Another welcome development has been the expansion of the agritourism sector, much needed in view of farmers' declining incomes. It is understandable that the £5 million allocated was rapidly taken up, and there is now a waiting list. I hope Ministers will be successful in getting another commitment from Brussels for its further expansion, thus supplementing farmers' incomes.

Deputy Carey referred earlier to the many large hotels we have in the mid-west region attracting overseas visitors. Perhaps one of the reasons for their success has been that they have laid on many leisure activities such as golf and so on. A few have been grant-assisted accompanied by a certain amount of publicity. It is my belief that, even if such leisure facilities had not been provided, such hotels would still be there because the amount of money involved is small. Indeed it may well create a certain amount of envy on the part of many smaller hoteliers endeavouring to maintain family businesses, wanting to expand their operations but who feel they are not being helped by Bord Fáilte or anybody else. If we are serious about our commitment to tourism, then we must also be serious about upgrading many of our hotels. Rather than spending money on leisure facilities for larger hotels there should be some encouragement given to smaller hoteliers.

There has been much recent incentive to people to engage in forestry, as a great deal of our land is not suitable for agricultural purposes. It is my understanding that Coillte Teo had made a considerable advance in attracting a large pulp industry here to utilise our forestry produce. I hope we will eventually get that industry. While encouraging people to invest in forestry we must also find an outlet for the wood produced. Undoubtedly there are many areas to be tapped outside of tourism, forestry and so on in the creation of long term jobs.

I am concerned about the appointment of a provisional liquidator to a company in West Limerick, Kantogher Poultry Products. The liquidator is to run the company over the Christmas season. I hope he succeeds in finding a buyer so that the enterprise can remain in the area and retain its 130 employees. It provides a vital lifetime for the community and it would be a body blow if anything untoward happened to the company.

The National Development Corporation never seriously got a chance to get off the ground, yet they provided a very useful service for companies which found it difficult to get support from the banks. It is regrettable that they are to be absorbed into the IDA rather than expanded. They certainly did not receive the publicity they deserved.

(Wexford): I will shed no tears over the abolition of the National Development Corporation. I have long held the view that there has been a multiplicity of agencies trying to promote industrial development — FáS, SFADCo, NADCORP, the IDA and even Bord Fáilte. There are also a number of agencies in the food industry. The duplication of services provided by these agencies will not create one extra job. I welcome the decision to restructure State agencies which are involved in industrial promotion. This is the only way forward. In the past we have had too many executives, too many plush offices and too many people running around the country without any brief to justify their existance. I am glad the Minister for Industry and Commerce has decided to deal with this matter and to get down to the creation of long term, sustainable jobs. The review of industrial development policy to which the Minister referred is long overdue. I hope the report will be available in the near future and that we will have an opportunity to debate it, so that we can make suggestions on the appropriate action.

The IDA are at a crossroads in their development. People in my part of the country feel we are not getting a fair deal from them in regard to job creation structures. There is a perception, which to some extent I share, that the major cities are getting Rolls Royce treatment from the IDA while the rest of the country is being neglected. I come from a country which many people seem to think is very healthy and without any problems. It has been proved, however, that we have the highest unemployment rate in the country in respect of both adults and youths. Despite repeated requests to the IDA over many years, we are not getting the support and the backup services we deserve.

During the fifties and sixties, jobs in the country were in traditional industries. We had a number of bacon factories, Clover Meats, Buttles, Denny's. There was also flour milling and a number of other agriculture-related industries. Unfortunately they did not change with the times and they all closed down. We did not see any fire brigade action from the IDA or any high powered ministerial cars rushing to the county to deal with our problems. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy O'Malley, came to Enniscorthy and set in motion the building of an advance factory which was completed some months ago. We appreciate that, but we have not got from the IDA the services we deserve. We have the port of Rosslare and vast amounts of money have been spent by Wexford County Council on infrastructural development, roads, sewerage schemes and so on. The Minister should ensure that in future the IDA see themselves as having a duty to support the whole country and do not simply pin their colours to the mast in the major cities.

There are 320 million people in the European market. Surely we can create jobs in the food industry and related industries. A number of speakers have said that we should not have a begging bowl mentality, but we must put our problems into focus. We have over twice the average European unemployment rate. I believed when we joined the EC that countries on the periphery would be helped. I have no hang up about the Minister for Industry and Commerce getting special concessions in regard to job creation. The unemployed will welcome whatever support we can get from the EC. We need direct and immediate support and our Ministers must exert pressure within the Community to ensure that we get it.

The IDA should become involved in direct job support. At present a small company starting up must be committed to exports before they can get money from the IDA. This policy must be reviewed. I should like to see a grant per job created in any field, not necessarily related to exports. Tourism and forestry are areas of great potential which need to be developed further.

I sought permission to raise on the Adjournment the proposed closure by Teagasc of the soft fruit centre at Clonroche in County Wexford, but I was told that it was not a matter for the Government. In my opinion it is a matter for the Government. This is the only soft fruit research station in the country and it is situated in the area which is the heart of the soft fruit industry. There is tremendous scope for job creation in this field. The closure of this research station would be very sad. Joe Rea, Dr. Pearse Ryan, an eminent County Wexford man, and the other board members of Teagasc need to look again at this issue.

I welcome the proposal to transfer the activities of NADCORP to the IDA. The Minister should continue along this road in seeking to eliminate much of the bureaucracy and red tape which exists at present. He should bring all these agencies in this area together so that they can work towards the creation of long term sustainable jobs for our young people. As Deputy Finucane said, we wonder what the future holds for the thousands of young people now at school. It is up to all of us to put forward proposals on how we can solve our unemployment problem and create jobs for our young people in the future. I believe the Minister is going in the right direction in this respect. I hope he will bring the review of industrial policy before this House so that we will have a further opportunity of putting forward proposals on the creation of jobs for the future.

I thank the Chair for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the debate. I understand other Deputies wish to contribute and the Minister may wish to reply.

One of the reasons I wanted to contribute to this debate is that the Labour Party were responsible for putting forward the concept of a national development corporation when they were in Government. We had difficulty in convincing our partners in Government, Fine Gael, that there was a need for such a body. There were some differences between the parties on the functions of the agency. Having listened to Deputy Browne, I realise that many people did not fully understand what NADCORP were about and what role they played. Unlike FáS and the IDA, they were not set up to attract enterprises into the country. They were the vehicle by which the State could make capital available for joint venture projects between the State and the private sector, a concept to which all parties in the House subscribe. They were set up to assist people in the private sector who, because of the prohibitions which existed, found it difficult to get their industries off the ground. The Labour Party decided there was a need for a national development corporation who could provide assistance to such people. The decision to abolish NADCORP and swallow them up in the IDA is contrary to what the Labour Party fought and argued for and managed to achieve when they were in Government.

One of the problems with NADCORP is that they were never properly funded by the Government. Sufficient capital funding was not made available to allow them to be adventurous in supporting industry. A case was made to NADCORP for assistance to be given to the redundant workers who set up a tannery in Carrick-on-Suir. However, because of a lack of funding by the State this worthwhile scheme, like many other schemes, which would have given employment, failed to get off the ground. This was not the fault of the corporation. It was probably due to the lack of funding given to the corporation.

I accept that the IDA have a specific role. I do not want to get involved in a debate on how effective they are or how well SFADCo are perceived to be doing. Those agencies are confined to grant-aiding companies involved in the manufacturing and exporting areas. However, grant assistance could be given by them to the many projects in the tourist industry which give employment. I ask the Minister in the review of the role of the IDA to see to it that grant assistance is given to people who create employment. At a time when there are over 250,000 people on the live register it is essential that all State agencies play their part in trying to create jobs and give assistance to people in the private sector who provide jobs. Even though we have responded to their requests for a proper environment and a proper tax regime, the private sector have not managed to create the number of jobs we expected them to create. Up to now the private sector have been very slow to create jobs in areas where there has been no gilt edged guarantee of profits. I accept that there are difficulties in the private sector. For example, every other day in my constituency service industries are being closed down and workers are being made redundant. This is especially sad at Christmas time.

The Labour Party are opposed to the abolition of NADCORP or its absorption into another agency where the concept of State involvement in joint venture projects with the private sector could be lost. What could be more perfect in a mixed economy like ours than that concept? It is a pity the Government have moved away from that concept. We fought hard in Government for the establishment of NADCORP and we regard the decision to now kill them off as tragic. The Labour Party want to register their protest against this decision. I promised to be very brief in order go give other Members a chance to contribute. However, my brevity should not be interpreted as a lack of feeling about what will happen to this corporation for which the Labour Party fought long and hard.

Previous Fine Gael speakers have outlined their opposition to the Bill. NADCORP were set up to provide State and private sector investment in joint venture projects. Even though the principle was good, they were only mildly successful. My greatest fear is that this Bill will give the IDA a blank cheque in so far as joint venture projects are concerned.

Over the past number of years the IDA have not been as successful as they should have been in the creation of jobs. Unfortunately, the unemployment and emigration figures are still rising. The structures of the IDA need to be changed so that they can concentrate more on the creation of employment. Multinational companies are given large grants to set up here, but unfortunately when the tax incentives are no longer attractive they disappear. They leave behind them a workforce who cannot get any other employment. Irish entrepreneurs and native industries should be given incentives to create employment. For example, employment could be created in the area of import substitution.

A number of Irish entrepreneurs and industrialists are striving to maintain employment. However, they are finding it difficult to do this because they are not receiving the grant aid they deserve from the IDA. They are willing to remain in Ireland because their families are here and they have been born and reared here and have a loyalty to this country. That is something we have misjudged during the past number of years where we have tried to give multinationals more incentives to set up here. There are some multinational companies in Ireland who have been and will continue to be loyal. At this stage the incentive must be given to the native employer and the native industrialist.

In my constituency of Sligo-Leitrim we have the Arigna Collieries, which was a native industry promoting the sale and mining of coal for delivery to a power station. Over the past 12 or 18 months the power station is being run down, but there is still an enormous quantity of coal available to be mined. The people who are willing to do this work should be given the incentive to sustain jobs. Some 250 industrial jobs were lost in a small area. During the past 18 months various types of incentives have been given by FáS and the IDA but no jobs have been created. If the IDA were to look favourably on the type of work that could be done in that area a number of necessary jobs could be created in the Arigna catchment area.

Deputy Garland made a very valid point in his contribution in regard to the situation that exists at present where people are brought to jobs in large industrialised urban areas rather than jobs being brought to the people in rural Ireland. If we look at the census of population figures we will see that the number of people who have left rural Ireland is incredible. The Minister will have to look at the situation within the IDA and give extra grant incentives to industrialists who are willing to set up businesses in the west. If two people are given the same amount of grant, one to set up in Dublin and the other to set up in Leitrim, unfortunately they will both choose Dublin because of its proximity to ports etc., so the person who wishes to move to the west would have to be given an extra incentive.

The final point I wish to make relates to afforestation, which has been growing at the expense of people. There is much potential in afforestation in the industrial sense. We could have a woodpulp plant; which has been referred to in this House on a number of occasions by Deputies from all sides, in which the IDA could play a major role. They have been in discussion with a number of Swedish and Finnish companies in an effort to establish a woodpulp industry here under a joint venture programme, but unfortunately they have not been successful. They will have to be more aggressive to ensure that a woodpulp industry is established, particularly in the northwest. In the light of the difficulties in my constituency of Sligo-Leitrim I would like to see that industry established in the Arigna catchment areas as promised. We have the necessary raw materials for this industry and many jobs would be created. At present people from the North are taking out the wood and having it pulped in Northern Ireland. If proper grant aid was provided we could have that industry in the Republic.

Some people may welcome this Bill because increased funding is being provided for both the IDA and SFADCo. The first matter that ought to be addressed is the performance of both agencies. That should be greater accountability to this House in relation to how the finances have been provided, where they have been allocated, the type of grant aid provided and the approach adopted by both agencies in relation to tackling the unemployment problem and the emigration problem which are continuing to create major problems for the future of industry in this country. It would be better had the Minister addressed those issues from that point of view rather than bring this Bill before us.

While some people suggest that NADCORP has underperformed, I think it can be said that since 1987 they have not received the same level of support from the Government and no effort was made to promote the development work of NADCORP. Had a more vigorous approach been adopted by the Department of Industry and Commerce in promoting NADCORP from 1987 onwards there would be more people employed in Ireland, there would be more joint ventures between State and private agencies, but unfortunately, that has taken place only to a limited extent.

The IDA, and SFADCo in particular, are fine agencies in their own right, but how seriously have they tackled the unemployment problem in the peripheral regions? How have SFADCo performed in relation to providing employment in the region for which they have responsibility, namely, Clare, Limerick, north Tipperary and north Kerry?. While the Minister proposes to increase their funding from £130 million to £150 million, we in that region would like to hear greater details as to what they have done with the finance and what they propose doing with it in the future. The public at large are disappointed at the lack of performance, particularly in County Clare, where jobs are not being provided. Is the Minister aware of the number of jobs that have been created in Kilrush, Kilkee, Ennistymon, Lahinch, Ennis, Killaloe and Scarriff? They claim it is easy to create jobs in an area which has industry and where a certain amount of expansion is taking place within existing companies. Both agencies have failed abysmally to create and develop employment in our indigenous industries and particularly in the food industry. SFADCo and the IDA took a decision three of four years ago to promote the food industry. What have they achieved? How many new jobs have they created in that sector? How successful have they been in that area?

This House is being asked to provide additional moneys because the existing limits will be spent before the end of December. Few people are happy with the performance of these organisations. Parents whose children are in New York or in Sydney this Christmas are not happy with the performance of these agencies and are very concerned about the future for the children who remain at home. They are not confident that those agencies will be able to put in place the type of jobs needed for the future. Had the Government given NADCORP greater teeth and encouragement we could have more jobs in the food industry, which is a natural resource and for which there is a market; but we have not managed to market our produce because these agencies have not taken the matter seriously.

Deputy Reynolds referred to the whole area of afforestation and the creation of a woodpulp factory in Leitrim. These are issues which appear to be too troublesome for the agencies to address and, unfortunately, many areas are left stranded without jobs. While this Bill may in one sense appear attractive, it is most unattractive to the general public because these agencies are not doing the job they were intended to do. They feel that these agencies are not doing the job they were intended to do. The IDA have traditionally been a grant aid organisation. NADCORP were set up for a very definite developmental joint venture purpose. I fail to see how the IDA whose performance to date leaves a lot to be desired are now to have that extra bit of commitment and extra ingenuity within themselves.

I am sorry to interrupt the Deputy, but the time has come to put the question. As it is now 7 o'clock I am required to put the following question in accordance with the Order of the Dáil of this day: "That the Bill is hereby read a Second Time, that sections 1 to 13, inclusive, and the Title are hereby agreed to in Committee and the Bill is accordingly reported to the House without amendment, and no amendments having been offered to the Bill on Report, that the Bill is hereby passed."

Question put.
That Dáil divided: Tá, 72; Níl, 58.

Ahern, Bertie.Ahern, Dermot.Ahern, Michael.Andrews, David.Barrett, Michael.Brady, Gerard.Brady, Vincent.Brennan, Mattie.Brennan, Séamus.Briscoe, Ben.Browne, John (Wexford).Burke, Raphael P.Calleary, Seán.Callely, Ivor.Clohessy, Peadar.Collins, Gerard.Connolly, Ger.Coughlan, Mary Theresa.Cullimore, Séamus.Daly, Brendan.Dempsey, Noel.Dennehy, John.de Valera, Síle.

Ellis, John.Fahey, Jackie.Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.Fitzpatrick, Dermot.Flood, Chris.Flynn, Pádraig.Gallagher, Pat the Cope.Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.Harney, Mary.Haughey, Charles J.Hillery, Brian.Hilliard, Colm.Jacob, Joe.Kelly, Laurence.Kenneally, Brendan.Kirk, Séamus.Kitt, Michael P.Kitt, Tom.Lawlor, Liam.Lenihan, Brian.Leonard, Jimmy.Leyden, Terry.Lyons, Denis.

Martin, Micheál.McDaid, Jim.McEllistrim, Tom.Morley, P.J.Noonan, Michael J.(Limerick West).O'Dea, Willie.O'Donoghue, John.O'Keeffe, Ned.O'Kennedy, Michael.O'Leary, John.O'Malley, Desmond J.O'Rourke, Mary.

O'Toole, Martin Joe.Power, Seán.Quill, Máirín.Reynolds, Albert.Roche, Dick.Smith, Michael.Stafford, John.Treacy, Noel.Tunney, Jim.Wallace, Dan.Wallace, Mary.Walsh, Joe.Wilson, John P.Wyse, Pearse.

Níl

Ahearn, Therese.Barnes, Monica.Barrett, Seán.Barry, Peter.Belton, Louis J.Boylan, Andrew.Bradford, Paul.Byrne, Eric.Carey, Donal.Connor, John.Cosgrave, Michael Joe.Cotter, Bill.Creed, Michael.Crowley, Frank.Currie, Austin.D'Arcy, Michael.Deasy, Austin.Deenihan, Jimmy.De Rossa, Proinsias.Doyle, Joe.Durkan, Bernard.Farrelly, John V.Fennell, Nuala.Ferris, Michael.Finucane, Michael.FitzGerald, Garret.Flanagan, Charles.Garland, Roger.Gilmore, Eamon.

Harte, Paddy.Higgins, Michael D.Hogan, Philip.Howlin, Brendan.Kavanagh, Liam.Lee, Pat.Lowry, Michael.McCartan, Pat.McGinley, Dinny.Mac Giolla, Tomás.McGrath, Paul.Mitchell, Gay.Mitchell, Jim.Nealon, Ted.Noonan, Michael.(Limerick East).O'Shea, Brian.O'Sullivan, Gerry.Owen, Nora.Quinn, Ruairí.Rabbitte, Pat.Reynolds, Gerry.Ryan, Seán.Shatter, Alan.Sheehan, Patrick J.Stagg, Emmet.Taylor, Mervyn.Taylor-Quinn, Madeleine.Timmins, Godfrey.Yates, Ivan.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies D. Ahern and Clohessy; Níl, Deputies Flanagan and Howlin.
Question declared carried.