Industrial Policy Review Group Report: Statements.

I welcome greatly the opportunity which we have today to debate the report of the Industrial Policy Review Group. For ease of reference, the report has tended to be called the Culliton report after the very able chairman of the review group, Jim Culliton, but it is equally the report of the other members of that group: Seán Barrett, Mary Broughan, Bernie Cahill, Peter Cassells, Denis Hanrahan, Chris Haskins and Lochlann Quinn. Together with their back-up team they have provided us with a document which is characterised by a clarity of analysis and which provides a clear-cut agenda for decisive action in the area of industrial policy.

The debate here today is timely. Unemployment is at the highest ever level in this country. The facts of demography make clear that further upward pressure on these figures is inevitable in the short term at least. At the same time, fundamental changes are taking place in the world in which we trade which will greatly influence our employment prospects in the future: the Single European Market will be largely in place by the end of this year and the transition of the EC towards economic, monetary and political union has gained significant momentum; fundamental reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy are in train along with the prospect of fundamental reform of world trade under GATT and the influence of centrally-planned economies world-wide has gone into sharp decline with new regional trading blocs and realignments emerging across the globe.

All these changes will pose new challenges and present new opportunities for the development of industry in Ireland. At the same time, we must seek to increase the contribution which industry can make to employment creation throughout the economy. The task in hand is daunting but one which we can approach with optimism if we are prepared to take a fundamental look at how we have managed our industrial policies to date and to put in place the changes necessary to bring success in a new world economic order. The Culliton report provides a framework through which such a task can be tackled.

Our present high level of unemployment is not something that has come upon us overnight. The underlying demographics and lack of performance have been clear for many years. We simply have not, as a people, created a sufficient number of jobs to provide employment for an increasing labour force and to replace those jobs lost in the dynamic changes which occur in an open economy. The reasons for this are not of recent origin. They are deeply embedded in the social and economic structures of our society: in our attitudes to business and success; in the way we manage our business enterprises; in the content and output of our training and educational system; in the way we manage our economic affairs, and in the administrative systems we have put in place at national and sub-national levels.

No one can be in any doubt that serious long term unemployment will remain a feature of Irish life for the foreseeable future. In view of this, we must strengthen our resolve to effectively address the sense of alienation and hopelessness felt by the unemployed and their families and to ensure that they are accorded meaningful participation in society. I am anxious that the initiative for a jobs forum under discussion at present is one that primarily addresses the needs of the unemployed and indeed involves them in the consultative process. While the adoption of a new approach to industrial policy will not, in itself, provide an overnight solution to our unemployment problems, it can make an important contribution — a contribution that will increase over the next five to six years and beyond. The report of the review group puts the issue succinctly and in perspective when it states that:

There are no single policy actions that can ensure a quick solution to the problem of unemployment. We can only rely on the fruits of a systematic and sustained effort to improve the effectiveness and competitiveness of our economy and to promote active involvement and enterprise throughout the economy, in public and private sector alike.

I doubt if anyone who is serious about the unemployment situation here could disagree with that position.

I am grateful that the group reported within the six month time-frame. In asking the group to report within such a relatively short period, I was conscious of three principal factors. First, the absolute urgency of taking decisive action in relation to industrial development policy and its implementation in the light of the highest ever levels of unemployment occurring in this country. Second, I was aware that a great deal of analysis of our existing policies and their implementation was already available from sources such as Government Departments, NESC, ESRI, the OECD and Commission of the European Communities. In particular, following my Department's review of industrial performance in 1990, it was revealed that while close to £5 billion was spent both directly and indirectly on industrial development by the State in the seven year period from 1983 to 1989, net employment in industry decreased by about 24,000 over that period. It was abundantly clear to me that the crucial gap was not one of analysis but there was an urgent need for a cohesive, practical and action-oriented prescription across a range of policy areas. Finally, the members of the group had, each in their own areas of operation and mainly in the industrial sector, successful track-records of performance which indicated an ability to cut quickly and decisively through often conflicting analyses to well-thought action to achieve defined objectives.

The Government have already announced that they accept the broad thrust of the recommendations of the Culliton report. A task force have been established to follow-up on the implementation of the recommendations. The establishment of such a task force was a key recommendation of the review group and the announcement of their establishment soon after the publication of the report is an indication of the Government's commitment to implementing both the recommendations of the review group and any other recommendations which will enhance the scope for development and employment creation in the industrial sector. The task force have been asked to widen their remit beyond the immediate recommendations of the Culliton report to make any other recommendations which they feel would be appropriate to support the creation of sustainable jobs.

The report of the review group responds fully to the terms of reference set for them. It is a cohesive document and the implementation of its recommendations requires an integrated and comprehensive approach by the task force. In practice this will mean that in considering the implementation of specific recommendations it will have to focus on how one can support the other rather than be introduced in isolation.

Overall responsibility for the formulation and evaluation of industrial policy has traditionally rested with the Minister for Industry and Commerce. One of the most fundamental recommendations of the Culliton group is that the:

Formulation and evaluation of policy for industry needs a broader strategy. It must go beyond traditional departmental demarcation lines to take account of all the major relevant factors, including notably the level and structure of taxation, the cost and quality of infrastructure and the relevance and effectiveness of education and training.

I agree fully that the broad-based approach advocated by the Culliton group is sensible. It is the direction in which to go. I support this approach and I see the task force as an important instrument through which this more broad-based approach can be developed and achieved. The ultimate test of the effectiveness of the task force, however, will be the extent to which this braod-based approach is achieved in a substantive way over the next six to 12 months.

The review group forcefully make the point that:

In no other single area does the Government have at its disposal the tools to make as far-reaching and effective a reform to support an enterprise economy as in taxation.

I agree fully with their view. The Irish tax system has developed in an ad hoc manner. It is characterised by a multiplicity of reliefs, concessions and exceptions each designed to promote the development of an activity considered, from an economic or social perspective, desirable in itself. The tax relief provided for one activity frequently conflicts with that provided for another. Each relief to one activity involves a cost to be borne elsewhere in the economy.

The existing taxation system also encourages the deployment of savings away from investment in industry towards savings instruments with the lowest risk-reward ratio such as Government gilts, pension fund investments and life assurance policies. There is a need to restore neutrality to the tax treatment of the flow and deployment of savings with the objective of securing greater investment in productive investments, especially indigenous Irish industry.

Successive and credible analyses conclude that the Irish tax system is now in need of major structural reform. The Culliton group endorse this need from an industrial development point of view. This has been a constant theme of the policies of the Progressive Democrats since their foundation and we have made it a central feature of Government policy. This year's budget represents a significant step in this process of reform.

In the area of direct support for industry the main recommendations made by the Culliton report include: the grant-aid budget for internationally mobile industry should be squeezed further; there should be a decisive shift from grants for home-managed industry to the use of equity; the grant-aid budget should focus more on fostering industrial clusters around industrial segments and niches of national competitive advantage; and the case for more effective Community restrictions on State aids for industry in the more developed member states should be actively promoted.

These recommendations reflect the approach which my Department have adopted to a considerable extent in recent years and further progress along the lines recommended is envisaged. For example, both my Department and I have constantly promoted the case for more effective restrictions on State aids for industry in the more developed member states of the Community.

We will maintain downward pressure on the budgets for the promotion of both internationally mobile and home-managed industry for a given level of projects or employment creation. For larger projects the cost-benefit approach adopted by the IDA will be reviewed to ensure that it reflects current economic realities. The potential for the development of clusters around industrial segments and niches of competitive advantage is accepted by my Department and the development agencies and work is in hand to examine how this can be given practical effect.

Overall, there is a decisive shift away from grants for indigenous industry development. The agencies had earlier been directed by me to increase their equity or repayable forms of grant support to 40 per cent of aid to medium-large industry for the current year. The scope for achieving an increase in that level in 1993 is under consideration.

The main recommendations made by the review group in relation to institutional strengthening include the following: the Department of Industry and Commerce should redefine their role as being predominantly one of policy determination for industrial development and the supervision of its implementation and a recognition of the importance of the business-related legal and regulatory environment.

The Department should develop an enhanced internal capacity for fundamental policy review and evaluation with measurable policy objectives for the industrial development agencies.

A number of regulatory and administrative functions should be removed from the Department and established as self-financing organisations.

The Department should recruit and arrange the secondment of individuals with industrial experience.

The Department should establish an advisory board on industrial policy and their three yearly review of industrial performance should include policy review.

A regrouping of institutional functions is necessary to reflect the very different character of internationally mobile investment from the rest. One agency, formed from the present IDA, would have as its mission to attract to Ireland the greatest possible level of internationally mobile investment.

There should be a new agency for the development of indigenous Irish-managed industry to bring together in a more integrated way the developmental and support services provided at present on a separate basis by IDA, ABT and Eolas in particular. Such an agency would provide a new impetus and focus for promoting the development of locally-based industry.

A task force should be established, reporting directly to the Taoiseach, to give an impetus and direction to the wider focus of industrial policy recommended in this report and to ensure that the recommendations of this report are acted upon. The task force should have a defined time-period of three years of operation.

I accept the thrust of these recommendations. The Department have already reorganised their internal arrangements to formulate and more effectively monitor the implementation of industrial policy. These arrangements include: making the determination of industrial policy and its supervision a central role of the "management board" of the Department under the direction of the Secretary; a centralisation of responsibility for monitoring the performance of, and liaising with, industrial development agencies, within one division; and the allocation of additional resources to strengthen the evaluation and analytical capacity of the Department in relation to industrial policy.

In relation to the removal of regulatory and administative functions which are not strictly necessary for the effective operation of the Department, the Department are now examining how this recommendation could be implemented for the Patents Office and the Companies Registration Office in the first instance. The Department also accept that the three yearly reviews of industrial performance required under statute should be widened to include a review of industrial policy.

My Department are also prepared to attempt to develop a programme of secondment to and from industry and is in the process of drawing up a number of job specifications for areas in the Department where this might be possible. Previously when such programmes were attempted across the public service the response from the private sector was limited. The Department will make a determined effort to achieve better results this time around.

As regards the establishment of an advisory board on industrial policy the "management board" of the Department with its strengthened role, as indicated above, will act in that capacity. The Department are considering the introduction of external expertise to help the "board" in relation to industrial policy matters.

The Department are also examining how the separation of the promotion of overseas and indigenous industry can be put in place and made work in practice in order to maximise the generation of projects and the creation of employment arising from both inward investment and the development of indigenous industry.

The review group make a number of important recommendations in relation to the area of science and technology (S&T), for example, it advocates the following: involving industrialists in the application of S&T programmes; greater emphasis should be placed on the acquisition of the technology required to upgrade product quality and competitiveness in Irish industry; and decentralisation of administration of industry-related S&T programmes to executive agency level.

All of these recommendations are accepted and are in line with actions already adopted or in train in several cases. My Department have embarked in a more deliberate way on a course to make science and technology expenditure for which it is responsible more responsive to the needs of industry. Considerable progress will be reported within six months in relation to each of these recommendations. Already, a number of new measures have been initiated in line with the recommendations. For example: an advisory committee system with strong industry representation has been established to ensure that science and technology activity is more related to the needs of industry; new financial and management procedures are being introduced for the Programmes in Advanced Technology (PATs) which will encourage a greater commercial orientation of the PATs and allow programme activities more relevant to the needs of industry to be determined; a research and development group drawn entirely from the ranks of industry has been established in recent months with the strong support of the Department to advise on the needs of industry in the development of science and technology programmes; a review of departmental activities of those of EOLAS in the science and technology area will be completed before mid-year.

The positive approach which the Department of Industry and Commerce are taking to the recommendations of the Culliton group has already been reported to the task force. I understand that the response the task force has received from other Departments and agencies responsible for implementing the recommendations of the review group has also been very positive. Undoubtedly not all the recommendations put forward by the review group will be implemented precisely as set out in the report of the group. The Culliton report is very much a strategic document which points the way forward towards a more comprehensive and effective industrial policy. It does not attempt to provide a detailed implementation blueprint for every recommendation which it makes, nor could it have done so within the time available even if it were appropriate to do so. It will be a matter for Departments along with their agencies to put the flesh on the recommendations of the Culliton group, which have received widespread general endorsement from most quarters.

I look forward to the debate on the Culliton report here today. There may be points on which we disagree with the group, where we might have welcomed a greater development of some of the issues covered or where we consider that certain issues have been neglected. If we do come to such conclusions we should remember the broad nature of the group's teams of reference and the relatively short time period within which they were asked to report. I think the group have done us a great service in this House. I hope we can build on what they have achieved. They have fulfilled the responsibility placed on them extremely well. It remains to be seen if at political and administrative level we can build on the solid foundations that they have laid.

I am glad to have the opportunity of making some comments on what has become known as the Culliton report. If I am critical of some aspects it does not mean I do not recognise the work done by Mr. Culliton and his committee. I join with the Minister in thanking them for the quality of the research they have carried out and the very detailed papers they have commissioned, which in themselves make fascinating reading and will add greatly to the debate about industrial policy. I join with the Minister in congratulating them on the expedition with which they produced their report within the time allocated to them of six months. It is unusual for Government committees to report within the allocated time. I thank them through the Minister on behalf of the general public for what they have done.

The report of the Industrial Policy Review Group, which, as the Minister has said, has now become known as the Culliton report, provides a very useful starting point for the formulation of industrial policies for the nineties. It is, however, just that. It is not a blueprint for change, because change can only come about through this House and through the Government. That is why we are so disappointed at the lack of understanding and support we have got for our proposal for a jobs forum. Enough analysis has been done of the unemployment problem and enough talking has been done, what we need now is action. Action to tackle the difficult political problem of resolving unemployment can only be taken by the Members of this House acting together, and that includes the Ministers. What is now proposed, I am sorry to say, is another set of reports being produced by another talking body and that, in our opinion, is not good enough.

The reality is that industrial policy is not formulated in a vacuum: economic and fiscal policies have a crucial impact on industrial policy. It is regrettable therefore, that the Government's recent budget does not make a positive contribution to the climate for industrial expansion and job creation. The removal of certain reliefs and benefits, including the removal of tax exemptions from share issue schemes and companies profits sharing programmes, is extremely shortsighted. The removal of this exemption makes it more difficult for organisations trying to further the involvement of workers in their enterprise and to improve the productivity and competitiveness of Irish industry as we face the Single Market in another eight or nine months. When introduced some years ago this scheme was very broadly welcomed by all sectors of industry and by the trade union movement. Its removal now, at the time when its full benefits could be realised, was a mistake and I hope it will be rectified in the Finance Bill. In one American owned company in my constituency with American and Irish employees we have the ludicrous position that the Irish employees will be discriminated against because of the removal of the share option scheme, whereas the American employees who have been seconded from the head office in America, where the scheme operates, will derive the benefit. The Government have been shortsighted in regard to the removal of this scheme, which was widely appreciated by the trade union movement. I hope the Government will rethink their position on it during the course of the Finance Bill.

It seems to me that the private sector are being asked to pay for the Government's negotiation of the public pay bill that it is unable to honour. The Programme for Economic and Social Progress now dominates economic policy making. We pointed out when the Programme for Economic and Social Progress was negotiated over 12 months ago that the country could not afford it and that there would be serious consequences following its signing. There was strong public sector union influence throughout. It became obvious at the end of the year that what we had said was true. It was renegotiated with a bigger cost to the private sector than for the public sector, resulting in a budget that is unnecessarily harsh in the number of impositions it has put on employees in the private sector in order to sustain the Programme for Economic and Social Progress. The postponement of certain crucial decisions to next year's budget will make the climate in 1993 far more difficult from the point of view of industry and job creation than in 1992. It was a serious mistake on the part of the Government for which we will all have to pay in the future.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce when setting up the review indicated that the review group would look at public policy generally as it affects industrial development and also that the review would cover internationally traded services. In that regard I am disappointed to note that the report under-emphasises the potential of the service sector and does not emphasise the tourism sector, which is Ireland's largest international traded service.

I have spoken to Mr. Culliton about this, because to my mind it is a serious omission from the report. He indicated to me that they had been told not to undertake a study of the tourism sector because last July the Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications was setting up another committee to examine tourism and the two would come together when both reports were concluded. Unfortunately, that did not happen. I have to charge the Government with very sloppy planning in that regard because the tourism sector review body was not set up until early this year. If my memory serves me correctly, this report was published before the tourism review group was set up and there is no cut-off point for them to report. It is a mistake that the two reports were not published together particularly as this report underlines, but does not investigate, the importance of internationally traded services. When replying I would ask the Minister to give us some indication when the tourism report can be expected. That is one of the areas with potential to create jobs.

The Industrial Policy Review Group made a number of recommendations which are worth examining. Some of their recommendations raise a number of important questions which the Minister and the Government must address. Under the heading "infrastructure" the report suggests that "the mandatory take-off of Whitegate oil products should be discontinued." Apart from its value to industry, the report which was issued more than six months ago, contradicts the announcements made continuously during the past four years that there would be investment in the Whitegate oil refinery to update it and make it more efficient. Will the Minister explain how this recommendation squares with the announcement made last Monday — this must be an addition even though it has not been made clear in the reports since — that another £15 million will have to be invested in Whitegate oil refinery to ensure that the sulphur content of the products being produced there conforms with the standards laid down in the EC directive in this regard?

Even as late as last October the Minister for Energy said in the House that he was examining the possibility of a partnership, a take-over or investment programme for the refinery, that he was dealing with one particular customer and hoped he would be a position to make an announcement within a short time. That was almost six months ago and no announcement has been made. This is unfair to the employees involved. In addition, this refinery, which is over 30 years old and deteriorating, is in need of investment to update it. I qualify this by saying that I am not sure if it is the one investment; possibly they are separate There is a need for investment if the refinery is to conform with the EC directive.

If the Minister for Industry and Commerce wants to see the Culliton report adopted in full and the mandatory take-off of 35 per cent is removed the refinery will close. I cannot see how the Minister can square the two. Last Monday the Minister for the Environment spoke about the need for investment at the refinery; last October the Minister for Energy spoke about the possibility of a new partnership and new investment at the refinery while the Minister for Industry and Commerce said at Question Time about a month ago that many harsh decisions would have to be taken in this regard and that he was willing to take them.

One of these concerns the discontinuing of the mandatory take-off of 35 per cent by the oil companies, which was introduced to ensure that they could stay open. If the Culliton report is adopted in full will that oil refinery close? I hope the Minister will take an early opportunity to outline precisely what the plans are in relation to the oil refinery. From the point of view of the oil companies, refining and supply and industrial policy, given that the implications and the uncertainty created are quite significant the matter should be clarified as quickly as possible.

Under the same heading of "infrastructure" the report suggests that Bord Gáis Éireann, BGE, should be obliged to publish average tariffs charged to various representative categories in industry to prevent undue price discrimination. Two of the major companies involved are under State control — the ESB and a partnership in the IFI. These two companies may be the beneficiaries of undue price discrimination. This has implications for the cost of electricity, which in turn has a knock-on effect on costs for industry, while in the case of the IFI it has implications for the cost of natural gas which in turn has a knock-on effect on the cost of fertiliser and other costs for agriculture.

I am sure there is a suitable cliché I could use in regard to this. In a green field situation we might not do the same thing but the fact is these benefits have been built-in in the case of those two companies in particular. In turn there have been benefits for the industries they supply. While we might not do the same thing in a green field situation the fact is they are in place and it will be extremely difficult to dismantle them no matter how desirable this may be. That is what would be involved if the Cullition report is taken on board in full.

When the Competition Act, 1991 was debated in the House last autumn I put forward an amendment to ensure that local authorities would be subject to that Act. The Minister assured me at the time that they would be but after some to-ing and fro-ing with the officials who had accompanied him it became clear later in the debate that the Minister had been misinformed and they would not be subject to the Act. However, he gave an undertaking to introduce an amendment on Report Stage to ensure that they would be subject to the Act but because the debate was guillotined the amendment was not moved. As a result public authorities are not subject to the Competition Act and the private sector is being discriminated against again. This happens frequently. It happened in the budget in favour of the public sector.

With regard to the Structural Funds the report underlines the need to critically evaluate the use of money from the Structural Funds. This evaluation is vital to ensure that the maximum benefit is gained from the funds. We should also aim for a much stronger regional input in the dispersal of these funds. That would mean genuinely moving away from centralised decision-making by Government. When there was an outcry in this House a few years ago about this matter — the Progressive Democrats joined in — the changes made amounted to window-dressing. While the lists were drawn up locally the decisions were made centrally. In relation to the dispersal of Structural Funds, decisions should be made at local and regional level which is what the European Community wants.

On the question of education, enterprise and technology the report suggests that here is a need to de-emphasise the bias towards the liberal arts and traditional professions. While recognising the need to reorient educational policy the report does not suggest how we should utilise the graduates we already have. That is one of the most crucial and difficult problems we have to tackle. Much political courage would be needed to take on the vested interests in this area and the Minister of State present knows this as well as I do.

There is a perception that a well paid pensionable job for life is got through the arts stream and not through the professional stream. Indeed, it is the ambition of every mother that her son or daughter will get a well paid pensionable job for life. For more than 100 years the structure has been geared towards this. We have to re-establish the equal value of skills as opposed to the liberal arts. It would be extremely difficult to do this and the support of all Members of the House would be needed because some very difficult and unpopular decisions would have to be taken but it is essential we do this. We have put resources into education in this area and we should utilise the people who are trained in the arts and professions. Once again, the lack of emphasis on the services sector means that this resource is not being channelled towards new and innovative development of the services sector.

The report refers to the GATT talks but in this regard it concentrates on agriculture and emphasises in particular our dependence on the Common Agricultural Policy and the changed environment after the completion of the internal market. This is very true but it is equally true that it is important for all sectors of the economy, not just for the agricultural community, that the GATT talks are concluded. Another gap in the report is that it does not see the potential, if there is a satisfactory conclusion to the GATT talks, for job creation by gaining access to the markets of other countries for our goods and services outside the agricultural industry. The report concentrates on the GATT talks in a negative way and does not highlight the positive effects that could arise with regard to our services and industries.

The report suggests that there should not be any subsidies or grants for farm training. The point is more theoretical than practical. It does not make a great deal of sense, because there is very little specific training in farming, and the general impression is that farmers do not use training enough. Training at any level should be encouraged and supported. We do not employ enough training to get into industrial jobs, or enough on-the-job retraining.

The acquisition of industrial skills is important but there is need for a comprehensive approach to the central issue of how to identify deficiencies. This will require a great deal of co-ordination and flexibility among the agencies and institutions. The report suggests that higher grants for foreign industry should be available, presumably on the grounds that we must compete internationally to attract enterprise to Ireland. The suggestion goes against the principle and the spirit of competition legislation. The proposition does not make sense. If a man from Dublin makes goods to export to China he will not get a grant but if a man comes in from Germany to make similar goods to export to China he will get a grant. That is not fair and the Dublin person will certainly not accept it.

The Minister heralded the introduction of the Competition Bill, 1991, as the instrument which brought us into line with European legislation. It would be ironic if one country was to get more support than another in setting up industry, particularly if the country receiving less was Ireland. This practice cannot be sustained in the context of the European Community. The report suggests that commercial State enterprises need a clear mandate and access to capital. Perhaps the solution here is to sell these enterprises and allow private industry to provide the capital and the development expertise.

With regard to institutional strengthening the report makes a number of recommendations which are worth examining. The role and functions of the Department of Industry and Commerce were dealt with in the Telesis report ten years ago, but I do not know what happened about that in the meantime. Some consideration must be given to the fact that regulatory and administrative functions provide information for policy information and that these functions should not be too detached from the Department of Industry and Commerce. The suggestion of a new agency for the development of indigenous Irish manufacturing industry seems to misconstrue the role currently being played by the IDA, Córas Tráchtála and Eolas. These agencies opertate on a sectoral basis and focus on different areas. Their functions are multi-faceted and it is not clear what the impact of a new agency would be in practical terms.

The report also recommends a system of regional boards. What is envisaged here? I hope someone will elaborate on it during the debate. Does the report suggest that SFADCo and Údarás na Gaeltachta will be replicated on a regional basis? Is some sort of regional authority envisaged here and how will they operate? Do these boards intend to operate like SFADCo and Údarás and how can that be achieved without additional administrative costs? Greater regional involvement is important, especially as we move towards a more integrated European Community. The whole question needs to be thrashed out in greater detail in the context of overall policy making. Therefore, the Minister and the Dáil should examine the Fine Gael proposals along the same lines put forward by Deputy John Bruton last Monday when speaking on this subject.

The report recommends the setting up of a task force, and this has been done by the Government. However, the report recommended that this task force report directly to the Taoiseach. It would be more appropriate for the task force to report to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, although this morning the Minister defended the suggestion. I do not agree with the Minister there. The practice of collective responsibility will ensure that the whole Government will be aware of the developments. The reason Ministers have individual portfolios is to ensure co-ordination and development of particular expertise and competence. The Minister for Industry and Commerce should have the task of bringing proposals and policies to Cabinet in relation to industry and commerce.

The review of industrial policy appears to emphasise the need to rationalise the number of State agencies in industrial development. In doing this it raises the question of industrial policy.

I would like to have had a lot more time to discuss this subject. I hope we will have the opportunity to come back and discuss this on a sectoral basis in the future, rather than debating the report as a whole.

In the face of the appalling human crisis of unemployment, and the certainty that that crisis will worsen as the year goes on, it is about time that some of our major political parties began to realise that the unemployment crisis cannot be addressed if the issue remains a political football.

For years, three parties — Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and the Progressive Democrats — have consistently adopted the view that if Government create the climate, the jobs will follow. They have geared their policies exclusively towards appealing to those who already have jobs — the coping classes, as Fine Gael calls them — rather than towards the whole community.

It is only now that they are beginning to admit that those policies have been a complete failure. In some of Fine Gael's recent utterances, for example, there are signs of a death-bed conversion to the need for a more interventionist approach. Most people will have been at least partly impressed by what seemed like the Leader of Fine Gael's passionate commitment to a jobs forum. They must be somewhat less impressed today, as he seeks to scuttle the nearest thing we are going to get to a jobs forum.

We have campaigned for a long time now to persuade the Government to intervene in the jobs crisis in a number of ways. The most important thing, we have argued, that Government could do now, is to intervene to start building a consensus around this issue to make sure that unemployment becomes the number one priority for the State and the community.

Building a consensus has always implied very firmly that the Government should expand and develop the social partnership model that is in place at the moment, to enable other forces in the community to contribute to solutions. That is why we have in the past called for a new partnership on jobs, a radical extension of the social partnership model, to encompass an objective and detailed analysis of the problem, and a new approach to solutions. That is why the Labour Party have put so much work into the efforts to get an all-party committee on unemployment off the ground, with a structure that enables it to be inclusive of all the key players, and with terms of reference that enable consensus for radical change to be developed. Most objective commentators, looking at the structure that has emerged from discussions between the Labour Party and the Government, will recognise that the Labour Party have made a major input to the framing of those terms.

Of course, they are not perfect. We have made compromises to try to secure a model for discussion that reflects the different objectives of all the parties involved. Our Whip, Deputy Brendan Howlin, recognised clearly that in talking to the Government at all he was trying to reconcile positions that were initially poles apart.

It is true to say as well, that the jobs committee which is now there entails a degree of risk, especially for Opposition parties, whose instinct, as well as whose role, is to oppose. But as far as I can remember, this is the first official document ever distributed by this Government, or any Government going back to 1987, which used the word "crisis" in relation to unemployment. This is the first time that a committee structure has been established, with the consent of the Government, that cannot be dominated by the Government itself.

Above all, this is the first time in the history of the State that an agreement between political parties leaves scope for the unemployed, the voluntary agencies, the unions, the farmers, the employers, and the young to sit down together and make Government policy. We should make no mistake, if this committee and its working sub-committees develop a consensus around strategic policies, Government will ignore that consensus at their peril.

The Labour Party would have preferred a wider and more embracing structure, just as we would have preferred more detailed terms of reference. But we have chosen to compromise for one reason only — because the crisis is so serious. Without consensus and without Government and Opposition modifying their ideological positions, it will get worse. With consensus there is a real possibility that we can do some of the difficult things that need to be done.

That is why there must be considerable despair among the unemployed this morning. As we begin a debate on a radical report on employment and unemployment we do so against the background that one of the largest parties in the Dáil is still intent on playing politics with this issue. I appeal to Fine Gael to stop messing around. It is time to get stuck in to the issue of unemployment. If for no other reason, we have to do everything in our power to ensure that the cynicism and the disillusionment that is rampant among the unemployed about politics and politicians is dispelled. Political games about the most important issue on the political agenda will only heighten that cynicism.

Unemployment is at the core of many of our fiscal problems. The budget overrun last year, for example, was largely accounted for by the excess spending on unemployment-related payments Already this year it is clear that unemployment is going to account for a significant overrun again. Unemployment is also at the core of the grinding poverty that afflicts thousands of families. It is at the core of many of our mounting health bills, contributing as it does to thousands of cases of depression, stress-related conditions, violence in the home, alcoholism and a host of other conditions.

Most of all, unemployment is at the core of our equality crisis. It is not an accident that unemployment is at its highest in many of the devastated and alienated suburbs of our larger cities and towns. It is not an accident that unemployment is at its highest where access to education is poorest. It is not an accident that unemployment, poverty and disadvantage form part of a never-ending vicious circle of inequality. It is no wonder, then, that unemployment has become a national powder keg, a time-bomb of alienation that threatens to explode in the face of our community. We have already seen some evidence of rising tensions in the damage done within some hard-pressed and neglected local communities in Dublin in the latter part of last year. I do not believe that it is either alarmist or scaremongering to suggest that it is almost inevitable that we will see recurrences of violence, perhaps on a bigger scale.

There will be little point in politicians tut-tutting and making disapproving noises if the crisis of poverty and marginalisation leads to long term community damage. There should be no misunderstanding about two central issues here. First, there is a clear cause and effect relationship between unemployment, poverty, and discrimination on the one hand and community breakdown on the other. By refusing to face up to unemployment we are creating a permanently marginalised, disenfranchised community. Second, the insult of unemployment becomes an obscenity when Government try to pretend that there is little or nothing that can or should be done. And that is what the Government that we have elected to represent us have been trying to do. It only adds to the tragedy when one of the major Opposition parties is washing its hands of the problem too.

I do not want to pretend that there is a simple, magic wand type of solution that can be pulled out of a hat and suddenly the problem would be solved. To say that would be to be dishonest. But we must start from the point that a figure heading rapidly towards 300,000 is simply, starkly, totally unacceptable, on any kind of economic or social basis; and it is all the more unacceptable in the context of a more prosperous Europe, a Europe in which our unemployment rate is the worst by far and is now almost exactly twice the European average. If we had started from that point some years ago instead of simply trying secretly to export the problem, the situation would not be as grim today. We must recognise that there are crucial steps that can and must be taken — some big, some small, some immediate, some longer term.

This is where I take issue with the central thesis on the Culliton report, which is contained on its cover — the assertion that there are no short term options, that no immediate response is possible. We recognise of course that the creation of 300,000 net extra jobs will not happen in the short term, but that is a far cry from saying that there is nothing that can or should be done now.

We approach the Culliton report from the perspective of a party who believe in full employment as a policy goal. In saying that — and I say it without any apology to anybody — we recognise that the whole concept of full employment is one that requires elaboration and clarification. But to those who regard the notion as fanciful, let me ask a question. There are a number of countries whose employment performance has always been much better than ours, countries like Japan, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden and Austria, to name just a few. What have these countries got in common? All of these countries share an underlying consensus based on values that regard unemployment as destructive. All of them share values which suggest that full employment must be a central objective for Government, business, trade unions, and the self-employed. And in all these countries these belief systems are actualised in national institutions where vital decisions are made on economic and social policy.

In all of these countries unemployment strategies would vary considerably. Japan and, interestingly enough, Sweden, have relied heavily in the past on the private sector. Austria, on the other hand, has used the public sector as an engine for employment growth. There is one common thread. In all these economies in the past unemployment strategies have concentrated on targeted interventions to prevent the unemployed from becoming marginalised in the economy and to place them in vacancies rather than relying exclusively on general economic growth to deal with the problem through increasing employment.

The truth is that, if we rely exclusively on growth and if we hope that that growth will somehow translate itself into jobs, we will wait forever. I do not believe that we can afford to wait for ever. That is why we must concentrate on key areas where the issue of unemployment can be tackled head on.

Without wishing to suggest a monopoly of wisdom, I would like to spell out a few. For example, four years ago, in a substantial document called Labour's Agenda, we called for a radical re-orientation of the work of the State agencies involved in job creation. We specifically demanded then that there should be two agencies — one charged exclusively with the job of attracting investment into Ireland and the other with finding, building, and encouraging Irish enterprise. We recognised then that that would involve a substantial streamlining and redirection of the existing agencies, including the IDA. Four years later that proposal has been vindicated in full by the Culliton report and is now, we hope, about to become official Government policy. One has to ask why it has taken so long. Why was it necessary to set up high-powered commissions, using teams of expensive consultants, to tell them what ought to be staring them in the face? If they really took the jobs crisis seriously they would have taken this step years ago. It is vital and long overdue, and doing it now means that the results will not begin to be visible for some time.

Just establishing a new agency with responsibility for the development of Irish native-owned enterprise will not make a difference on its own. That agency will have to have a number of crucial features. It will have to be organised on the basis of industrial sectors to enable proper planning to take place and to get the best results in terms of marketing, quality and reliability. The food, fishing and clothing sectors are obvious places to start. It will have to concentrate on building large Irish companies, perhaps through stimulating mergers, through marketing and R & D support and by means of grants, equity participation and loans. It will have to have a strong regional base and must be structured to allow and encourage local input into decision making. It will have to concentrate very heavily on the development of exports and on encouraging businesses who manufacture products that would substitute for imports. One of its major functions must be the development of linkages, ensuring that the raw materials, packaging, tools, equipment and transport used in Irish manufacturing are themselves Irish.

This idea, which the Labour Party first put forward four years ago, is based on two very simple principles. The first of these is that the creation of extra wealth in Ireland is crucial and that the retention of that wealth in Ireland, translating it into jobs here at home, is equally crucial. The second is that the way to do that is to secure a lot more added value from everything we do. Catching fish will never produce as much wealth or as many jobs as turning the catch into fish fingers.

That is a medium term goal, one of several which we have put forward in the past. As I have already said, there are a great many things we can do in the short term too. Let me give just a couple of examples. New directions in policy require certain specific changes in our whole approach to employment, the distribution of work opportunities and investment if industrial expansion and additional wealth is to be channelled into jobs.

In order to ensure the retention of the maximum number of jobs in industry and services, employers and employees must be given incentives to opt for retraining, redeployment and work sharing, rather than resort to redundancy in the case of profitable enterprises.

In one recent year, 20,000 new jobs were created but 23,000 jobs were lost through redundancy. The banks, major multinational companies, and some of our public enterprises have paid out vast sums in redundancy payments, and they have done so for the purpose of maximising profits in some cases, rather than for the purpose of saving the remaining jobs. That has to be stopped. We have already produced a policy to counteract it in our work reorganisation scheme which aims to save 10,000 jobs each year through a combination of the measures I have outlined.

Justice in the context of wealth creation and expansion of employment surely must give priority to the long term unemployed. It is a simple but tragic fact that the longer any individual is out of employment, the harder it is for him or her to break back into employment. Unless that vicious circle is addressed, there are relatively young men and women in Ireland who will never work again.

We have consistently called in the past for all negotiations between Government, employers, and trade unions to include an agreement to allocate a significant proportion of all vacancies in the private sector over a three to five year period to people who are long term unemployed. It is worth repeating this call at every opportunity, and it is worth making the point again that the Programme for Economic and Social Progress is supposed to be about more than pay. One of the issues to which it pays most lip service is unemployment, but so far lip service is all that it has been.

In order to facilitate a scheme of priority for the long term unemployed, we have already proposed that the employment incentive scheme be reformed as follows: it should be targeted at the long term unemployed, that is people out of work for at least 12 months. Payments should be increased to £120 per week in year 1, £100 per week in year 2, £90 per week in year 3. The kind of scheme we have suggested would be budgeted to eliminate long term unemployment over five to seven years with 20,000 each year in the first three years being assisted. Retraining would be guaranteed under the European Social Fund. Our scheme would involve additional gross expenditure by the State, but that in turn would be considerably reduced by savings in social welfare payments. These are only a number of ideas — other parties, the social partners and organisations representing the unemployed have put forward others, and we will be spelling out more ourselves over the coming months.

It would be dishonest of me to say that the Government are entirely to blame for our unemployment crisis. Indeed, I have argued before that we will only really begin to seriously address the problem when we begin to look for solutions within ourselves, when we begin to rediscover the patriotism that is inherent in a commitment to excellence, to economic flexibility, to high standards of service and to efficient production methods. This Government will stand very heavily accused if they do not act now. The Culliton report provides a framework, at the very least, for action, and the task now is to build consensus around that framework.

Before concluding, I want to say a few words about some of the specific headings in the report. First, the report says very simply that our tax structure is in need of urgent reform, and no-one can quarrel with that. We would argue that reform is absolutely essential in the interests of justice, let alone in the interests of industrial development. Not nearly enough has been done in this area, and in particular there has been a complete failure of political nerve on the part of the Government that are unwilling to tax substantial wealth and assets.

Second, we will need significant additional resources within our educational system if we are to address the issue of unemployment over the longer term. One of the most striking facts about long term unemployment is that it is at its highest among the least educated.

Third, the committee do not appear to come down hard one way or the other on the issue of privatisation, but our position is perfectly clear. We have argued again and again, and will continue to do so, against the notion of privatisation of productive State assets as a panacea for our problems.

Fourth, the food industry comes in for special mention in the review, and that is as it should be. The authors of the report were extremely kind in failing to blame the Government for the shambles that exists in a substantial sector of our food industry. This Government have concentrated in the past on placing large sections of the food industry in the hands of people who are more interested in finding loopholes and in ripping off the system than they were in developing the industry. That has to stop.

There is no reason a national food development plan, called for by Culliton, should not be ready by January next at the latest. The report calls for joint ventures and partnership arrangements to promote the "green" wholesome image of Irish food products in international markets. I see no reason that should not be possible to achieve within the existing indigenous food sector. I would warn, however, against the notion that our food industry can generate far more jobs if we involve multinational enterprise in its development. There is no evidence of that.

In conclusion, whatever our reservations, my party are prepared to welcome the framework set out by Culliton as a way of moving forward. We are determined to play our part in generating ideas and in helping to build a consensus to ensure that the unemployment crisis remains at the top of the political agenda.

An Teachta Liam Lawlor.

I understood that as we are taking statements the parties would be called in sequence. This is not a debate; it is statements.

I hate to have to remind the Deputy of the position in which he finds himself. In debates such as this there is a precedent that spokespersons for parties are called upon immediately after the Minister. To qualify there must be seven Members in a party but, unfortunately, that is not the position with New Agenda. Therefore, I must call a Government spokesperson.

I hope that a new arrangement will soon be made in relation to New Agenda so that Deputy Rabbitte will have an opportunity to contribute as a member of a party. I always find his contributions pragmatic and progressive. I would re-echo what the Minister said at the outset in that I welcome greatly the opportunity of debating the report on the Industrial Policy Review Group. It is said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The road to job creation in this small country is paved with studies, reports and task forces on unemployment and urban affairs, going back to the Telesis report, the last major report on industrial policy, particularly grant-aided policies.

The national plan was launched with great triumph and great achievements were to be made before the commencement of the open market in January 1993. The plan was that £9 billion would be made available — £3 billion from the EC, £3 billion from the Government and £3 billion from the private sector. Those comprehensive reports, documents, plans and good intentions are available, yet today we are facing the prospect of close on 300,000 people being unemployed. To address that problem, Deputies have been discussing the setting up of a jobs forum for the past two weeks. I suggest that we need to establish a jobs action forum, under which some action will be taken on the many sound recommendations and proposals in the Culliton report. I am glad Deputy Bruton asked that the supplementary reports be made available to Members of the House. I took up that offer from the Taoiseach and secured copies of the reports. As I waded through the documents, I realised the validity of many of the recommendations. I am concerned about the speed with which those recommenations will be implemented. I am worried that the Department of Industry and Commerce, the IDA, and others referred to in the report, suggest that they are in the process of implementing all that is good in the Culliton report. What is needed is more than a task force to implement the recommendations of the Culliton report. Someone independent of the agencies and the Government Departments involved should ensure that action is taken. Organisations such as the IDA, first have to eat humble pie and recognise that what is recommended probably should have taken place before now. Second, they have to determine whether the recommendations should be implemented within the existing framework. Those two serious issues have yet to be addressed.

In his speech the Minister analysed the report in some detail. In my contribution this morning I do not intend to quote the obvious from the Culliton report. The House should suggest the decisive action that should flow from the recommendations of the report.

The questions of infrastructure, peripherality and a national plan need to be examined. There is an urgent need for improvements in the road structure, ports and air corridors. The publication of the national plan was greeted by analysis, cliches and comments.

For a couple of years I had the misfortune to chair the monitoring group in the Dublin region. The Culliton report made recommendations in relation to the ports. However, it appears impossible to get someone from Dublin port, Dún Laoghaire or the Department of Tourism, Transport and Communications to make up his or her mind as to what is wanted in regard to port access. There needs to be a decisive and dramatic change in that regard as we prepare for the internal market. The need for action is true of other ports, such as Waterford, Rosslare and Ringaskiddy. There is urgent need for a decisive national policy. The Culliton report makes recommendations for taking the ports under proper ownership, thus leading to decisiveness. The Foynes issue has been debated for a long time.

My experience of bureaucratic lack of decisiveness occurred when examining the operations of Dublin port. The lack of decision-making goes to the core of what is wrong with our country. We need a change to the compartment, pigeon-hole mentality of the Departments of Tourism, Transport and Communications and the Marine, the Dublin port authority, the port authority for Dún Laoghaire and the Dublin local authorities. Those organisations contribute to the debate but no one seems interested in doing what is right for the common good.

Much time has been spent debating access to the ports of the capital city. Many proposals have been put forward such as the provision of an underground and the eastern by-pass. That issue should have been decided long ago. A decision should have been taken and acted on.

Industrial goods are being carted through the centre of the city. It is only now that a manufacturer in the midlands can predict the travel time for his or her goods. The only uncertainty about travel time is that taken in getting the goods from the manufacturing base to the port. From the port, with a little luck with the weather, the travel time can be predicted.

We have many inherent infrastructural deficiencies here. I gave just one practical example in my reference to the Dublin ports. The young official who represented the Department responsible for transport on the monitoring committee said that to get the Department of Finance to spend money on monitoring of national plan, a plan approved by the House, was like pulling out a tooth. Has any money been spent on the national plan?

The Culliton report makes an interesting comment on the method of investment through the Structural Funds. It points to the perception that the Structural Funds in some way represent free money from Brussels, and states that that must be firmly rejected. It suggests that the uses to which funds are put must be subjected to the strongest possible evaluation. I believe that as much as possible is being used by the Government for the implementation of Government policy, rather than being used in accordance with EC proposals. On a regional political basis, regulations governing the Structural Funds are too narrow. Who made such narrow definitions? It could only have been those who want to control the expenditure. For the next round of Structural Funds the objective should be that the principle of subsidiarity should apply to ensure that the funds are allocated for priority development, decided by the Government within the framework of macro-economic and structural guidelines established at Community level. That change needs to be made because there has been far too much pulling and dragging.

It is my view that the Structural Funds spent by the Department of Industry and Commerce and the IDA constitutes a cosy little arrangement to ensure they achieve their aims, whether or not that is for the common good. Where is the interface with the private sector? Where is the dynamic action to ensure that what is done is necessary? Is it not a sad day that we need Mr. Culliton and his colleagues to tell us the simple action that should be taken?

One could take the concept of the financial centre. The Culliton report makes recommendations for industrial areas. The report asks why a major area for health care and pharmaceutical production could not be identified with west Dublin-Tallaght, Clondalkin and the new satellite towns, in the way that Shannon is seen as the centre for aerospace. It highlights the impediments to such developments.

Deputy Rabbitte represents a constituency that neighbours my own. He has what is called a new satellite town and I have two of them. The lack of progress, decisiveness and cohesion in bringing about an overall strategy for investment, job creation and completion of those major urban areas is pathetic, to say the least. Like others, as a public representative for some of those areas, I can be criticised because not enough progress has been made.

The problems encountered in relation to the ports also apply to air services. Again, we have the great debate between the airports of Shannon and Dublin — where should the planes land, where is the air corridor to Europe and where is all the subsidised low-cost access by air freight for our quality food products? What has come out of the national plan, after all the hype that surrounded its launch? Why have no brave political decisions been made in the national interest?

The next subject I should like to address under the heading of national infrastructure is energy in respect of which the bald criticism of the Culliton report is worth quoting:

Several important energy cost impositions are not justified on grounds of maintaining a secure domestic supply of energy. The mandatory off-take of Whitegate oil products should be discontinued.

Therefore, we now need a task force to monitor and examine this overall position. Why was that decision not taken the following day? Why has there not been a series of actions taken on the strength of the recommendations of this report, a priority list of decisions, ascertaining how they could be implemented?

Again, under the heading "Main Recommendations on Infrastructure" in the Culliton report they have this to say:

The price paid by the ESB for milled peat should be lowered. The financial and social consequences should be addressed by Government directly, and not be hidden in a cross-subsidy between the two State-sponsored bodies.

That necessitated two sets of overheads administering the transfer of funds from one pigeon-hole to another. With regard to energy what has happened is that in one street the ESB are endeavouring to sell consumer domestic applicances to be plugged into their power supply; further down the road there is Bord Gáis Éireann endeavouring to sell some other product to be tapped into their gas network while, on the other side of the street, Bord na Móna are endeavouring to sell peat briquettes for burning in solid fuel grates and appliances. This means there are three or four State agencies all incurring administrative costs and inbuilt overheads which must be paid for by the consumer. At the core of all that energy policy and fuel costs is the cost of creating a job, of moving goods around, of delivering a loaf of bread, a bottle of milk, all of those internal matters, never mind the import implications of the cost of job creation caused by lack of decisiveness in enegy policy here over the past ten or 15 years. It is time we called a halt, that we brought some cohesion into the overall energy debate lying at the very core of the cost of job creation.

I might refer now to the suggestion in the Culliton report that the IDA, in its present form, be abolished and be replaced by two new separate agencies. The Culliton report underlined the need for a dynamic body to pursue international or external investment and, another, investment domestically. I do not think the Telesis report specifically recommended such an arrangement but were not very far from doing so in that they recommended greater concentration on indigenous industry. At the time of publication of the Telesis report the IDA issued a statement accepting their recommendations saying: yes, that is what we will do. One might well ask what did happen? The Culliton recommendation for the splitting up of the IDA into two separate agencies is desirable, since indigenous small or medium-sized companies did not receive anything like the same treatment on the part of the IDA as, say, delegations from Japan, North America, Germany or wherever. Therefore, I contend their being split into two separate bodies would be a productive, worthwhile exercise.

On the question of equity participation one might well ask: should not the new home-based industrial agency engage in a major drive to examine all existing companies to ascertain whether additional equity and-or liquidity could lead to job creation within their existing structures rather than establish new companies for that purpose? We must remember that many of our small or medium-sized manufacturers began from a low liquidity base which has been an impediment to their expanding or creating extra jobs. Of course, borrowing always is a very tortuous, dangerous path to follow particularly in the case of privately-owned companies. Perhaps some form of State equity could be devised in the case of such companies. I know the National Development Corporation were supposed to have had some such role but were not very effective in that regard. There is need to ensure that the indigenous entrepreneur, or semi-State company, for that matter, wanting to expand and develop be accommodated. Again, the Culliton report addresses that aspect within the State sector, maintaining there should be a clearly defined policy thereon. Too many of our semi-State companies are burdened with historical debt, not the making of the current management workforce, which impedes their potential for development and job creation.

I see the former Minister for Education present. I shall move on to an area with which she will be more familiar, that of education, and the recommendations of the Culliton report on education, enterprise and technology, which comprise a far-seeing, well presented section of their report. I should like to think we were already making progress along the lines of those recommendations. The Minister present was responsible for the preparation of the Green Paper on Education. One hopes that that paper to be published shortly will embody many of the Culliton report recommendations and that there will be a meeting of minds between the Minister for Education and the Culliton report recommendations. We appear to have been very slow in getting our educational system moving on the question of additional languages. Much has been achieved vis-à-vis technology subjects for which we in our constituency are very grateful. We are indeed pleased that the Regional Technical College in Tallaght — the Minister played a key part in bringing that to fruition — will take in up to 2,000 young students in September next, for which two sites had been reserved within my constituency quite some time ago. That issue needs to be examined because there has been much debate about the need to create additional, third-level places. For example, there is positive need to streamline access to those third-level educational institutions now falling within the mandate of the task force on urban areas. Certainly, access thereto on the part of teenagers I represent is substantially out of kilter with their numbers because of the relevant household incomes and the socio-economic structures of those areas.

There is need to correlate the Culliton report recommendations with the Green Paper on Education to achieve a type of synergy, or meeting of minds, ensuring those recommendations are implemented, affording greater access to third level education by many teenagers who would not otherwise have such opportunity because of various financial constraints. While I am aware that there are certain supports obtaining very often they do not alleviate the specific needs of some people. It is heartbreaking to meet an unemployed constituent with one or two teenagers who is endeavouring to provide those young people with third level education, particularly when they have the ability and qualifications for that, but who are stymied in their endeavours because of the indirect costs of transport, meals and other basic facilities not covered by such supports as obtain.

I shall conclude by saying that the recommendations of the Culliton report on the food industry — of which I have a little knowledge — particularly in the dairy sector, the Danish example being widely quoted, constitutes a blueprint for action. I should like to think that an Bord Bainne, who have had a quality brand name established over many years, would endeavour — as much as did the IDA in the case of Avonmore-Waterford Cooperative — to pool the resources and strengths of the Irish dairy processing sector into some streamlined framework so that we could market a national brand abroad rather than continue the present fragmented exercise, incurring the many heavy inbuilt overheads of individual companies. Whether they be public companies or co-operatives, there is need for a major rationalisation of that sector.

While appreciating that it may be a matter for the Whips, so much is contained even in the support documents of the Culliton report, I contend it should form the basis of some further study. Indeed, the jobs action forum might well begin by implementing many of those recommendations.

It would be my hope that the Department of Industry and Commerce would prove to be the prescribed engine for policy formulation, not merely for monitoring, but rather for driving the engine toward job creation. I contend it will be on that test that the whole of the Culliton report will stand or fall. Nonetheless, I appreciate it is an enormously difficult task. It is easy to criticise but I hope my comments will be viewed as having been made in a constructive spirit and that we will see much action on the recommendations of this report.

Mr. Rabbitte rose.

I call Deputy Dukes. Again, Deputy Rabbitte, I regret that, in the application of numerical proportionality, the Deputy must wait a little longer. However, I would hope that, when we call another speaker from the Opposition, the Deputy's patience might be rewarded.

It is interesting that these statements are being made today. A number of statements, including Deputy Lawlor's, will be very interesting and a number of them will be very useful. However, I wonder if they will have any results. The Minister for Industry and Commerce made the opening statement. The Minister of State is present in the House. The debate is being listened to by other people. However, if we came back here in six months' time I wonder if the Minister or Minister of State will be able to say "Because of the debate we had on 27 March I have decided to take specific measures". I doubt it. If this is the case then there is not much point — it is perhaps a bit uncivilised of me to say this — in having statements like this. I say this simply to illustrate the point that while statements of this kind are very interesting and satisfying for those of us who are involved, they do not seem to advance policy very much and will not do so until the day when the Minister, the Minister of State and their advisers are actually in a position to debate and argue with people in a context where they will be able to come to some conclusions.

This is why I very much regret the point we have arrived at in this discussion on the setting up of a jobs forum where the Government seem to be hell bent on ensuring that Ministers are spared the travail and problem of actually arguing about policies and agreeing to change their minds or adopt particular policy options in that type of context. Unless we reach that position I honestly do not think this House can be a real forum in which the unemployment problem can be addressed. Regardless of whether or not people from outside this House are involved and the form that involvement takes, it is only when we reach the stage where the Minister of State, Deputy O'Rourke, can say to me, "That seems to be a good idea. We have thought about it and we are going to implement it in the following way" that this House will be a place which make any difference to the 270,000 people who are unemployed and the thousands of young people who will be leaving school this year and in future years looking for jobs. I ask the Government and the two Socialist parties to rethink their approach to a jobs forum.

In looking at what we can do to help with our unemployment problem and create industrial development there is one principle we should drill firmly into our heads as a basis for policy making, that is, demand is the source of employment; demand for goods and services by real people and institutions is the source of employment. The demand does not arise from our wishes, the supply of labour or the objective that we should have a certain level of employment. This does not create jobs. Demand creates jobs. The factor which determines the location of jobs, which company is expanded and which country will have more people employed is the success people have in getting access to that demand with the goods and services they produce. As I said, our wishes and the setting of objectives and targets have no effect on employment. It is people's ability to get their hands on the demand for goods and services which creates jobs. We should bear this in mind when looking at a fundamental reappraisal of our industrial development policy.

Industrial development policy is only a part of the issue. There is, of course, a place for the supply side actions. For many years we have seen a fairly wide range of actions on the supply side. Obviously, these are necessary. Even the Culliton report refers to some of these actions. I will refer to this point later. But we need to look at the taxation environment in which firms and individuals work, the incentive packages and the training we provide for people. The Minister for Industry and Commerce must have raised his eyebrows a little higher than normal when he read one of the comments made by the Industrial Policy Review Group in their report. They referred to the need for a transparent tax system and said:

Indeed we are so convinced of the ultimate folly of a procedure where every special interest or perceived difficulty is accommodated by ad hoc adjustments to the tax code that we have refrained altogether, despite the many submissions to us, from proposing any new sectional reliefs.

If I thought there was a good resolution worthy of being taken in this House by parties on all sides it would be something along those lines. The Minister for Social Welfare made very much the same point the other day about our social welfare system. Nothing ever disappears in public policy in this country. A good idea about a tax incentive or something else which will help to achieve an objective is built into our system and becomes a permanent and immovable part of it. When a different problem is found five years later, another incentive is built into the system. Over the course of time a series of these incentives, many of which work in different directions, are built into the tax system. I wish we could clear out the tax system and the incentive system, go back and start from scratch and look at what needs to be done. This report has made a very useful contribution to that debate.

The supply side measures cannot suffice on their own. Our public policy record over the past 20 years shows, that they have not sufficed on their own.

Therefore, we need to look at other areas. Some of the supply side measures remain very important and they seem to be very dear to our hearts. We have the training sector which has grown up in recent years from the Youth Employment Agency to AnCO and now FÁS. The Culliton report has some interesting things to say about this. It points out:

An institutional reorganisation of FÁS should be put in place to recognise the sharp distinction between support activities for the unemployed and industry relevant training.

We need to think about this very carefully and to fundamentally examine the FÁS operation.

I wish to refer to the February edition of the FÁS publication Training and Employment News. This document outlines what FÁS did with £210 million, a combination of Irish taxpayers' money and European Community money, during 1991. Reference is made in the document to the industrial restructuring training programme. The first full year of operation of this programme was 1991. A total of £5.7 million was spent on training support, which benefited approximately 2,000 companies and 15,000 employees. On my simple arithmetic, this amounted to £2,850 for each of the companies concerned and £380 per employee. Temporary employment on the social employment scheme was provided for over 16,000 long term unemployed people on over 3,000 projects at a cost of £73.7 million. This is an average of £4,600 per person or £24,500 per project. These are substantial sums of money.

The document goes on to give an overall appreciation of what FÁS are doing. It says that of the 28,000 people who participated on FÁS training programmes approximately 18,000 were placed in employment. How many people would have been placed in employment without those programmes? I suspect quite a number of them would have been. A further 27,000 people availed of temporary employment schemes or Jobsearch and approximately 10,000 secured employment when their schemes were completed. How many of those people would have secured employment without those programmes? Again, I suspect quite a few would have. Another 18,000 job seekers were placed in jobs notified by employers through FÁS employment service offices. That is a completely different function; it has nothing to do with training. Twenty eight thousand people participated in that programme and £161.5 million was spent on it. That is £5,768 on average per job which includes the cost of running the FÁS employment services office, which is not a high cost operation. We are spending substantial amounts of money on firms and individuals and we do not have a critical evaluation of what difference that makes to employment opportunity.

It seems clear that we are not producing marketable skills among our young people. I will illustrate what I mean; take a typical young person who leaves school at 17 or 18 years of age, trains to find a job and then goes on the dole. If living at home he or she will get maybe £4 per week, if they are lucky, depending on the parents' income. Later they might get on to a FÁS course which lasts for six months, some of the courses are good but others are not so good and of course all the participants do not get jobs at the end of one. A young person who has done a FÁS course and does not find employment, will be back on unemployment assistance getting £3 or £4 per week and becoming more annoyed. If the person is long enough unemployed he or she gets on a social employment scheme which lasts for a year, after which he ceases to be eligible. It means that a young person who has been unemployed for three or four years gets a very small amount of money if living at home and the next thing likely to happen is that an official in the local employment office will tell the person that the office will not continue their qualification for the dole because they do not really believe they are looking for work. They will also be told that they will have to prove that by going back to FÁS again to take a course in how to do an interview for a job. Those young people and their parents are suffering mounting frustration while we are spending large amounts of money on rather dubious schemes which do not seem to be improving the marketability or skills of the young people who are coming into the job market.

We need a thorough reappraisal of what FÁS do, I was confirmed in this view recently in talking to a number of people involved in the training area when it was clearly demonstrated to me that in many cases FÁS training schemes are very similar — the Minister of State will be very familiar with this — to a large part of our second level school curriculum but, in some cases, at three times the cost. There is a case to be made for devoting some of our resources of imagination and administrative capacity to the question of whether we would be better off allocating a large part of the money we now spent on FÁS training programmes to improving the range, depth and quality of the services we provide to young people in second level schools. Is there a chance that, by doing that, we could improve their attractiveness in the job market when they finally leave school? That question needs to be examined. I would not dare to debate the matter with the Minister of State on educational grounds but, in the nature of things, given that we are dealing with a very rapid level of change in the kind of skills required in modern industry, we should certainly have a fundamental review of any training agency at least once every five years, if not more frequently.

I want to refer to industrial performance because some things emerge immediately as being very striking. One is the difference in performance between what we might call the foreign owned sector of manufacturing industry here and the indigenous part of the same industry. The foreign owned sector of the manufacturing industry — this comes out very clearly in the Culliton report — now employ 50 per cent of those who work in the manufacturing industry here and they produce about 70 per cent of the total output of that industry. That sector is growing as it is a dynamic one and has probably succeeded most in increasing employment over the last 20 years. The indigenous sector, on the other hand, which employ the other half of those in manufacturing employment produce only 30 per cent of the output and are contracting. They are shedding jobs at a greater rate than the foreign sector, not expanding and we do not have any subtantial rate of entry of new firms. We should ask why there is such a difference between those two parts of our manufacturing sector. They live in the same economy, the same economic conditions prevail, the inflation rate is the same for all of them, they have the same cost factors, it is just as difficult for them to get their goods from A to B and into our ports and they have the same problems in regard to our most benighted system of handling cargo in Dublin port and elsewhere. They also deal with the same banks and, on the whole, they probably pay the same rates of interest; they also have the same transport costs and frequently pay higher rates to their workers. However, they are expanding and increasing employment while their indigenous domestic counterparts have contracted. Why? A big part of the answer lies in the simple observation that the foreign sector in the Irish manufacturing industry are, in a very real sense, much nearer to the markets for their products than the indigenous sector. There are drawbacks in that, there are managers of branches of multinationals here who do not have to make any real decisions about where they will sell their products, about the design of the product or how much they produce because somebody in their European headquarters makes all those strategic decisions for them. Through the structure of the companies they are much more closely in touch with the markets for their products than an indigenous Irish firm tends to be. That suggests, if we are looking at a reorientation of our industrial policy, that we should seek ways of getting indigenous Irish firms into closer contact with the market for their products. It also suggests that we should reorient the contents of our industrial packages and specifically direct much more of it to market contact, penetration and knowledge of markets. We made a start on that — I think it was in 1984 — when we began to implement some of the recommendations in the Telesis report. However, it is fair to say that we should have gone further. I will not go into the reasons for not doing so because it might be regarded by some of my left wing friends in the House as a rather contentious thing to say. The lesson, eight years later, is that we should have gone much further than we did in reorienting industrial development, assistance and promotion packages towards contact with markets, penetration and knowledge of markets.

That seems to fit in very well with the recommendations made in this report on developing competitive advantage, moving into niche markets, identifying niche oportunities and clustering firms. If I had one philisophical criticism to make of the report it is that it still suffers from the old Irish disease of assuming that Governments can determine everything, I do not think they can, perhaps that is a cavil.

Page 21 of the report stated that the group have based their recommendation in relation to the need for change in industrial policy on a series of pillars, one is: "a view that the economy needs much more market led and production oriented enterprises". Another statement says: "Irish industrial performance must be built on national sources of competitive advantage and in this respect the role of Irish managed companies still needs special attention". A further statement says: "too little effort in Ireland is going into directly productive activities that are product oriented and market driven". There is a great deal more. It says that policy should be directed towards helping to identify leverage points of competitive advantage and so on. We need to take our industrial policy and reorient and recast it on the basis of contact with the market. Until we do that our indigenous sector will continue to be in very serious trouble.

I would argue the case for a deeper level of discussion between Government and other partners, including Members of this House but also the people involved in business.

It is all very fine to produce a report such as this which analyses the problems and makes recommendations and say that we should develop competitive advantage, identify niche markets and set up clusters of firms that interact with each other in order to make the most of the markets. If I have any criticism to make of this report it is simply that it does not tell you how to define a niche market. That would be an unfair criticism. The people who know how to develop niche markets are out in the marketplace developing them. There is a body of knowledge in both the indigenous sector and particularly in the multinational sector that needs to be tapped into to find out how to do that and to find out how to cast policy in this House in a way that will encourage more people to think that way.

I look forward, without any great hope, to the day, whether in six months or a year's time, when statements will again be made on this report and the Minister will say that because of what Deputies Lawlor and Rabbitte, or, God forbid, Deputy Dukes said on that day we have made the following changes in industrial policy. That is what we should do and I again invite the Government to take a more constructive view of the jobs forum that seems to be evident up to now.

Wexford): The Industry Policy Review Group were established by the Minister for Industry and Commerce in June 1991. The group's objective was to review and make recommendations on industrial policy in Ireland and on public policy generally as it affected industrial development. Where possible, it was also to identify policies and measures to be adopted which would form the basis for the development of this sector over the medium to long term, with a view to increasing employment and wealth creation. There was widespread agreement at that time that a root and branch review and analysis of our industrial policy was needed.

The Culliton report, published on 10 January, contains over 60 substantive recommendations on taxation, infrastructure, education, enterprise and technology, institutional functions and the food industry, including fish processing. The adoption and implementation or otherwise of these recommendations has been substantively dealt with by my colleague, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy O'Malley, this morning.

A great many reports which analyse the problems and made recommendations were produced in the past, but many of them had been gathering dust in different Departments. I welcome the fact that the Government have already announced that they accept the broad thrust of the Culliton report and have put in place a task force to look at the report and make recommendations and then report back as quickly as possible. That shows the commitment of the Taoiseach and the Government to having this report implemented with a view to creating jobs and setting in place a new industrial policy for the future.

My specific concern, however, is with the food industry, which is recognised as being by far the most important component of the indigenous sector of Irish industry. We have often stressed this fact which is obvious from the key characteristics of the industry. It is largely Irish owned; it has high profit retention within Ireland; it is highly integrated into the Irish economy; it accounts for almost one-third of the gross output of all manufacturing industry in Ireland and it accounts for almost 30 per cent of the employment of Irish owned manufacturing firms and over 20 per cent of total manufacturing employment. Perhaps most importantly for a trading nation like Ireland, it accounts for about 20 per cent of Irish exports, with total food exports exceeding food imports by a factor of almost three to one.

Since our accession to the European Community there has been a strong emphasis on the production of commodity foods such as beef and dairy products with a significant volume of output being placed in intervention. This situation did not motivate the food industry to improve and develop the marketing of our food products on international markets in an aggressive fashion. Sufficient recognition was not given to the need to meet the growing demands for added value consumer ready products while the option of intervention at high levels was available. With the increasing drive by the Community to rationalise the cost of intervention it was vital that the industry adapted to the new demands of today's consumers in order to gain a competitive position on world markets.

It is not surprising therefore that the Government devoted special attention under the Programme for National Recovery to the expansion of the food and drink industry, where significant job opportunities and increased wealth could be achieved. Government policy over the past five years has been clearly directed towards restoring confidence and investment in our agriculture and food industries in order to develop the significant job opportunities and exploit the potential for wealth in the sector.

The policy has already generated major investment programmes in the beef, pigmeat and dairy sectors in particular. Government policy being implemented through the various State agencies is clearly showing results. It is emphasising the importance of the market-led approach and is impressing on companies the critical need for them to have a clear strategy for developing their markets. As a result, the State agencies are now targeting their grant assistance towards those enterprising and ambitious companies who are committed to providing quality Irish products for our export markets.

Following the Programme for National Recovery, the IDA, in consultation with my Department, drew up a strategy for the food and drink industry, published in December 1987. The central objective of the strategy is to maximise the contribution of the industry to the economy over the five years 1988-1992 by the adoption of a market-led approach to the development of an export based internationally competitive food industry. The strategy set detailed sectoral objectives which are being implemented.

The general approach of grant giving State agencies has been to support companies of adequate scale to compete internationally; support smaller specialised firms with market-led products; increase the promotion of support devoted to marketing and research and development; and to support the development of joint technology agreements and other types of strategic alliance. Only projects which can help meet the objectives of the strategy are selected for grant aid.

The Department's own policy review group report, published in December 1990, endorsed this approach used by the grant giving State agencies. That report also identified the weaknesses of the industry as, inter alia, (1) insufficient scale of Irish companies; and (2) the need for investment in marketing and product development, that is, widen product range, organic products, branded niche products.

The report highlighted the need to increase scale and investment in marketing and product development as two key objectives for the future. The other key objectives related to promotion of Ireland as a producer of high quality and safe food. Ireland is regarded as environmentally friendly, with a clean, safe, pollution free environment which is ideal for producing products for the European market. It is recommended that State agencies should bear these objectives in mind when giving grants. However, it should not be forgotten that the key to success for the food industry will be the quality of the strategic decisions made by the industry and in its adaptability in reacting to change.

What has been the impact of this concerted strategy? Over the past four years much structural change has taken place in the Irish food sector in association with an extensive modernisation of food processing facilities. This has been assisted by major EC aid from the FEOGA Guidance Fund and substantial capital grants from the IDA. For example, in the three year period since the reform of the Structural Fund was undertaken — January 1989-November 1991 — over £44 million in FEOGA processing and marketing aid has been made available to the Irish food industry. This was on a total programme of investment of £113 million, towards which national aid of almost £20 million was also provided. This investment has resulted in substantial upgrading of plant, increased processing capacity and greatly enhanced food quality and hygiene controls. The net result of this strategic investment is that by and large Irish processing facilities for the major food sectors compare favourably with those of our competitors.

A Community Support Framework — CSF — for the agri-food industry was agreed with the EC Commission in December 1991. The CSF is based on sectoral development plans submitted to the Commission by my Department. It covers the period 1991-93 and provides for aid of £41 million on total investment. Immediately following its adoption, FEOGA aid of £23 million was awarded under the CSF to 35 projects involving the processing and marketing of agricultural products.

Altogether in 1991 42 projects were awarded FEOGA aid of £27 million. These involve a total investment of £74 million towards which national aid of £9 million was also approved. In addition in 1991 national aid of £13 million approximately on investments totalling £85 million was awarded to a number of other projects in the food and drinks sector which although not eligible for FEOGA aid will utilise significant quantities of Irish agricultural raw materials.

The importance of FEOGA grant aid is perhaps most obvious in the pigmeat sector. In 1987 special arrangements, including an increased level of grant aid of up to 50 per cent of eligible expenditure, were made to enable a radical rationalisation plan which had been drawn up for that industry and has now been implemented. In the period 1987-91 FEOGA aid of £37 million was granted on a total investment of £80 million. This compared to the previous period of 1982-86 when FEOGA aid of £11 million was granted on a total investment of £29 million. There is no doubt that the special arrangements strongly encouraged private investment which would not have otherwise taken place. As a result we now have in this sector modern centralised slaughtering plants of a size capable of challenging international competition.

The broad argument here is that Structural Funds, when put to effective use as has been done over the last number of years, can bring about substantial change within targeted industrial sectors. The Government will continue to endeavour to maximise EC funds for the Irish food industry.

I support and agree broadly with the Culliton report's conclusions on the impact of the major forces currently at work in the food industry both at national and international levels. The industry faces many challenges as is clear from the ongoing debates on Common Agricultural Policy, GATT, the environment, the safety of food, the growing concentration of food sales in the retail multiples and the advent of the Single Market.

Food producers and processors in Ireland are facing key questions, in the light of these forces, on what, when and how food should be produced in the future so that their operations remain viable. Their answers to these questions will be significant, not only for them, but for the Irish economy and in turn for Irish workers and for the protection of their jobs.

The Government having invested so heavily in modern food processing facilities must, in return, demand a significant amount of development from that industry. Such producers and processors must look at the marketplace, the untapped potential of the UK market, the 320 million people within the EC where we now have an opportunity of selling our product. They must produce new, wide-ranging quality food products, be in a position to market those products by interlinking with appropriate companies within the EC if necessary and getting quality Irish environmentally friendly food products on to the supermarket shelves for sale to EC housewives. Through the investment programme I believe we have developed food products and food companies that can do that with the correct approach and the correct strategy. I urge them not to rest on their laurels but to get out into the marketplace and sell our valuable Irish food products, thus creating jobs for our young people at home.

I welcome in broad measure the analysis and recommendations of the Culliton report. However, those who have read the report closely will see that the questions involved are much more complex than simply setting dates for implementation; some of them involve dovetailing with current activities and commitments; others would require specific Government decisions or new legislation while we need to clarify the exact meaning and scope of some of the recommendations.

Obviously, the Culliton report itself and the consultancy reports on which it is based will need to be examined in the fullest detail by the Department of Agriculture and Food before any specific commitment can be made in relation to food. As the House has been told, a task force on which the Department of Agriculture and Food is represented has been established to follow up on the implementation of the recommendations in the report. In advance of anything which may emerge from this process I will confine myself to some general remarks about the report and its recommendations.

It is clear from reading the food industry section of the report that many of conclusions reached and recommendations made are not new — a fact which the authors acknowledge in their report. For example, emphasis is placed on the need to lessen dependence on commodity and intervention trading and on State and EC capital grants as well as on the need for a market-led approach, scale, greater product diversification, research, import substitution, attention to safety, hygiene standards and quality and capitalisation on our good environmental image.

These are all issues which my Department have previously considered and addressed in the report of its policy review group. Indeed, many of the recommendations have been an integral part of Government and State agency policy for the past few years. The fact that it is now found necessary to reiterate these recommendations should be taken as an indication that development of the food industry is not something which can be achieved overnight and that there is a need for constant evaluation, re-statement and reorientation of food policy.

One of the impressions that the report does convey is that the farming sector is over-protected. The report indicates that Irish farmers have not had to operate seriously in competitive markets and have been able to rely on the State or the EC to guarantee their level of income. I contend that this statement is not entirely correct. In the pigs and poultry sectors, for instance, where there is little or no internal Community market support and where competition is quite keen, Irish producers have operated successfully. In relation to guaranteeing income, the Community has had an objective of guaranteeing approximate price levels for the main farm products. That objective has been only partially achieved and even if it had been fully achieved, product prices are only one element of farm income.

Furthermore, the negotiating stances already formally adopted by Government on both Common Agricultural Policy reform and GATT have been guided by the overall requirements of the economy and not "narrow sectoral interests".

These comments do not obviate the need to move away from intervention on which we know some elements of the processing sector have come to over-rely. Intervention, however, is an extremely important market support for Irish and European farmers particularly in periods of market imbalance. But in the longer term, the message we have been sending out is that both producers and processors must become more market-led in their approach.

There are four key recommendations from the food industry point of view. First, the report attributes failure to draw up cohesive action programmes to, (a) differences of interest between producers and processors and between commodity processors and the consumer foods sector and (b) the fragmentation of the State policy formulation and support systems. In order to overcome these problems it recommends that overall responsibility for the formulation of a national food policy should be allocated to one Government Department; that this would include such areas as marketing, promotion, product development, health and safety, research and development primary production and training and that, given the breadth of the food industry, its strong and necessary linkages with agriculture and the critical role of FEOGA funds in the development of the industry, such responsibility should rest with the Minister for Agriculture and Food.

If this recommendation is accepted, there would be a need for negotiation and discussion given the number of Departments with responsibility for the food industry involved, including the Department of Industry and Commerce and the Department of the Marine, as well as the State agencies. We must look at ways in which the Government can formulate a national strategy and food policy for the overall good of the industry. I have no doubt that the Departments involved, be they the Department of Agriculture and Food, the Department of Industry and Commerce or the Department of the Marine, as well as the State agencies, will work together to ensure a national food policy is drawn up as quickly as possible to develop the food sector to its full potential and create much needed jobs.

Last summer I was the only spokesperson on industry to make a substantial submission to the Review Group on Industrial Policy. During the preceding two years, as the record of the House will show, I had consistently pursued the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy O'Malley, to radically overhaul industrial policy. No other party took time out to draft a submission to the Culliton review group. I am pleased to acknowledge that many of the proposals that we put forward in our submission entitled "A Framework for Industrial Development" were taken on board to a greater or lesser extent by the Culliton review group.

Those who are now most vocal on the jobs forum controversy either did not recognise the significance of the Culliton review or felt they had nothing to contribute or simply do not attach a very high priority to policy formulation. In a Dáil where superficial surefootedness in the daily review that is the Order of Business passes muster for political leadership it is not surprising that parties devote so little time to policy formulation. As the late John Kelly said "politics in Ireland is a great spectator sport" but it is clear that many of the spectators are wearying of performing politicians more interested in sound bites than in substance.

Why have the other Opposition parties chosen not to publish their version of an industrial strategy for the nineties? Fine Gael seem fearful of displaying their wares lest the Government steal their clothes while the Labour Party hide their light under a bushel in the apparent belief that "no policies means no rows". If we approach the proposed Oireachtas committee on employment in this fashion, whatever faint hope the original jobs forum concept stirred in the breasts of the unemployed will be snuffed out.

I would like to comment briefly on the argument or debate which took place on the question of a jobs forum and where it stands now. Deputy Taylor severely indicted the attitude of Fine Gael for not coming on board in relation to the proposed Oireachtas committee and the terms of reference as they now stand. My party did not shoot down the Oireachtas committee as proposed but we are very unhappy with a number of aspects of it.

The major point identified by Fine Gael is a very substantial and serious one, the question of accountability of Ministers and their attendance at the committee. The question raised by Deputy Dukes is a particularly important one. He asked whether this debate will advance policy in any significant way. From that point of view, the fact that Ministers would be required to pay attention to the business of the proposed all-party committee and would have to be present to account for their area of policy seems to be a very important dimension of the proposed all-party committee. I regret that the Government have not managed to take this aspect on board.

Having said that, I do not think this House can afford to be seen burying what is left of the concept of a jobs forum. Given the scale of the unemployment problem, it is incumbent upon us, as politicians, to address this problem and to be seen addressing it. For this reason, I hope the all-party committee will get down to work as quickly as possible. I urge the Government to rethink this critical dimension, the attendance and accountability of Ministers to that all-party committee.

Irish industrial policy has a pattern of changing too slowly. We clung too long to protectionism, then to a policy of reliance on attracting foreign investment and now to a policy of over generous subsidisation of both native and overseas industry. As long ago as 1982 the Telesis report rudely awakened us from our reveries when we mistook job targets for job creation and advised that we focus more directly on the development of indigenous firms and industries. That advice was resented and resisted at the time. Deputy Lawlor dealt with this very effectively in his comments on the Industrial Development Authority. Why has it taken us almost a decade of crises to properly address the conclusions of the Telesis report?

It is all very well for the Minister, Deputy O'Malley, to say that the proposals of the Culliton review group go far beyond the conclusions of the Telesis report. Of course they do, but it is too little, too late and has only come after a decade of endemic unemployment. Somehow we seem to have been almost incapable of acting on the proposals of several different reports that have achieved a broad measure of consensus. The Culliton report acknowledges that a successful industrial policy that will carry us into the next century would comprise several distinct strands. I should say it is a more radical and interventionist document than one might have expected from some of its authors.

A comparison with our own submission shows that many familiar themes have been underwritten by the Culliton review team: the development of clusters of firms rather than individual firms; the replacement of grants with equity stakes, although the concept of strategic share-holdings is not mentioned; the idea of a task force for implementing the strategy, although this is not quite the same as the idea we put forward; rationalisation of State agencies, although, again, they do not go quite as far as we suggested in our document; the for worker participation, although the Culliton team identified this in the introduction they did not develop it subsequently which is regrettable; a key role for the State commercial sector in industrial development; freedom of the State commercial sector from routine, political or bureaucratic interference; elimination of hidden subsidies from the State sector; the need for an integrated comprehensive planning and implementation strategy; the need for an industrial policy at EC level; the need for partnership rather than confrontation between the social partners, although this is mentioned in passing rather than, as we recommended, institutionalised; the over-emphasis in the current business community on milking the system rather than investigating productivity.

Areas given a lot of attention by the review group but not in our submission include taxation, infrastructure, training and technology. While the role of some of the taxation proposals in employment creation is open to question, I would generally agree with the thrust of removing reliefs. The infrastructural proposals are, for the most part, non-contentious, although Deputy Lawlor raised some very pertinent questions that require answers in terms of our overall lack of decisiveness in this area.

The criticism of FÁS is well targeted, as is the lack of sufficient and sufficiently focused support for R & D. I also strongly support the attitude to Common Agricultural Policy reform portrayed in the report. Deputy Dukes raised some very important questions about the relevance of FÁS and whether we are getting value for money. That is an area that requires serious scrutiny in its own right. I do not know if any Deputies have had an opportunity to look at the supporting documents for this aspect, but it makes sobering reading.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce is not in the House. He is a man who displays great impatience with Opposition spokespersons. I would have thought this debate was sufficiently important for him to be here. Having praised the general thrust of the report, I have a number of criticisms which I have no doubt the Minister of State will bring sharply to his attention.

The main criticism I would make of the report is that it fails to address the political dimension of getting the recommendations implemented. A number of speakers have dealt with this. This includes how to overcome bureaucratic jealousies within the Civil Service and the inability of politicians to face up to sectional interests. It is also necessary to get across-the-board political acceptance of the severity of the situation and support for radical action to deal with it. This is one of the necessities for a preliminary employment forum, such as we have argued for since 1987. The Government should rethink that because one of the merits of this all party committee is that we commit all the parties in this House to taking action on an overall strategic plan.

While we may all come in here and praise the way the Culliton report has dealt with some of the issues, when it comes to implementing them and taking the flak that will come from implementing some of them, those of us not in Government will back away from it. Tax reform, for instance, has not been dealt with to any significant extent in the debate, but if we are seriously going for the removal of reliefs and the radical review of taxation suggested in the report, without a political mandate from all parties in this House it will not happen.

I am not sure if it will be possible to get the action needed if policy formulation is left with the Department of Industry and Commerce because of the range of other relevant Departments involved. Hence, the need for a national industrial development council, such as we have advocated in our document. A New Agenda for Industry, answerable, not to any individual Department but to the Oireachtas, and representing the various interest groups concerned.

The three year task force proposed by the review group is hardly compatible with their view that a new industrial strategy must necessarily be based on taking a long term perspective. It simply is not possible to put institutional changes in place and them walk away. Hence the need for a statutory supervisory council as we have suggested, and an on-going task force system such as we have proposed.

I have grave doubts about the idea of having separate agencies for indigenous and foreign investment. I listened carefully to Deputy Lawlor's remarks on this point. There was food for thought in his remarks. If we go along with what he suggested, it seems to give up on the idea of developing linkages between foreign and local firms. The search for foreign firms should, at least to a considerable extent, be linked with an overall strategy for national industrial development. The suggestion that co-ordination can be achieved through interlocking board membership is very weak.

I am also perturbed by the idea that the indigenous agency should operate through regional boards. This is also hardly compatible with the notion of a national strategy for industrial development. There is certainly a need for a regional dimension to industrial policy, as the report seems to suggest.

More minor criticisms I would make include the following: first, having raised the issue of industrial policy at EC level, in the context of rationalising national aids to industry, the report could have expanded on it a bit more. Second, there is a need to say a lot more about the need to build up the organisational capabilities of firms if they are to succeed in international markets. The question of firms' size and corporate structure are largely ignored in the report. Third, in discussing the deficiencies of the use of tax reliefs to attract foreign investment, the report amazingly fails to mention that this encourages transfer price manipulation, which in turn discourages the development of local linkages, as it suits transnational corporations — TNCs — to maintain international linkages to facilitate transfer pricing. Because of the rate of seepage of repatriation of profits to the country of origin, we know that is the fundamental point.

Fourth, the report also fails to note that it may be part of the general strategy of TNCs to split up production among various countries thereby hindering the development of local linkages. Fifth, in relation to tax reform, the report failed to mention the need to more effectively collect taxes already owing under the existing system. Sixth, regarding the financing of industrial development, the report could have given some information on how industrial expansion is financed at the moment, apart from simply saying that there is a shortage of equity capital, which is not convincing, given the uptake of the recent privatisation share issues.

Seventh, the appendix on the food industry fails to identify strongly enough the major problems in the beef industry relating both to beef producers and beef processors. While the need for integration is acknowledged, a lot more needs to be said about the deficiencies among the basic producers, the farmers. A major input is needed here in education and training, the formation of producer groups and the elimination of the cowboy element.

Eighth, the report notes the potential problems of leaving responsibility for the food industry with the Department of Agriculture and Food, which are too farmer-orientated, but then avoids making a recommendation as to where responsibiity should lie. I was not entirely convinced by the response of Deputy Browne, the Minister of State at the Department of Food on that point. Representing the Department of Agriculture and Food, one would expect him to make such a rebuttal. But it was not a very effective one.

Consideration should be given to the establishment of a farm and food development authority, outside departmental control, with the remit to develop the production, processing and marketing chain in an integrated way. The review group's proposal for an integrated national food industry development plan to be prepared by an expert group is a good one. However, the problem of implementation is ignored. The farm and food development authority I suggested would have the tasks of both formulating and implementing this plan.

We need much more productive enterprise in Ireland, what we do not need is corrupt business or parasitic business. Corruption is probably inevitable in an economy which places such a premium on the speculative rather than on the productive. In a recent debate on the Fine Gael motion on unemployment I said:

I am not too bothered whether enterprise is public or private, native or foreign, as long as firms create secure, well paid jobs, from an activity that is socially, economically and environmentally desirable.

To sustain this, they need to be not only enterprising, but efficient and democratic as well; and therein lies the difficulty. Where are such firms to be found? How are they created?

We have some very good examples but we also have examples that show that they do not recognise what constitutes a good company in this sense. I would favour a higher role for commercial public enterprise and would regard privatisation as a distraction from job creation. The Greencore example showed what a distraction privatisation is. The question of ownership, while important, is no longer the main issue, if it ever was. The issue is how and why an organisation or particular enterprise company succeed in motivating their workforce and fulfilling their objectives, be they social or economic, and who benefit from this success.

If we have had to wait this long for what Culliton has summarised and put between the covers of this book, so be it. It is imperative that the critical question of lack of decisiveness, which Deputy Lawlor identified, be addressed. Otherwise we will use the proposed all-party committee as a talking shop to come up with more analyses and to commission more consultants. At the end of the day what action will be taken? That is the critical question.

This report highlights a crisis — and I use that word advisedly. The report states that the economic challenge of the 1990s is the search for an adequate response to the unemployment crisis as the most urgent national economic priority. That fact is acknowledged by all parties. On the basis of that acknowledgment it is essential to establish an all-party jobs forum and to stop the shenanigans about the terms of reference. Let us get this all-party body going. I make a particular appeal, not in any spirit of recrimination, to the Fine Gael Party. The public are looking for leadership from this House and they will not tolerate any person or any party who does not respond to the crisis and give the necessary leadership.

I do not suggest that the establishment of a jobs forum would bring about an overnight solution. The facts are so serious that I would be a charlatan to suggest that. It could, however, be a psychological factor in giving some leadership, particularly to the unemployed and their representatives, who should be represented on the forum itself or on committees of the forum. How that is to be achieved should be a matter for the day to day working of the forum as long as its terms of reference are sufficiently flexible ab initio to enable all strands to be involved and to make a contribution.

The question of ministerial participation is another element which is frustrating the establishment of the forum. I see Deputy Richard Bruton nodding his head. Let us get away from that nonsense. I am making a genuine appeal that this nonsense of setting preconditions regarding the presence or otherwise of Ministers should be cut out. A political football should not be made of this issue. The Fine Gael Party are doing themselves a disservice by not cooperating with the general spirit of urgency that pervades our community, both inside and outside this House, in regard to this matter.

The report rightly states that there is a crisis. The magnitude of the task we face is evident when one considers that the net requirement for the next eight years until the end of the decade is the establishment of an extra 25,000 jobs each year. That is the target. We are not anywhere near it at present. This is the objective we must set ourselves to achieve. We can give some psychological leadership by establishing the forum as a matter of expedition and urgency. We can make the terms of reference flexible and work out the details as we go along to expand and intensify the activities of the forum.

A factor which I welcome, although it was absent from the opening speech by the Minister, is the comprehensive approach adopted in the report. The Minister spoke in his capacity as Minister for Industry and Commerce but the report embraces all Government Departments and local authorities in the devising of a comprehensive approach.

The Government could do something substantial by establishing the priority of the education and training systems in co-operation with our European partners. This is an area in which the Government can take a lead. The report lays much emphasis on the private sector, equity involvement by the IDA and perhaps the banks, and devising a taxation system to provide greater incentives for investment. All that is geared towards private industry. The main area in which the Government can help to create a positive environment is that of education and training.

The Culliton report is devastating in its indictment of our training and education systems, stating that, despite its enviable academic standards, the Irish education and training system has serious gaps when it comes to technical and vocational education. It goes on in greater detail to identify the serious gaps which exist and quite bluntly states that a higher priority must be attached to the acquisition of usable and marketable skills. It emphasises that there should be a close involvement with industry in the development of a high quality and respected stream of technical and vocational education, with a new curriculum. There is a blunt statement that the provision of training for work is inadequate and that new structures are needed. A recommendation is made that an institutional re-organisation of FÁS should be instituted so as to emphasise industry-related training rather than short term measures to deal with unemployment problems. The report calls for positive Government intervention in devising an interrelated programme between our education and training systems, geared to economic requirements in regard to jobs.

This relates directly to the thinking that has developed in the European Community recently in regard to the Maastricht Treaty. A new section on education is contained in the Treaty, which puts education clearly on the Community agenda. This follows a suggestion by NESC that education generally should be grant-aided from Brussels. I recommend the Government to consider placing to the forefront of Government policy the development of human resources at every level of education and training with a view to positive aid from the EC Structural Funds.

The whole cohesion concept should relate to social as well as regional disparities and should have positive human as well as infrastructural connotations. When talking about Structural Funds we are not just talking about roads or communications but also about human resources, the biggest single asset in this country. The resources should be geared towards creating jobs. There should be an integrated educational and training system geared towards training for the jobs that are available. A suitable example in this respect is the German education and training system which has worked for many years. Integrated into the whole German economic scene are educational and training programmes in which not only the State is involved but also industry and trade unions. There is apprenticeship in every area. Social expenditure under organisations such as FÁS is geared towards apprenticeship and training for jobs that are available rather than towards fulfilling short term requirements. There is an overall macroeconomic plan which is geared towards jobs for the future. Too much of our educational system relates to academic subjects and achievements, to courses, degrees and diplomas that do not get people jobs.

The recommendations in the Culliton report relating to this area are very important and the Government should take them on board very quickly. As the report rightly emphasises, a review is taking place at present in regard to the Structural Funds under the Maastricht Treaty. It is important in that review to place emphasis on the administration of Structural Funds, which the report says have heretofore been too narrowly and rigidly defined. We now have a chance in the upcoming review of the Structural Funds to examine the areas in which these funds should be spent. It is not good enough to go to Brussels with the single view, important as it is, of increasing the level of Structural Funds, we must also have a developmental attitude with regard to guidelines for the future. If we are going to get increased Structural Funds it is important that we know how they will be spent.

The report specifies that we should consider how the funds will be spent within our community and what our priorities are. When seeking increased funds from the European Community we must be able to tell the Community what our priorities are, that we want the money to train and educate our people to equip them with what Deputy Dukes referred to as marketable skills for the jobs that will be available over the next ten years. Our whole training and educational system should be geared towards that objective. We should tell the Community that our requirement is to build up our greatest resource which is our human resource. This is what the Irish Government have itemised as our contribution. It is important for Ireland and for the European Community that our people, through training and education, acquire the skills that will be required in industry and services throughout the nineties and the next century. That recommendation is central to this report.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce, in his brief this morning, did not advert sufficiently to that area which is all important. The link between education and training schemes such as FÁS should be strongly emphasised. Training and education should be considered as one unit. We should not comprehend them as being under separate Departments, which is the case at present. Training and education systems under the Department of Labour and the Department of Education should be considered in an overall developmental plan aimed at producing marketable skills for our young people in the future. It is in that context that we should seek further Structural Funds under the Maastricht Treaty. We should then be in a position to make a policy declaration to the Community that this is where the Irish priority lies and this is the area where funds are required for the future.

There are other aspects of interest in the report. I am glad that the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment is in the House at present because the report places emphasis on the importance of the environment. It states the need for co-operation and integration of policies in regard to the environment and planning generally so as to ensure that environmental or planning policies do not run counter to industrial policies. As in the case of education and training programmes, environmental and planning programmes should be integrated, with a view to breaking down bureaucratic divisions. They should be regarded as one package relating to jobs. I know that conflicts in this area cannot be entirely eliminated but as far as possible we need to resolve potential conflicts that may arise from interpretation of legislation, regulations or inter-departmental priorities. If our priority is jobs we should concentrate on environmental planning, town planning and educational and training programmes under one comprehensive policy.

Our objective is job creation, and we should not allow restrictions under any heading to frustrate that objective. As the report states, the overall promotion of the environment is a fundamental bedrock for producing jobs of the right kind. There should be no bureaucratic conflicts or divisions in this area. The whole question of breaking down administrative restrictions and differences between local authorities, the Department of the Environment and the new Environmental Protection Agency is very important in providing a common structure for job creation. There should be nothing inherent under any of these headings to frustrate job creation.

I welcome the fact that action is being taken as a result of this report. The Government have established a task force under Dr. Moriarity to examine the implementation of the Culliton report recommendations by various Departments. I am glad that the task force will report in May — only two months away — on the implementation of those recommendations and on the changes that should be mandated by the Government on foot of that report. That is the kind of progress I like to see.

Above all else, this report and the urgency for job creation should not be frustrated by inter-departmental policy differences. We should take an overall approach through the whole structure of Government and all Government Departments. We should examine our whole association with the EC via the Structural Fund, which is designed to help us develop various projects, we should assess clearly what our priorities are and we should then devote our energies and finances in that direction.

I have been disappointed by the contributions of Government speakers to the debate. The contributions made by Ministers bear all of the hallmarks of the kind of thinking that has led us to the position in which our performance as an economy for the people for whom we should try to provide jobs has in the past 20 years been nothing short of pathetic. The Ministers who have spoken in the debate still seem to be trapped in the confined thinking of their own Departments. They are missing the meaning of the whole concept of making jobs the top priority. In Deputy Lenihan's contribution he adverted to the blinkered approach of Ministers within their Departments.

Fine Gael have long advocated the idea of a jobs forum. For the benefit of the Deputy who has just resumed his seat, I should like to point out that there is nothing cynical and no attempt to achieve some kind of political gain in the insistence of Fine Gael that the terms of reference offered to date are not adequate for the task. To the contrary, Fine Gael believe firmly that if jobs are to be lifted to the top of the priority list then there will have to be a very significant break with the past and the kind of structures that have failed to deliver in the employment area.

The participation of party leaders, for both Government and Opposition sides, in a jobs forum would display once and for all our commitment to come to grips with the objective of creating a working Ireland for those who look to us for solutions to their employment problems. That participation would also symbolise the willingness of parties right across the House to make choices that favour jobs, even though many of those choices will be unpopular in the short term and many of them mean sacrificing other desirable aims that we as politicians would like to advocate.

Fine Gael have also insisted on the participation of the social partners and the unemployed as equal partners in the jobs forum, as people who would sit down together and debate the needs and then come up with solutions. To have the social partners and the unemployed take up some kind of a secondary role on the outside of a committee is not what they have sought. It is clear from the statements of those who are intimately involved with the unemployed that they do not recognise the Government's committee as the response to the forum for which they have campaigned for so long. It is critical that we allow inside the citadel of economic opportunity those who are unemployed, those who have been denied access to participation in all of the Programme for Economic and Social Progress processes and the processes that went before Programme for Economic and Social Progress.

It is vital that whatever is established by the House as a forum to confront the unemployment problem will not merely be a group that will pile further analysis and examination on the pile of 96 reports on the problem of employment in this country, sectoral and otherwise. We do not need more analysis; we need a group who will confront decisions about what will be done and produce an action plan on the way in which we will act on those decisions.

To have such a forum but leave the key decision-makers outside of it would be ludicrous. A group of politicians made up of Government backbenchers and Opposition spokespeople cannot be expected to make the decisions that are needed on the piles of analysis. If the problem is to be confronted seriously then the decision-makers must be at the table. In this State the decision-makers are those 15 people who sit closeted in Cabinet rooms. To have the Cabinet Ministers outside of the forum would be a failure in responding to this crisis of such enormous proportions.

I believe firmly that Fine Gael are right in saying that the Government are not producing the right approach in the committee they propose. We are right to stick to our guns, because this issue is critical for the country. I have been disappointed at the Government's approach. Their response to the initiative has been much more one of displaying concern that they are at least responding and are not seen to be throwing out a proposal. The Government do not recognise what I believe to be a great opportunity to lift our whole community on to the common purpose of creating a working Ireland.

A back-bench committee with no decision-makers cannot make the decisions required. Civil servants answering within the narrow confines of their Department cannot do that. We are told that Ministers are answerable and that they display that by answering questions in the Dáil. Anyone who has sat through Question Time knows that that is no response to producing decisions on unemployment.

I have sat on many committees of this House and I have known those committees to produce worthy reports, reports which have not influenced decisions. The only committees of the House that I have sat on which have influenced decisions were those in which a Minister was also at the table. Most recently a committee on the Adoption Bill, a committee which included the Minister, produced within weeks decisions that appeared to be likely to be held up for months, if not years. I believe sincerely and I am convinced that Fine Gael are right in insisting that the jobs forum must be of a radically different structure from that which the Government have proposed.

The Government must be becoming so used to the extent and scale of unemployment that they forget the corrosive impact unemployment is having on so many families in this State. As we all know, today there are 280,000 people unemployed. To understand the problem that figure has to be broken down. Half of our unskilled workers, those who do not have the decent life chances that many of us are lucky enough to get, are unemployed. In some of the deprived areas of this city, with which the Minister of State is familiar, 70 per cent of the workforce is unemployed, half of those householders have no earner whatsoever; no one in the house is producing an income other than from social welfare.

When examining the unemployment figures, one also recognises how closely linked is the unemployment problem with low educational achievement, low educational achievement in an educational system that is stacked against those who come from a background of disadvantage.

One must also examine the youth aspect of the unemployment figures. In the past 18 months the number of unemployed under the age of 25 years has grown by 48 per cent or, on a seasonally adjusted basis, 36 per cent. The recent census return shows the huge haemorrhage from the impact on our young people at school, those who in 1981 were school children aged ten to 14. Where are they now? The figures released in the census show where they are — a quarter of the class of 1981 have already emigrated, and they are in their early twenties only; another quarter are unemployed. These are grim figures. To respond to an employment crisis of this nature by establishing another committee of the House is just not being awake to the reality of what underlines those 280,000 unemployed people.

We must thank Mr. Jim Culliton for having brought this report to our attention. Much of it is not new but is very timely and presented in a way that creates maximum impact, displaying how policies over the past 20 years have failed grimly.

I will briefly span a few of their group's findings which must wake us out of our complacency. For example, the report shows that Dublin, compared with the remainder of the country, has lost 29 per cent of its industrial employment in the past 15 years. While industrial employment has grown outside of the city, Dublin has been losing out. The report shows also that our energy companies, controlled by Government, are imposing a cost handicap of £80 million on our economy. For example, the report shows that Irish companies are hopelessly less profitable than their foreign counterparts, with 4 per cent profitability only on sales in Irish companies and eight times that percentage within foreign companies. It is also shown that high savings we have enjoyed here make virtually no impact on the small-scale businesses to which we look in the hope of new employment opportunities. Neither have the financial sector played a developmental role in producing opportunities on the part of small companies. We see that the tax incentives in our system are geared almost invariably at those with the lowest risk investments while people willing to take chances or risks in creating employment are clobbered.

The report shows that 60 per cent of the food on our supermarket shelves is imported, and illustrates the extent to which intervention has dominated our food industry, has destroyed its capacity to produce the type of line-up of products that can command decent prices for farmers and get onto supermarket shelves.

The report also shows very grim figures in relation to our training activities. For example the report quite plainly says that the £200 million that goes to FÁS, or its attendant activity, is driven by the impetus of collaring funds from the European Community and reducing the number on Live Register. It does not intrinsically produce the sort of training we need; for example 10 per cent only of FÁS activity going to improving the skills of those at work. Indeed a quarter only of the unemployed, supposed to have been helped by FÁS, actually emerge from their courses with any employable skills, the remainder do not have such skills at the end of their so-called help from FÁS.

If we genuinely want to make jobs our top priority we must break with the past in a fundamental way not only in this House and in the jobs forum. We must also confront the deep-rooted barriers here to enterprise. It is interesting that Culliton put on the very front of his report —"We need a spirit of self-reliance..." What has happened for years here is that politicians from all sides of this House have fostered precisely the opposite, have fostered caution, fostered the safety and status of owning property, of having some academic badge one can hang around one's neck, of holding down a pensionable job in the Civil Service of owning some restricted licence to trade. These have been the badges of success in our community that politicians have fostered and peddled.

We have added layer upon layer to our taxation and welfare system, to our licensing and grants systems, schemes of one sort or another. We have added layer upon layer to this sense of dependency we try to create among our people rather than the spirit of self-reliance for which this report rightly calls. This dependency has entangled many of our poorest people in traps, diverted many of our most talented people into fruitless chasing of wheezes to get a little more out of a grant or pay a little less tax. Ironically, the European Community — that was to open up fresh air, bring the new winds of competition and self-reliance into Ireland — in many cases, has done precisely the opposite. Rather it has subverted our food industry, has distorted our training programmes, our investment programmes — as we saw over the past day or two in the case of the debate on the interpretative centres — hardly on anyone's rack of priorities as being of importance to the manner in which we spend our funds.

The State must change radically in the way it addresses issues. We have had a State that has tried continuously to hold back change. If this State wants to tackle its job crisis, it should be promoting change. In every area of activity the State touches it should adopt a radical programme of change. We must change the tax system to favour work and enterprise. As I have said, the highest rewards at present for business people, are in property under our tax system and the highest opportunities for saving, for individuals, are afforded those people who invest money in pension funds. They are not the areas in which jobs will be created for our young people; property and pension funds are not the vehicles of enterprise and employment. We have created a tax system that now has such an extensive black economy it is killing legitimate trading, killing the small-scale enterprises we want to see established, that would offer employment opportunities. Indeed the whole thrust of the Culliton report focuses on those small-scale operations. We are killing them with unfair competition from the black economy.

We have an education system which must break loose from the sterile grip of the points race, a race for academic prizes which, let us be honest, is of concern to, at most, 20 per cent only of the pupils, who go through the system; at least 80 per cent will not end up in third-level educational institutions of any sort in our State.

There is need for such a radical approach to so many areas this debate cannot do it justice. The only debate that will do it justice is that to be held in a proper forum, with the social partners, Government Ministers, the Opposition parties, the unemployment being present. We can confront the problems in our education system, those in our tax system. We can confront the financial institutions that have failed us; we can confront the many protected sectors, who have been comfortable with less than top performance, many to be found in the State sector; we can confront the changes leaving some families worse off at work, the system that enforces idleness on many of our people. We can confront the problem of the State and Government have insisted on maintaining the deadening grip of central Government on all activity, being unwilling to release to regional and county level some initiative and creativity to respond to their problems.

For example, the Minister for Industry and Commerce admitted today that we spent £5,000 million in a decade. Yet we produced fewer at work from our industrial agencies. We must now focus our attentions on indigenous enterprise, on why there are so few bankable plans coming forward. We must undertake a major reform of our system which will require courageous decisions on the part of Government. It will require scrutiny of those decisions, with participation by the social partners and the unemployed alike. I hope the Government can see their way to break out of the sort of thinking that has failed us over the past 20 and more years, a political system often irrelevant to the problems of modern society, a system that wants to maintain control centrally, not give people responsibility, that wants to dole out patronage, foster dependency, wants to cling to the sort of fatalist view that what I have I hold. I hope the Government can break out from that attitude. There will be great opportunity in coming days for the Government to demonstrate that they can do so, that they can confront this problem with the seriousness it deserves.

I wish the problem were as easy to resolve as some of the Deputies who have contributed to the debate would hold. I hope all parties in the House can get together — it does not matter whether it is called a forum or a committee — to deal with the jobs crisis, the cancer of unemployment and the horror which faces so many households in the country. I will restrain myself from referring to all the points made by the previous speaker but I want to point out to him that it is only a short time ago the Leader of the main Opposition party castigated Ministers for their activities involving the social partners. I welcome the fact that at least the main Opposition party now recognise that the social partners have a role to play in this area. I suggest to Fine Gael and, in particular, to the last speaker — a man for whom I have tremendous respect — that it is time we stopped equivocating on the issue and got together to do something about the unemployment problem.

The report before us is set against two stark magnitudes. The report says that these magnitudes must dominate all discussions on the economic and industrial life of this country and unemployment. It refers to the shocking level of unemployment, which it notes topped 250,000 in the early part of last year and which is now well over the 275,000 mark. That is a truly frightening statistic; it is a magnitude of horror which very few of us can actually grasp. The second magnitude — and some of the parties who still cling to the philosophy of the left should perhaps be wary of this — is the crippling level of Government indebtedness which, in spite of the efforts in Government of what the New Agenda leader chooses to call the conservative parties — Fianna Fáil, the Progressive Democrats, Fine Gael and Labour — is well over 100 per cent of GNP, a magnitude which clearly limits the capacity of this State to address the first problem, unemployment.

The report acknowledges that unemployment is likely to increase significantly in the coming years due to an average of 20,000-25,000 people per annum entering the labour force. Members of this House have to acknowledge that regardless of the number of forums or committees we set up, the number of hours we devote to debating it and the verbosity with which we attend to it, we are not going to resolve the unemployment problem. The real horror in this debate is that we know from the outset that the problem is more likely to worsen in the short term than it is to get better.

The report also sets out to dispel any notion that the adoption of the strategy contained in the report would be sufficient in itself to eliminate unemployment in the short term. This is why I believe the debate about whether we should have a forum or a committee is so futile. The reality is that it does not matter a fig which we have. What we have to do is get around the table the people in this House who are willing to address this issue. The report makes the point that the total number of people unemployed greatly exceeds the numbers employed in manufacturing industry at present. We need to realise that employment levels in manufacturing throughout Europe have been falling for some years and that the manufacturing base is going to erode even further. This is a dismal prospect.

The group suggest that the implementation of the strategy should result in the expansion of employment in industry and in spin-off employment in supporting services. However, the net growth in jobs in industry and private sector services could not realistically be expected to average more than 10,000 per annum. While such a contribution is very welcome it will not be enough to absorb the labour force, as it is growing and will continue to grow for the rest of this decade.

In stating that the recommendations contained in the strategy should not add one penny to the burden of the national debt, the group are conscious of the job creation programme of the late seventies which was fuelled by unsustainable Government budget deficits. I was a civil servant at that time — occasionally I am reminded of this by Members on the other side of the House — and I could say it was politicians who wished many of those policies on us. However, it would be disingenuous of me to do that because at that time Irish people thought that gingering up the economy, demand management and classic Keynesian economics, could well create the spurt in jobs which would resolve all our problems. As we know, all those endeavours led to greater debt, further financial crisis and the necessity to put all those policies into reverse a decade later.

The analysis contained in the report of the cost and effectiveness of grant support and in the Department of Industry and Commerce study on this area is frightening; it is a chronicle of failure. The Department of Industry and Commerce have undertaken a study of the performance of grant-aided and nongrant-aided firms over the period end-1980 to end-1990. The results point — giving the most charitable opinion — to the limited effectiveness of grant aid. The degree to which plants which received grant aid since 1980 have closed down is nothing short of frightening.

The report outlines a very sorry tale under the heading Plants Grant Aided (1981-1990) that existed at the end of 1980. During that decade grants, in 1990 prices, totalling some £530 million were paid to foreign companies and £416 million to Irish-owned plants. Despite this there were net job losses of 15,000 in overseas firms and 30,000 in Irish-owned plants. These figures pose questions about the effectiveness of grant aid. They are a stark reminder that this problem cannot be solved simply by throwing money at it.

The statistics on new start-ups during the period 1981-90 are also frightening. Grants totalling £429 million were paid to foreign plants and £253 million were paid to Irish plants for new start-ups. These start-ups added a net 24,000 and 28,000 jobs, respectively, by the end of 1990. During that period 77 per cent of foreign start-ups and 70 per cent of Irish start-ups were grant-assisted. Yet by the end of the decade these start-ups had only created 9,000 jobs. This is truly frightening because these were very expensive jobs.

When one measures the actual performance against projected jobs the position is even more startling and disappointing. Members on all sides of the House have adverted to this point over the years but we now have very specific and clear evidence of it. The plants which had existed at the end of 1980 and which received grants in the 1981-90 period had been expected to provide 61,500 extra jobs. However, the firms which were grant-assisted during that period had a net loss of 45,000 jobs. Job approvals for new start-ups during that period totalled 103,000. Yet only 52,000 jobs were actually realised, only one out of every two promised. There is evidence to suggest that the ratio of jobs realised to job promises has, if anything, disimproved. It is evident that the grant assistance system we have operated for so many years has been less than successful.

The point is made in the report that over that ten-year period 60 per cent of industrial grants went to attracting foreign industry. This policy is frequently criticised. It is often argued that if you have a foreign name, a foreign accent or come from a foreign country you will find it easier to get grant assistance. The statistics produced in the report would seem to bear out this point to some degree. The report puts forward the counter argument that while tax incentives generally have benefited foreign firms to a greater extent than indigenous firms, other facets of industrial policy have been more beneficial to indigenous industry. However, there is a feeling — and we should recognise it — that the grant-giving agencies are less likely to want to know about Irish firms who, they believe, have a captive market.

The report reaches an interesting conclusion in this regard by reference to international studies. The report suggests that such studies had concluded that the promotion of foreign multi-national companies should be only one component of a developing country's economic strategy. If industrial policy is to be successful in helping to generate a competitive industrial strategy which can sustain long term employment, growth and improved living standards, the focus must shift decisively from welcoming in foreign-based investment to creating more jobs in indigenous companies.

Many other fundamental errors have also been made. I listened with great interest to Deputy Lenihan and I agree that we have not encouraged an enterprise culture here; if anything, we penalise enterprise in this State. As the previous speaker said, our taxation system does very little to encourage enterprise, our social welfare system penalises enterprise and our educational and training systems do not recognise that diversity should be welcomed. It looks to producing more of the same academic mould.

A second fundamental error, which is clear from reading the report is that we have not actively encouraged foreign owned firms to source materials and sub-components in this country, nor have we actively encouraged domestic suppliers to aggressively pursue jobs and wealth creation by supplying foreign based enterprises. All too frequently you are left with the feeling that a foreign based enterprise is brought in and planted without roots in the surrounding economy, which is disastrous if we are to get any long term benefit from encouraging mobile investment.

The third fundamental error recognised from reading the report is that we have been too willing to grant aid any incoming investment which is involved in intermediary rather than end product development. Plants which produce an end product, who sell to customers and are mindful of research and development tend to survive. Others, in the intermediary stages of production, do not survive, particularly if there is a recession.

There are two stark examples in this regard; Nixdorf, a company based for many years in Bray, were criticised by people like me because they did not have an end product. We, in turn, were criticised for daring to suggest that these people did not know their own business. However, at one stage they imported practically everything, including cable ties which were manufactured in one part of Bray, exported to Germany, bought by Nixdorf and reimported to the far end of Bray. There was no link between the different companies in the same small town and no attempt to integrate that particular enterprise in the local economy.

I suspect it would have had a very beneficial effect on their accountancy.

The Deputy is correct. One of the problems is that we have not been mindful of that. We have grant assisted these enterprises and we have not put control mechanisms in place which mean that they are little more than part of a chain of creative accountancy. Other companies, to their credit, have adopted a far more progressive approach.

Wang is an example of a company which have gone through a very difficult period over the last while and yet over the previous decade they had integrated themselves in the Irish economy, particularly in the Limerick region, to the point where their investment in this country could be defended more readily than their investment in Stirling, Scotland, which was a component plant, part of a chain. The company collapsed in Scotland but the bulk of the jobs here were protected.

We should learn from that and I take the point made by Deputy Quinn. There must be more to industrial policy than simply giving grant assistance for promised jobs on the first day, there must be an ongoing approach to monitoring those jobs and the operation of the companies and forcing those companies, where possible, to integrate with the local economy.

The point has been made by a number of speakers, with great validity, that historically, we have channelled far too much of our brain power into supporting roles in the Civil Service, the wider public service and in service enterprises. Deputy Lenihan, in a very interesting contribution, referred to this point. There is an attitude of mind which rigidly categorises people at a very early stage in their personal development. There is still an excessive emphasis on the academic rather than on the practical. We do not seem to have learned any enduring lessons in the 30 years since the publication of the OECD report —Investment in Education.

I remember when I left the Civil Service and moved to academic pastures a member of the staff of UCD making a disparaging comment about the Faculty of Commerce. He said that marketing, business studies and even economics were more appropriate to a "tech" than to a university. He was one of the most senior personnel in the college but, thankfully, people like Professor Michael McCormack came along, a business school was founded and we did something positive in producing people who have been the life blood of Irish industry. As Deputy Richard Bruton said, we have not attempted to marry education, training and industrial policy, they remain departmentally segmented in mind and in fact.

The reality is that there is not enough integration. We have not succeeded either in bringing together major forces in the economy to benefit the economy as a whole. Is it conceivable that Japanese banks would operate in the same manner as Irish banks have in the last few weeks and let a segment of Irish industry go to the wall rather than becoming more progressively involved in helping to get it out of trouble?

The Japanese have an interesting example, which we could follow, where the State, the financial houses and industry operate in a way in which they regard as the public interest. In this country there is no concept of the public interest in the operation of the finance houses and there is also very little concept of the public interest in the operation of Irish industry. Indeed, one or two of the people very prominently associated with this report — excellent though it is — came from companies which, over the previous decade, shed workers at a massive rate. These were companies which had built up very successful business empires here and which had done very well during the growth years of the sixties into the seventies. However, in the eighties, when they began to focus on foreign investment possibilities, it was achieved largely by lay-offs in this country.

The strategy for industrial promotion and the recommendations on direct support for industry are well worth noting and underlining. The concept of grant aid budgets for internationally mobile industries being squeezed is not a bad one but the reality is that running continuously after internationally mobile industries has not served us as well as it might have. As I have said already, grant payments must be very tightly tied to grant delivery and there must be an effort to make sure they are not part of a creative accounting scam. The decisive shift suggested in the report from grants for home managed industries to equity is something that I endorse. The focus on the reduction of grant aid——

The Deputy has very little time left.

The Chair means that you are now in injury time, Deputy.

There is one area of the report of which I am critical, that is the institutional side. I believe the report fails to realise there is a vital role for local enterprise. I am pleased that there was some comment on planning and the environmental area. The reality is that very little recognition is given to the developmental role that could be played by local authorities. Not enough attention is paid to the potentially developmental role of local authorities by the State agencies providing grant assistance. There have been a couple of examples in the recent past, not least in my own constituency where major projects have been lost because there has been no integration of the roles of the local authorities and the grant assisting bodies in bringing people behind worthwhile projects so that the local people would know that their environmental interests were being protected. Despite the fact that I criticise the report for not adequately looking at what could be done by the local authorities, it has much to recommend it.

I suggest that, rather than scoring political points off each other, we come together, whether in a committee or a forum, so that, as the Labour Party have suggested, we run with the proposals before the House and get on with the task of trying to produce jobs. We should also remember that, despite mustering all your eloquence as a politician, you will never create a job; all you can do is help to foster conditions where others do that.

Most independent observers who have read and discussed the report since it was published in January seem to be of the opinion that the review group have fulfilled the mandate given them and that the report offers a substantial contribution to the formation of a policy which will guide this country forward on the industrial front for the foreseeable future. In this context I must emphasise that I believe that, whatever the excellence of the preparation and presentation of the report, it is nonetheless still only a report and must be viewed as just a step, albeit a comprehensive and valuable one, on the path towards stabilising and refurbishing the approach to industrial expansion policy in the nineties.

The greatest single danger that may arise from this situation is that, because of the immense amount of work which has been put into the report by the members of the review group, the report may well be seen by many people as an end in itself. It has already been the subject of quite an amount of public debate, particularly in the print medium. There may be the danger of public perception that the report was an achievement in itself and now that it has been produced, debated and discussed, it can be left aside. That would be a tragedy for this House and for this country. I believe that this is one of the most important documents to come before us for quite some time and the manner in which we react to it and act on it will be a measure of our effectiveness as legislators.

It is a discussion document to which we all have a contribution to make. It will provide us with a valuable framework when it comes to deciding on the industrial direction of the next decade. The document contains a number of radical proposals, some of which will inevitably lead to heated discussion, but that is exactly how it should be. However, I would be worried about the platform on which such discussion would take place. It could be argued that this House should have had the opportunity of discussing the report prior to its publication since ultimately the responsibility for implementing any of the recommendations contained in it will rest with this House. I say this in view of the manner in which various aspects of the report have been interpreted by the media, particularly the print medium. For example, one newspaper chastised the Minister for Industry and Commerce for suggesting that a task force should be set up, whereas the review group recommended the setting up of a task force as a matter of urgency. I merely wish to illustrate how public perceptions can be influenced by selectivity in the presentation of the report's findings.

As I said, this is a discussion document, but such discussion must take place in a logical and coherent manner. Whether we like it or not the Members of the House, particularly those on the Government side, are seen as being the principal agency in the creation of employment and, conversely the Government are seen as being responsible for the unemployment problems in the country. Failure to use this report as a stepping stone towards ending the lengthy dole queues will serve only to reinforce the public view of what we do or, more importantly what we fail to do in this House. That is why we must have consensus on any jobs forum or committee.

Now is not the time to politicise our approach to a discussion on the jobs crisis, and the Government must be prepared to take all points of view into consideration. Government's intransigence makes it impossible to agree on the composition of the committee. Without ministerial involvement and participation it will be a futile exercise and it will be impossible to agree on the direction to be taken and the decisions to be made and implemented. An Oireachtas joint committee on jobs would be a forerunner of the much broader subject engendered by this report. So, let us have consensus now. The Government's insistence on enforcing their own ideas as a precondition of what is to take place is unacceptable and is a total denial of the rights of those who have a contribution to make but whose ideas may run counter to Government thinking. That is wrong and it is contrary to the principles expressed in the report.

I welcome the report and the broad general thrust of the group's findings and recommendations. There can be little doubt that the members of the group, individually and collectively, were aware at all times of the significance of the 280,000 people who were out of work, a figure which they see as still growing. They state that an adequate response to this crisis must remain the most urgent national priority. The Culliton group recognise that their recommendations will not of themselves solve this problem — I have said already that I agree with this — but they can contribute significantly to the way forward.

The report recognises one of the truths of the unemployment crisis which, all too sadly is not highlighted with sufficient emphasis or frequency, is that each surge of unemployment brings with it an attendant and permanent increase in the number of long term unemployed. In Thurles, the largest town in my constituency of North Tipperary, that viewpoint is perfectly mirrored. It is frightening to watch the increase in the numbers of people out of work on a weekly basis, despite well heralded, unfulfilled promises of improvements in job opportunities. It is alarming to see the increase in the numbers out of work, who can only look to the future with fear and trepidation, knowing that their chances of meaningful employment at any time in the future are so slim as to be non-existent. This presents one of the ironic twists of the employment question, because each time an existing business or industry closes down a certain percentage of those affected will find that they are considered as unemployable by reason of age or levels of skills and will therefore join the ranks of the long term unemployed.

I see it as a major priority of any initiative arising from this report to give some degree of confidence or hope to all the people who find themselves in this position. Nobody ever seeks to be unemployed, but once in that state it is all too easy to become resigned to that position and to accept that the future stretches out bleak and unpromising. On the other hand, the creation of new jobs by industry generally tends to be for the younger age group who may be coming on to the job market for the first time. The implications for State finances are enormous since the people most at risk of being long term unemployed are generally of a mature age with dependants with all that that entails in terms of financial commitments. They are, as a consequence, a much greater financial burden on the State.

An area which would well bear examination, possibly by the task force resulting from this report, is whether the many financial incentives available should be biased towards getting the long term unemployed back into meaningful employment, rather than towards support for new jobs in the lower paid, first time section of the market. I am not advocating one to the exclusion of the other, rather a shift in emphasis. This leads to the first major recommendation of the group on which I would like to comment.

There can be little doubt that FÁS have strayed very much from the path for which they were originally set up and they must now be reviewed and reconstructed as a major priority. Most people now perceive FÁS to be nothing more than an unemployment support service and to a great many people they have long since ceased to have any connotations as a training authority. The various schemes promoted by FÁS outside of their training centres in the urban areas are too often seen as temporary diversions between school and the drudgery of the dole queue, places where any meaningful training is absent and where the outcome is simply a return to the status which obtained before the course commenced. That may not be how FÁS sees their role but that is the perception on the ground.

FÁS should get on with the real business of training people for particular skills, which they do very effectively at their official training centres, but that schemes and activities which are nothing more than unemployment support systems should, as the report recommends, be under the aegis of the Department of Social Welfare. It does nothing for the public perception of the State training agency to have the situation as it obtains at present. FÁS should have all their energies directed towards training and retraining, even if this means taking a whole new approach to the decentralisation of the present training facilities and a greater emphasis placed on local centres which could enjoy a degree of autonomy under central control. After all, training of people for work must take cognisance of the needs of people on a regional basis, and training courses should also take cognisance of the industrial and commercial activities of the regions in which they are held.

Much more work needs to be done on identifying training needs, not within individual companies or industries but of groups of companies within a region so that the latent pool of potential employees would have additional skills to enhance their job prospects. This is a stratagem which I have felt should have been in place long before now and I notice that the report is confirming this in a different way when the authors recommend that there should be no subsidies or grants for firm-specific training. This would find favour with most observers as it amounts to little more than a financial prop to individual firms or businesses with little pay back in terms of raised levels of skill among the workforce.

The sentiment behind those statements is reflected in another part of the report where the authors call for an integrated approach to the entire question of industrial policy. If we accept that principle, and it makes sound common sense to do so, then we must accept an integrated approach to training. The report suggests that a higher priority must attach in the education system to the acquisition of useable and marketable skills.

I would venture to suggest that most school principals would totally agree with the concept of a greater awareness of the need for more vocational training in our second level educational curriculum. By extension, any training which takes place after the second level system should be a honing of some skills already learned, along with the introduction of new ones. For example, I suggest that with the advances in computer-related technologies over the past ten years, every single second level student should have some keyboard skills acquired before leaving the educational system. The degree or extent of those skills should be at the discretion of individual schools, subject to a basic departmental requirement. For those who opt for training courses prior to obtaining employment, some of the training courses could then be viewed as a progression of something they have already experienced rather than something totally new. This is what I mean by an integration of our approach to education and training because we must look at post-educational training as part of the educational process rather than as a separate entity.

If we agree that FÁS continue their role in this area, then we must look for a radical new approach to the whole question. The recommendations in the report which will probably give rise to the greatest amount of discussion are those relating to taxation. There is universal agreement on the need for radical reform of our tax system; the controversy will arise when discussing how best this should be done.

The recommendation in the report that there should be a broadening of the tax base through the reduction or the abolition of many of the reliefs, exemptions, deductions and other tax expenditures has worrying implications. Any such action in this direction cannot and must not place additional burdens on the PAYE sector. It must be accepted that the tax system, as presently constituted, actually serves as a disincentive to work and encourage those who are disposed towards tax evasion. The PAYE sector workers are, for the greater part, the soft option in the collection of taxes and have had no major concessions in recent years. The purpose of granting personal tax reliefs is to enable the taxpayer to provide for himself what would otherwise have to be provided by the State, particularly in the areas of housing, health and education.

In my constituency of Tipperary North, for instance, local authority house building has come to an almost complete stop because of lack of central funding. Private investment is responsible for over 95 per cent of all house starts in 1991 and the removal of mortgage relief from the tax free allowances of those who have built houses in the recent past would create real hardship; would dramatically slow down the number of private new house starts and would put an intolerable strain on the already over-burdened local authority housing list.

Similarly, my constituency has suffered more than most in the area of health care. We have endured hospital closures, bed complements have been reduced dramatically, nursing and attendant staff disemployed, resulting in the centralisation of services at a considerable distance from the public involving excessive access costs. To add to the expense of any fee paying patient by removing tax reliefs through VHI allowances would be grossly unfair and unjust.

In the field of education there is a similar story. There is no third level educational institute within 40 miles of Thurles despite a long standing commitment to locate one in Thurles. As a consequence, all students from north Tipperary have to travel a minimum of 40 miles to attain third level education, with all the financial burdens that implies. I have been advised by many parents that the minimum cost of sending a son or daughter to college is £60 per week, irrespective of any grants that may be paid in respect of that student.

I am going to a meeting in Newport tonight and it is eight miles from the nearest third level college.

I will probably be there before the Deputy.

Rathcabbin is 20 miles——

I wish to remind Deputy Lowry that he has three minutes remaining.

It makes the days of fee education seem like a bitter memory from a long forgotten past. To even contemplate introducing reforms which would act as a disincentive to parents in this situation would be catastrophic.

In summary, therefore, I welcome the report with the proviso that it be viewed for what it essentially is — a spur to all of us to recognise the need for a more integrated approach to the future direction of industrial development. It is a crucial report which draws dramatic conclusions and highlights grim and unacceptable facts. It puts forward an enlightened view as to our future direction. There is an onus and responsibility on our leaders in society and, in particular, on the political system to give this major report credence by positive action.

I welcome the fact that the implementation of the report will be overseen by a task force which should be as broadly based as possible and free from political influence.

It is my belief that a radical overhaul of FÁS is long overdue. It must be linked to education, be much more accessible to the non-urban areas and concentrate more fully on training in and for broadly based industry.

I would be totally against any interpretation of the reports' recommendations which would lead to the overflying of Shannon and I would advocate strongly that our roads structure should be the focus of attention in this area.

I welcome the recommendations for the formulation of a national food development plan and would advocate most strongly that the strengthening of the farmer-producer in such a plan be paramount in the list of priorities. I agree with the need for reform of the tax system but I must stress in the strongest possible way that this reform should be for the stimulation of the economy and not for meeting short term Exchequer requirements. The PAYE sector must be protected from any further erosion of their earning power.

I extend my congratulations to the review group, coupled with the wish that the seeds they have sown will bear ripe and productive fruit.

I welcome the opportunity to make my maiden contribution as a Deputy in this Dáil. While my contribution will obviously be influenced by the experience I have had in various Government Departments, the one Department in which I have not had experience is the Department immediately responsible for this report, namely, the Department of Industry and Commerce.

Nonetheless, as Deputy Lowry has said, this debate gives us an opportunity to support the approach adopted in the report. It proposes that we should adopt an integrated approach to industrial policy. I suggest, however, that what is required is an integrated approach not just to industrial policy but to job generation and the promotion of Ireland's advantages abroad by every agency available to us.

In relation to the report's recommendations, if we focus exclusively on manufacturing industry we will not see the full picture and allow the economy to attain its full potential with regard to job creation and the need to create new opportunities for our young people in an ever changing world. That is the aspect I would like to focus on in the short time available to me.

The report highlights the importance of the food industry. While my contribution will be influenced by the fact that I have been in the Departments of Education, Transport and Tourism, Foreign Affairs, Agriculture and Food, Finance and, more recently, Labour — they are all interlinked — if that core element of our economy is to attain its full potential, there are two or three basics that will have to be promoted. First, are we going to adopt an integrated approach as suggested in the report? If so, what is being done at the moment that requires to be changed? How can we better promote the food industry to create employment?

As of now, the food industry is the major component in the domestic manufacturing sector but it is not given the priority it deserves. Let me give some figures to underline its importance. As the report indicates, it accounts for almost 40 per cent of our total balance of trade on current account. There is no import level in the food sector; it is all export related from a dynamic indigenous base; it accounts for almost one-third of the gross output of all manufacturing industry in Ireland; it is highly integrated into the Irish economy with Irish economy expenditures accounting for 84 per cent of sales compared with 55 per cent for manufacturing industry generally; and it accounts for about 20 per cent of Irish exports with total food exports exceeding food imports by a factor of almost three to one.

It is fair to ask then what are we doing to recognise that reality? What are we doing to promote further the opportunities that exist? If we look at what we have been doing it is clear we have not been giving due importance to this sector, nor have we been dealing with it in an even-handed way. For instance, in relation to export promotion, the State does not provide subsidies for the dairy sector to market its products abroad. I am not saying they should be subsidised, but I wish to point out some of the differences. This year the meat sector will benefit from £1.5 million. This means the meat and dairy sectors together will get £1.5 million to market their products abroad. Compare that figure with the £33.33 million from the State available to CTT which market the other elements of the industrial sector.

There is a number of ways to readjust the figures to give the food industry maximum priority in a co-ordinated way. One is to do with industry what is being done in the food sector; for example, in the meat and farming sector, farmers provide up to 80 per cent of the funding available to CBF for the promotion and marketing of meat abroad. On the other hand, what proportion do manufacturing industry provide for the marketing and promotion of products by CTT? The answer is zero. In relation to marketing and promotion, it is essential in an open economy such as our own that we build on our strengths. There must be something wrong, therefore, if we give that degree of priority to manufacturing industry and place the indigenous and native sector at a disadvantage.

If we are to promote this vigorous industry and the opportunities that exist around the world, why should we make distinctions? Why do we have separate promotions for fish, which is a natural resource, and food produced on land? Those who purchase our food abroad look on this country as an island nation which has many natural advantages — for example, climate and a pollution free environment. When they think of our food they think of unpolluted seas, an unpolluted environment and wholesome healthy products. Surely, it maks sense to promote and market those products in an integrated way.

We should follow the lead given by other countries. For instance, BIM have a separate budget of £3.8 million on the current side. How are we going to exploit the full potential of the indigenous sector, be it fisheries or agriculture, if we do not have a co-ordinated programme? At this time we do not have such a programme. The Danes could teach us a lesson in this area.

In recent times we have made considerable progress towards a co-ordinated programme, but we are a long way from having that integrated approach to which the report refers. If we want to exploit every opportunity for our products around the world, we will have to get our act together, take part in every exhibition and, moreover, use our embassies to make every effort to promote our country.

Our structure in diplomatic representation is not as closely related to export promotion as it is in many other countries. I am not criticising the Department. It is a question for overall Government review. What is the role of foreign policy? Is it not, more than anything else, to externally represent the national interest? Jobs are our first priority in the national interest. Therefore, the diplomatic service, like every other arm of Government, should be involved vigorously in the co-ordination and marketing promotion programme at all levels. We have 29 resident ambassadors, 40 non-resident ambassadors, four Consulates General and three permanent representatives in Brussels, Geneva and the UN. Our economy is the most open in Europe, the most dependent on exploiting opportunities outside of our shores. Surely, it is essential to focus our diplomatic efforts on exploitation of commercial opportunities.

I must conclude that the terms of reference of the report were cast too narrowly so that they could not address other aspects of industry. In addressing industrial promotion one must consider marketing. It is important that our diplomatic representatives abroad should target efforts on the hostile environment of the open trading element in the world. Economic conditions throughout the world are not particularly good. We will have to compete vigorously. There is scope for linking our promotional agencies together under our diplomatic representation. Our embassies should focus on the fact that we have an Ireland House where one can get all the information one needs about Ireland, its products, its marketing, its people, its climate and its attractiveness for tourism. If we look at the potential for an integrated approach we will find that those who are attracted to Ireland for holidays will also be attracted because of our wholesome food products, People do not make distinctions. If people see the advantages of our wholesome food product by comparison to what is produced in other countries, that will reflect to our credit in tourism development. That is why it is vitally important to maintain our healthy clean environment which is such a unique feature of Ireland by comparison to the rather heavily polluted climate in developed countries in Europe and in many parts of America.

If we are to co-ordinate our priorities in a new way we should look at the structures in a whole range of areas. There should be a much greater degree of mobility between the services. It is time we looked at the structure of career diplomacy in the Department of Foreign Affairs. I do not suggest that our many distinguished ambassadors have not enhanced our image abroad very effectively, but it is important to at least open our minds to the possibility that we can recruit into the diplomatic service people who have proven experience in business, in marketing, in trade promotion, in public relations and in a whole range of areas that can be used to promote employment here.

Our missions abroad are not closed cages where the ambassador rules in a separate empire. They are charged exclusively with representing the Irish interest. That is not always confined to political discussions. The Danes, the Dutch, the Swedes and the Japanese, those who have been most successful in promoting external trade, used their embassies to promote their potential in the national interest. They did not confine themselves to discussions on neutrality, CSCE, third world relations and so on, which are very important. Foreign policy goes further than that. In line with the approach of the report I would welcome a review of foreign policy.

I am glad the report focused, as did the Minister for Industry and Commerce this morning, on the need to rationalise our tax system to promote job creation. I set up the Commission on Taxation, as Minister for Finance in 1979. I did then what sems to be regarded as a major achievement now. I appointed as chairman, 13 years ago, a lady of great capacity, Miriam Hederman O'Brien. The report from the Commission I set up recommended what is now being recommended in the Culliton report, that our tax structure should be geared towards giving special preferenmce to job creation. I welcome the fact that 13 years on a very enlightened report should make the same recommendation as was made by that commission under the chairmanship of Miriam Hederman O'Brien. I hope that at this stage we will be able to move towards implementing it in the national interest.

I understand Deputy Garland may have had some intimation that he would be called next, but it is a well established precedent here that we apply the principle of seniority. In the exercise of that, I now call Deputy Garret FitzGerald. I will be happy to call Deputy Garland next for the Opposition.

This is the first time I have benefited from that precedent. I am very glad to know it exists. I want to speak primarily about one aspect of this report, that is, the recommendations with regard to education. Before doing so I will refer briefly to other aspects.

The report's recommendations on taxation are of great importance. They are, of course, recommendations which were made frequently in the past but Governments have been reluctant to take the necessary action. Tax reliefs are of such a scale that they require a level of marginal taxation which is extraordinarily high. A worker with an industrial wage one-quarter less than the average is now paying a marginal tax rate, including PRSI, which is 5 per cent higher than that of a millionaire. This is a quite extraordinary and unfortunate situation. The report emphasises the importance of tackling the threshold of the standard rate band, which was largely overlooked until something was done about it in the most recent budget, although not very much. The emphasis has been wrongly placed on tax rates. It is much more important that the average low paid worker should have a lower marginal tax rate than a millionaire than that the millionaire should pay less tax, from the point of view of enterprise.

There are recommendations on energy prices. I recall being a member of the National Industrial and Economic Council in the sixties, almost 30 years ago. Some of the recommendations made now are ones we made then. No Government felt able to accept them because of the political fall-out. Some of the obstacles to change, growth and employment arise from the fact that any change made in some of these areas will lose support and be unpopular with some existing interests, those who have jobs and property. Any party who initiate that change fear they will lose votes because the Opposition, whoever they may be, maybe inclined to exploit it. I had some experience of that some years ago when I was in Government, but I am not saying it happens on one side only.

That is the reason some of these changes are not made and for that reason it seemed to me that the employment forum was a good idea. If we could get the parties together in one place, with or without the social partners — I have my own view on that, but it is not crucial — and if we could have Ministers sitting down with the Front Bench of the other parties they could agree to do things which separately they could not do. It is a great pity that the Government have decided to exclude Ministers. This means that the forum would be a backbench talking shop which would be pointless. The great value of the idea was that things could be done together which parties have been afraid to do separately. The result has been a lack of change and reform, stagnation or less growth than we should have had and much more unemployment. I hope there will be further consideration of this matter. Both sides of the House should try to work together in this way. There is no point in having a talking shop unless Ministers are there too and actions are taken jointly. Unless the exercise involves Opposition Front Benches and Ministers it is inherently futile.

I note the recommendations on training in regard to FÁS. The points made about FÁS are important and should be examined. Because of the manner in which EC money reaches us, the amount spent on training is greater proportionately than we would spend if left to ourselves. We would perhaps have other priorities than some of the training which, as the report points out, amounts more to unemployment support than training.

The substitution of equity for grants in regard to indigenous industries is a good idea and I support it.

I support very strongly the need to look at the role of the Department of Industry and Commerce. It is very disappointing that that Department, which for decades was the leading Department in the State, particularly under Seán Lemass until 1959 when he left to become Taoiseach, have lost their impetus and have never since then played the policy-making role that they should. It is striking that they have had more good Ministers than virtually any other Department — outstanding Ministers of both parties — but none of them has succeeded, despite attempts, in bringing back to the Department of Industry and Commerce the policy-making role which has tended to be delegated to bodies like the IDA. There are very detailed recommendations on this and they should be dealt with. It may mean some radical changes. I think that under the present leadership of the Department — I am not referring to the Minister but to the secretary — these changes could perhaps be carried out. Everybody who has been involved in the Government process at any level will be aware that this Department have not played the role they should since the late fifties. Right through the sixties they opposed the movement towards free trade. Trade unions, management and the Department of Finance together had to bring them along in that direction. Although things have changed since then, there still is not the urge to carry out the role they should be carrying out.

I strongly support the recommendations on roads and ports. The tackling of the hazardous waste problem is a political hot potato which could be best dealt with by a committee which included Ministers. The relationship between the Environmental Protection Agency and planning needs to be further examined.

I now refer to profit-sharing. There is a report on employee participation. It should be remembered that this is a report from a group who are anti-tax reliefs and want most of them done away with. Most of them should be done away with. The report states that there is a clear indication that taxation concessions have provided the primary stimulus for the growth of employee shareholding. I would have thought that the desirability of employee shareholding would be universally recognised. I find it absolutely incomprehensible that the Minister for Finance and the Government should propose to abolish the incentives for profit-sharing. It is the one tax relief which emerges in this report as worth keeping and doing a good job. I hope there will be second thoughts in the Finance Bill. With no disrespect to the current Minister, sometimes a new Minister for Finance is faced by recommendations from his Department to which previous Ministers have not agreed. They are slipped in quickly to a new Minister. I have seen it tried with several Ministers with whom I have been closely involved and they had to resist it. The Minister, in the difficult circumstances in which he took over, had a few things slipped past him which are just hang-ups which the Department of Finance have, unrelated to actual value. They know they cannot easily get rid of mortgage interest tax relief because of political opposition but they managed to get this one through. I hope it will be changed in the Finance Bill.

The part of the report that really worries me relates to education. The tone of the report is basically not sympathetic to education in its proper sense. It says, patronisingly, that education does not simply involve acquiring useful skills or knowledge and the report should not be interpreted as implying any such thing. In fact, that is basically the thrust of the report. It also states that education cannot be judged solely as an economic commodity. The idea that it could be regarded as that and that it is felt necessary to deny it tells us something about the thinking behind the report.

This report was prepared by two people. I do not know Dr. Frank Roche but I know Mr. Paul Tansey and I have the greatest respect for his views on economics. I go first to The Sunday Tribune each Sunday to read his column, which I find extremely useful. He is one of the most outstanding economics writers. It is a pity he got involved in an area in respect of which he and, with all due respects, Dr. Roche do not seem to have the requisite knowledge or sympathy.

Their proposals are based on a statement which is repeated several times, to the effect that the education system has progressively become more academic in nature and that over the years the prestige of the academic leaving certificate programme has diverted students who would be much better adapted to a technical training. This is stated in several places.

It is also claimed that there has been a continuing drift away from vocational-type education towards academic-type education streams. The first question is whether this is true. It is absolutely nonsense. I do not know how they arrived at this conclusion. They looked at the 1989 report from the Department of Education. One year's report does not reveal a trend. Let us look at the actual position over the years. Let us consider what kind of swing there has been in the intermediate certificate. They are referring apparently to things like woodwork, metalwork and mechanical drawing.

Let us take woodwork, for example, in 1968-69, 12 per cent of pupils studied that subject while today the figure is 26 per cent. The number of pupils studying metalwork has increased from 9 per cent to 17 per cent and in the case of mechanical drawing the figure has increased from 21 per cent to 34 per cent. Students also study technology at present. I am not commenting on whether this is good or bad but the greater the range of choice available to people to develop their skills and aptitudes the better. A greater number of people are studying these subjects than was the case previously. Indeed these subjects did not exist at leaving cert level in the sixties. At present 8 per cent of students study engineering at leaving cert level, 14.5 per cent study technical drawing and 9.5 per cent construction studies, subjects which did not exist 20 years ago. How can that be a drift from technical to academic studies? That simply is not true. The facts are not as stated and they should not have been included in the report. The report as it relates to education is based on a false premise, as can be easily seen from Department of Education reports which are available in the Library.

First, the basis for the recommendation is factually incorrect. Second, I would like to know what the report is trying to achieve. The part of the report dealing with education is extraordinarily inadequate. Most of it refers to figures on the number of students in school at different times. It refers to the total number of students in 1964, but it is a pity it did not get its facts right in regard to the subjects. The report states that three-quarters of students in vocational schools selected history and geography and that the same number studied French as studied metalwork. The antipathy to languages is very interesting, although I do not know if it is shared by the main authors of the report. There are other references of this kind in the report. For example, it states that biology and French are more popular subject selections in the senior cycle than engineering, technical drawing or building construction. The report infers that people learning science and biology, people who might be able to contribute to the food industry, would be better off studying buildings and technical drawing. What kind of mentality is behind such a report? With major comments of that kind this is not a report that can be taken seriously.

Unfortunately, the study of history and geography has greatly declined in schools, and that concerns me. Although geography has always been a personal interest of mine I can understand the decline in that subject, but I am particularly concerned about the decline in the study of history. The figures in this regard are very disturbing and, naturally, the facts are the opposite to that stated in the report. At inter cert level 97.5 per cent of students selected history and geography in 1978-79 while the figure is 90.5 per cent at present. More disturbingly — this is of great concern to me — at leaving cert level the number of students studying history decreased from 41.5 per cent to 25 per cent between 1968-69 and 1989-90 while there was a decrease from 74 per cent to 36 per cent in the numbers studying geography.

Of course, the trend is not as stated in the report, but it concerns me. Failure to have a grasp of the history of one's country, one's continent and the world is not to be applauded. It is not good to lose a sense of our background or history, but that is a personal view and I do not seek to push it down people's throats. I happen to have a degree in history and languages and perhaps I am a little prejudiced, but how much more will the study of history have to decline before we stop that process? I cannot agree with any aspect of this report in the educational area.

The report seems to take the simplistic view that all that is needed is to teach people technical drawing, engineering and building construction so that they can go into industry and do something that industrialists would like. No doubt industrialists would like people to be competent in these subjects but they are not so important as to displace education. What we are talking about here is not training but education, and the report confuses the two. There are two things involved in education; first, making available to people knowledge which they will need and, second, giving them the opportunity to develop the interests which that knowledge may arouse in them. I am talking about any kind of interests that will develop people's minds. We all have our little idiosyncrasies and each person knows what inspires them. People gain basic knowledge in primary education, they learn a wide range of subjects in secondary education where they begin to choose which subjects to take and if they go to third level they will make selections in more detail.

Students should be allowed to choose subjects without pressure from anybody. At present, there is the pressure of the points system, to which there is no simple answer. It is no good attacking that system until an alternative is devised. There is great demand for education in this highly educationally motivated country, but despite the extraordinary response of public authorities and all those engaged in education to that demand there is still a greater demand at third level than we can fully cope with. Our position is quite different from that of our neighbouring country, Britain, where only one-third of people aged 16 to 19 years are in full-time education. Two-thirds of our people in that age group are in full-time education, a much higher number than in Germany which is lauded in this report.

I know of German industries which came here because they believe that our educational system is better than theirs in that people here are given a better chance to develop their interests and their capacity. Therefore, they develop further than if they were confined to some utilitarian subject at an early stage. They have the capacity not merely to take jobs but to develop and become managers and leaders. If their intellectual development is stunted they will not develop in that way. However, the pressures of the points system stunt that development. Parents, pupils and teachers who are concerned about employment prospects tend to put the emphasis almost exclusively on the subjects that may help students to get a job soon after leaving school.

This is very striking in regard to Business Studies. Almost one-third of third level students select Business Studies. I have nothing against that subject but if our young people were free to develop their own minds and were not as concerned as they naturally are about getting a job as soon as they leave school, would one-third of them find that their imagination would be more tested and their development advanced by studying commerce and accountancy? There will always be people who find these subjects interesting. There is virtually no activity in the world which is not simultaneously work for one person and leisure for another. Work and leisure are subjective concepts. Of course there are people who find that commerce and accountancy interest them, but is that likely to be true of one-third of our people? I do not think so. Pressures are pushing students into subject areas which do not stretch their imagination or develop their potential. They may get a job quickly but in many cases they will move out of that job because they will not have the same adaptability if they had an education that developed their capacities.

Because of the pressure of unemployment our system is already distorted in this respect, and we do not want to distort it further. Therefore, we should be endeavouring to ensure that young people have the opportunity to study what excites and interests them most. I know that everybody will not be interested in history or French but people should be offered the widest range of choice possible so that they can develop their minds and capacities in the area which they are most likely to find interesting. That is not happening now, and that is what this report, if it is implemented, is designed to prevent. Utilitarian subjects are pushed down the throats of people who do not find them interesting and do not want to study them but who feel they must if they are to get a job. People should be encouraged to study what they find interesting.

I advise the Deputy there is only a minute of his time remaining.

A minute will suffice because basically I have made my point.

He has made it very well.

I frequently disagreed with the Minister about education but I know her heart is in the right place. She is interested in genuine education. I do not think she wants to stunt the development of our young people or to introduce training into the educational system. The purpose of education is not training; it is to develop people. I hope the Minister's successor will be inspired by the same commitment in that regard. If he needs inspiration perhaps the Minister would have a word with him.

I understand that Deputy Garland wishes to share his time with Deputy Tomás Mac Giolla.

On behalf of the Green Party, Comhaontas Glas, I regret to say that the Culliton report represents no major breakthrough in thinking in this area. I should like to deal with the Minister's response to the report. In his speech the Minister said that no one could be in any doubt that serious long term unemployment will remain with us for the foreseeable future. While that is an honest statement, it is also an appalling one. It encapsulates in one sentence the complete bankruptcy of Government thinking in this area. The Minister went on to say, "we must strengthen our resolve to effectively address the sense of alienation and hopelessness felt by the unemployed". That statement underlines the utter hypocrisy of the Government's response to unemployment and is nauseating in its obsequiousness.

Let us be quite clear about this, it is the Government's job to govern and it is the Government's job to sort out this problem. All they can do is wring their hands. The Minister was quoting from the report when he said that there was no single policy action that could ensure a quick solution to the problems of unemployment. The Minister's response to this is to say he does not consider that anyone could disagree with that statement. I put on record my profound disagreement with that statement.

I intend to put forward two proposals based on the Green Party's economic policy that would in themselves solve the problem, certainly in the medium term. A combination of our two proposals would be better still.

The first proposal is to enunciate the principle that everyone in this country is entitled to paid work, as of right. Very simply, the available work would be shared around, through a reduction in working hours, job-sharing, career breaks and early retirement. At the moment we are preparing costings that will indicate the total feasibility of such a solution.

The second string to our bow would be the introduction of an unconditional basic income paid as of right to all of our citizens to replace the present social welfare-pension regime. That is particularly apposite at the moment as we go through another tortuous Social Welfare Bill. The effect of a basic income scheme would be to free up the labour market to enable the operation of many useful tasks such as recycling, litter control and so forth, which have priced themselves off the market under our crazy economic system.

Recycling, for example, is a particularly vital issue in the Dublin area, where landfill sites are becoming impossible to obtain within the county borders. We are told, however, that recycling is not economic. That is absolute nonsense. Surely it is not beyond the wit of the Government to devise a scheme whereby part of the wages paid by local authorities to those engaged in recycling activities could be charged to the Department of Social Welfare. That could be done in such a way that no extra cost would fall on the social welfare budget. Surely it must be obvious to everyone that it is nonsense to have upwards of 300,000 people unemployed, paid by the State providing they do not work, when there is so much useful work to be done.

Another example of work that could be carried out is found in the inadquate provision in many areas for the disposal of old fridges, which, as everyone knows, can leak CFC gases unless properly disposed of.

Taxation and its role in discouraging economic activity featured greatly in the report. I agree that they are right to a major extent. The Green Party have always maintained that income taxation is a particularly inappropriate system for this country and clearly acts as a disincentive. However, the Government show no sign of adopting a more radical review of the tax system, and a mere tinkering with the present system will make very little difference. The only policy that the Government seem to have is a Thatcherite concept of reducing tax rates and reducing essential services such as health and education.

A major change in this area is coming and it will be imposed, without our authority, by the EC. I speak of the proposed energy tax, which would tax fossil fuels. Paradoxically, we would agree and enthusiastically embrace the concept of an energy tax, as it should allow a reduction in the taxes on labour, such as income tax and VAT. However, we must also tax other resources such as minerals and land.

The policy of the Green Party of site value taxation, together with energy tax, would enable most of our existing taxation to be eliminated. However, such far-reaching ideas will, no doubt, receive scant consideration by the present Government, with their total lack of vision. I must add that neither do the other Opposition parties show any enthusiasm for a radical tax proposal of any kind.

In relation to the section of the report that deals with direct support for industry, I thoroughly agree with the shift of resources from transnational companies — referred to, rather coyly, as "internationally mobile companies"— to home-managed industries. I would say, however, that "fly-by-nights" might be a more appropriate term for some of the so-called internationally mobile industries.

The shift from grants to equity participation is also something that would be welcomed. When commenting on that section of the report, the Minister had the effrontery to say that those recommendations reflect the approach of his Department in recent years. That is manifestly not so. There are many examples of small business propositions being turned down in favour of multinational companies. Our present Taoiseach, when Minister for Finance, made a very telling comment on this subject last year in his speech to the Annual Conference of Ógra Fianna Fáil when he said that the reason for high unemployment was an over-reliance on international investment to create jobs. He said that creating a native industry base took longer, was slower and was perhaps not as glamourous as announcing an American firm coming in with 1,000 jobs but that that was the only way in the end. I certainly agree with those sentiments and I ask the Minister, when replying to the debate, to state whether he unequivocally accepts them, too.

One area to which the Minister very significantly did not refer was the total cost of the industrial policy, which, as the report states, has been effectively buried in the statistics. For example, in 1991 the budget for the Department of Industry and Commerce in this regard came to £292 million — a very sizeable sum indeed. But that is not all. As the report states, one has to delve into the Estimates for other Departments such as the Department of Labour, the Department of Education and the Department of the Gaeltacht and the cost of tax breaks to reach the 1991 grand total of more than £600 million. The report notes that the level of industrial employment would show little change for this period. What a damning indictment, what a farce, what a gross waste of taxpayers funds. The figure of £600 million means that almost £200 for every man, woman and child is spent in order to merely maintain the existing level of employment in industry. There has to be another way.

But that is not all. What makes matters considerably worse is that even in order to maintain existing employment levels we have had to encourage every kind of "dirty" industry to this country, with detrimental effects to employment, tourism and agriculture. Although this is not germane to this debate, I must express my utter incredulity at the award announced earlier this week by Eolas to Merck, Sharp and Dohme, the notorious polluters in County Tipperary, the poisoners of John Hanrahan's cattle, the people responsible for the permanent debility of Mr. Hanrahan and some of his family. That group were singled out for an environmental award, which must surely just about summarise the lack of concern of this Minister and this Government for the needs of the environment. That is nothing short of a national scandal.

In conclusion, I recommend the rejection of this report. It is too timid and too constrained by conventional thinking, which has manifestly failed to put Irish industry on a long term sustainable basis.

I remember well when the Telesis report came out in 1982. At that time I and my party were very pleased with that report, it having recommended the need for a fundamental change in IDA policy, something we had been advocating since the mid seventies. I recall that the IDA resisted the recommendations of the Telesis report, the Government having been non-committal about it. But the IDA resisted and pooh-poohed it. Nevertheless, within two or three years, they began to implement certain of its recommendations and have improved their performance since. If I recall correctly they began to include in their documentation a "performance clause", recommended by the Culliton report vis-à-vis the IDA. It appears the Culliton report and its recommendations are being taken more seriously by Government, proposing a task force for their implementation and so on. I presume the IDA will be forced to accept many of the group's conclusions and to change many of their policies.

One point made in the Culliton report is the need to diversify from strong dependence on commodity products, in particular within the meat industry. We still perceive meat merely as a commodity rather than exploring the potential of processing it for the benefit of the consumer market. In recent years only did we cease to export cattle as a whole commodity product and began killing and cutting at home. The Culliton report recommends that we process more, which would be everybody's hope.

That contention is true of many other commodities also in that, in the main, we are engaged in a commodity market across a whole range of produce, some of which the Culliton report has not dealt with. For example, we export all our wool unprocessed from our 8 million sheep. In the latest statistical report of the CSO on exports and imports wool is not even mentioned; yet it is one of our main commodities. In addition £6 million worth of raw hides, skins and furs are exported in a raw state.

The Culliton report refers to the need for clusters of industry, areas in which cluster factories or manufacturing industries can be established. There is mention of the food industry and fish. Such clusters of industry in the food and fish industry could be established particularly in the general west coast area. I contend we could create new clusters of industry in clothing if only we promoted our wool and linen, new products on which farmers might well concentrate with the collapse of the Common Agricultural Policy and so on.

The IDA continue to pour huge sums of money into attracting foreign industry here. We are glad to have many of them since they provide approximately 80,000 jobs. They invested approximately £80 million in the infrastructure at Ringaskiddy, supposed to create 10,000 jobs. Yet we discover, at the end of the day, 1,000 jobs only were created there. In addition to the £80 million expended on infrastructure we should remember that each of those jobs cost us at least £40,000, amounting to another £50 million approximately, while producing the same number of jobs only as were lost in Fords.

It has to be said that the IDA are very good on electronics, particularly in the software section where there have been fast moving developments but appear to have some kind of ideological hang-up about manufacturing industry. They maintain that that is something of the past, that we must not think in those terms at all. The attitude of the IDA appears to be that somebody else will do all the manufacturing for us, that we will import all our manufactured goods or whatever, totally ignoring the possibilities for such development here. It appears they will not encourage or invite foreign investment in manufacturing industry for which no incentives are given. I say: what about Irish investment? There is plenty of money around here for such investment, as we saw clearly in the case of the various property deals and so on, when it appeared there was plenty of money for such investment. Certainly this Government seem to think there is plenty of money about for investment in that they want to privatise everything, all the State or semi-State companies. They now want to privatise the ESB. Indeed the Minister for Energy seems to believe there are people out there with, say, £50 million, £60 million or £70 million wanting to buy up power stations. I contend that is a lot of nonsense. Why encourage people to buy up power stations from a company functioning perfectly, which is viable, doing a perfect job? Why not encourage such people to invest those amounts in something new, like some new area of manufacturing, giving them incentives, if possible, reducing the inherent risk; take the incentives from the property sector and put it into manufacturing.

I have spoken now for the past 20 years about the need for a smelter here. We did come near to having one at one stage when land was bought in Ballylongford for that purpose, when Rio Tinto Zinc carried out a feasibility study, but that was as far as it went. If that money is available for investment why not get people to invest it in a smelter? There is coming on stream now in Galmoy a mine every bit as large as Tara, both being owned by a Finnish State company who control all of our lead and zinc. It is in this area we should encourage investment.

While we talk ad infinitum about jobs, their creation, a jobs forum, special committees on jobs and so on, nobody comes up with any practical idea about actual jobs. Let us come down to brass tacks: who will make a chair, a mat or a beautiful carpet, something for the woollen industry? The country is white with sheep, 8 million of them, their population having doubled over the past five to six years with farmers receiving £32 headage payments with the result that they almost do not know how many they possess. But the sheep are there and, whether we like it or not, they happen to grow wool. Apparently we do not like it because nobody even talks about wool or a woollen industry here. Why not invest in that? It appears we are not even sure how much wool we produce.

In the interim, with all the talk about a job forum, special Oireachtas committees and so on there have been huge job losses over the past three or four weeks, continuing daily. We all know about the losses at United Meat Packers where we are told, the jobs loss has been cut down to 600. Of course, it amounts to many more than that number because it involves many part-time jobs, those of contractors and people in towns all over the country. Now the latest casualty appears to be the Lullymore briquette factory, producing a native product, closing down with a loss of 200 jobs. In Finglas there is a Japanese company called Munekata Glastronix seeking 150 redundancies out of 280 jobs, amounting to more than 50 per cent redundancies within their workforce; they have achieved 40 per cent but the threat is, if they do not achieve the remainder, they will close down. Only this morning Hospital & Kitchen International in Ballyfermot declared that they are laying off 70 of their fewer than 100 workforce, retaining approximately 20 to 25 people. Also in Dublin Port, Dublin Cargo Handling has been liquidated with a loss of at least 180 jobs. There were 1,200 actual full time jobs lost in the last three or four weeks while we have been shouting about a jobs forum, Oireachtas special committees, whether we should do this, that or the other. If we cannot save those jobs, what will the Government do about creating jobs? The fundamental point I want to come to is, that if the Government are to do anything about these job losses or the creation of jobs, they must make one fundamental, idealogical change in their position. The present Government, their predecessors and the Government led by Deputy Garret FitzGerald all contended it was not the function of Government to create jobs. If the Government maintain that attitude they can forget about their jobs forum; what is the point in talking about it? If they maintain they have no function.

I contend the Taoiseach had a major role to play vis-à-vis United Meat Packers. It was he who should have said who was boss, that if £40 million had to be found and the banks would not cough up, he should have ensured it was done. He should have said: we will put up the £40 million and claw it back from the banks under the provisions of the Finance Bill in whatever way we can. At some stage the Taoiseach must say who is in charge. I contend that none of those workers in United Meat Packers will believe that the Government have done anything at all to save their jobs. It has been left to a receiver to sell. Whoever takes over may retain approximately 50 jobs or whatever. That is the fundamental change in Government attitude that must be effected if they are to tackle the major unemployment crisis occasioned by the almost 300,000 people now unemployed. The Government must assume responsibility for the creation of jobs. If that means establishing another State company to produce another product, so be it, they should do so.

I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this very important debate. I have no doubt that an entire week could be devoted to debating this report, which contains much useful information for people interested in job creation.

I am somewhat concerned about my political ideology because I agree to some extent with many of the points made by my colleagues, Deputy Tomás Mac Giolla, particularly in regard to manufacturing industry. As he rightly said, some years ago our economic theory was based on the importance of manufacturing industry. It was believed that services should be provided on the basis of the products which were manufactured, grown or processed in a certain area; and people were employed in the packaging, transport and sale of such products. The new economic theory which has developed in recent years is that you provide services and hope someone produces the goods which will utilise those services. Like Deputy Mac Giolla, I strongly disagree with this new theory.

I believe services can only be provided to meet the requirement which exists in manufacturing industry, agriculture and the food industry. The only people who can afford to provide the services first are those who live in countries which are situated on a boundary between two Continents. This has been the position since time immemorial, whereby countries have benefited from world trade because of their favourable geographic locations. Like Deputy Mac Giolla, I believe our economic policy should be based on manufacturing industry which creates longer-lasting jobs and a need for service industries.

I did not have the pleasure of seeing last night's television programme on unemployment. I understand Peter Cassells referred in that programme to the Intel industry in my constituency in which the IDA were involved. I have been reliably informed that he indicated that large-scale investment in industries similar to Intel would solve our unemployment problem. I disagree with Deputy Mac Giolla on this point. I presume Mr. Cassells was referring to large-scale foreign investment. I think he made the point that even 20 large industries would make a sizeable impact in reducing our unemployment level. The magnitude of our unemployment problem cannot be resolved through the setting up of smaller industries which I believe will come on stream in any event in the wake of large investment. Almost 300,000 people are unemployed and there is a possibility that this number will increase. Various experts are now looking to a reduced birth rate to resolve the unemployment problem. A lower birth rate will not resolve the problem because like the climate, this can change and the peaks and valleys will come again.

It should be possible to provide employment for everyone living on this island. Far more densely populated countries in Europe have a much lower unemployment rate than Ireland. How can they do this? We are told that 80 per cent of jobs in Holland are in service industries. Holland is located right in the centre of Europe. It has some powerful high tech industries which have been in operation for a long time, for example, Philips. This industry has adapted to changing circumstances. Unlike industries in Ireland and Britain which shed their workforces, when Philips rationalise and introduce new technology they market their product better, train their workforce and increase output. They have been very successful in doing this. I cannot understand or accept the notion — and it is rampant at present — that we have to be damned forever with a huge level of unemployment, which is now in the region of 21 per cent and growing. As I have said at public meetings and previously in this House, if our unemployment level cannot be dramtically reduced in three or four years at the outset all the reports which have been published will be to no avail. Many of those reports contain material which could be consigned to the bin.

I want to refer to the impact an industry like Intel can have on an area. I certainly hope that the projected target of 2,000 jobs can be achieved. They should be given all the support necessary to ensure that they achieve this target. An industry this size will lead to a requirement for service industries, for example, transport, communications, packaging, catering and so on all of which will provide additional jobs. This is one way in which our unemployment problem can be solved.

The IDA should stop talking about solving the long term unemployment problem through the setting up of small industries. While small industries are a help they will not solve the problem. We should revert to the old economic theory of the importance of manufacturing industry and large multinational investment. We need multinational companies who will invest their money and provide jobs for Irish people. We should give them whatever tax breaks and incentives they want so that they will be encouraged to retain their profits within the country. There should be no difficulty in doing this as it will cost the country nothing. Some people may talk about revenue foregone but there will be no revenue foregone in this instance — all we will have done is taken people from the live register and put them in employment. Therefore, we should encourage such foreign investment.

I understand reference was made in last night's television programme to the tendency in recent times to avail of low labour costs in South East Asia and other countries. This is a dangerous practice and is not at all useful. It is a short term expedient used by some companies to make profits. However, it is a shortsighted policy because moving a manufacturing base to another area merely adds to the unemployment problem. There is no sense in people here providing service industries if there is no manufacturing base.

It is sad and ironic for me as a Deputy representing a County Kildare constituency that today there was an announcement of the proposed closure of the Lullymore briquette factory in the north west of Kildare with the loss of more than 100 jobs in manufacturing at the plant and a loss of a similar number of jobs outside in service industries. This indigenous industry has provided good, long term consistent employment for many years. It is an indictment of the attitude of the Minister for Energy and Bord na Móna that they have not identified a means of providing an ongoing development programme for Bord na Móna with a view to exhausting the existing peat supplies and providing a diversification of interests in which the board could, ideally, become involved in an environment which would provide employment for the people of the area in future. Incidentally, the workers in that factory showed that they were prepared to rationalise, increase output and work long hours to turn the profits of the local plant around to prove to all and sundry their commitment, yet the blow fell.

I ask the Minister present to convey to her colleagues, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, the Minister for Energy and her other colleagues in Government, the need to call on Bord na Móna to reconsider their decision and to think in terms of a redevelopment programme for the midlands which will include areas which will otherwise be denuded of population and bereft of industry in the not too distant future unless something is done.

I regard the meat industry as a manufacturing one; the product is processed and supplied here. Contrast the availability of funding for the meat exporting plants—those built and designed to cater for the export market — with funding for those catering for the home market. There is a number of small plants in my constituency employing up to 100 people; the workers are employed for 52 weeks of the year, they are not laid off or on short time. Employees always get annual holidays and these plants never rely on the Department of Social Welfare to carry them through a bad period. It is certainly in stark contrast to the larger plants, of which we have a multiplicity, who rely on the intervention system. They do not seem to be able to manage although they are in receipt of aid from Brussels, whereas the small plants to which I refer never receive FEOGA grants to modernise their plants, to provide more efficient plant machinery in the workplace, to provide effluent treatment or environmental protection. This is all done at their own expense and it is an area which should be examined if we want to look after the people who provide full-time jobs all the year round.

This has been a very stimulating debate. I share Deputy Durkan's regret at the announcement regarding the Lullymore briquette factory and I will pass on his strong remarks to my colleagues. I am sure they are shared by many other Members.

I had the pleasure within the last week of meeting Gordon Moore, the President of the American company which set up Intel and I hope to meet him again shortly. I will pass on Deputy Durkan's complimentary remarks to him. Those of us who travel from the west practically on a daily basis have watched the buildings being constructed and we look forward to their full productive capacity.

Seventeen Members spoke in this debate, which is remarkable. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy O'Malley, opened the debate, followed by Deputies Barry, Taylor, Lawlor, Dukes, Browne (Carlow-Kilkenny), Rabbitte, Lenihan, Richard Bruton, Roche, Lowry, O'Kennedy, Garret FitzGerald, Garland, Mac Giolla, Durkan and, of course, myself. It has been a very interesting and stimulating debate and I am delighted it evoked such interest. People often say that Members do not wish to participate in debates on a Friday but 17 speakers on one topic is a clear indication of interest and enthusiasm.

Many of the speakers on the Fine Gael benches referred to the proposed Oireachtas Joint Committee on Employment and put forward varying points of view as to why they were not participating. I should like to set the record straight in this regard. The Government have now secured the agreement of all parties — except Fine Gael who seek the attendance of Ministers at the committee. However, our Constitution states that Ministers can be accountable only to the Dáil, not to a sub-committee of the Dáil. It is necessary to state that.

We do not want it to be a sub-committee of the Dáil and we said so a number of times.

The other parties have agreed to participate in this very necessary task——

The Minister should not misrepresent our position.

Please, Deputy Barry, the Minister has been in the House for a long time.

I have been here for six hours and listened most carefully to the views put forward by many speakers. As I said, under the Constitution Ministers are accountable only to the Dáil and I appeal to Fine Gael to drop their facade in relation to their non-participation and to work on this committee. As 17 members took part in the debate it would not be possible for me to answer each person individually. Deputy Barry asked me to give him information about the tourism task force. I am told by the Department of Tourism, Transport and Communications that they are working, but not to a specific timetable, and do not want to be confined in a strait-jacket. They are working on very positive proposals and the Minister hopes to bring them to Cabinet soon. Deputy Barry also had a query in relation to Whitegate, the information will be forwarded to him as soon as possible.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy O'Malley, asked me to clarify the position in regard to the various back-up papers. There were rumblings during the week as to when they would be given to Members of the two Houses. The Culliton report and the back-up reports have now been given to each party leader.

This is correct. However, there are 55 Deputies in our party and we received one copy. There is only one member in The Workers' Party and he also received a copy.

What about Deputy Garland?

I do not know about the New Agenda. I am sure more copies will become available soon.

Many interesting points were made in relation to the proposed Oireachtas Joint Committee on employment and I want to make the Government's case in that regard. There was a common thread running through the debate relating to the position of FÁS in the Culliton report and the recommendations in regard to it. Many speakers echoed the same sentiment but there has been confusion regarding the back-up reports. The Culliton report is the main one, in each sectionalised area expert consultants put forward many options and the committee, chaired by Mr. Culliton, chose those which they considered most suitable. We must not confuse the two matters. The fact that various options have been put forward is good because so often the unthinkable has been thought and put down in print. It is a salutary exercise to have that put before you in print because it forces you to think about it. Culliton culled from the back-up reports when formulating the main report and that in itself is quite interesting.

I must comment on something that Deputy Dukes said. He was sceptical — maybe he has reason to be — about the progress we would make and asked if any progress would be made in six months time. We have made progress already. Deputy O'Malley said that when he spoke about the progress made in technology and in research and development. We will not be coming back in six months time because we will have come back before that. That task force under Dr. Moriarty which was recommended by the Culliton group will report by May, and it may be disappointing to Deputy Dukes that we will have reported before six months.

I had intended — although Deputy Garret FitzGerald has stolen my clothes — to talk about the education segment of the report, but I will still do so. A Leas-Cheann Comhairle, obviously you and I share my sane and sound ideas on education and we certainly work in parallel, although "parallel" is the bad word in this report and the back-up Tansey and Roche report.

Deputy O'Rourke, you are not the only former Minister for Education in the House.

Deputy Barry did not say a word about education. I bow to your wisdom.

Seventy five per cent of the Members of the House present were former Ministers for Education.

That is right, how interesting. The report is enlighting and in the context of learning my new brief I found it most interesting. I can see that all Members of the House, across party lines, share a deep-seated conviction that we need to do something about providing jobs.

The Culliton recommendations on education and training have been the subject of a good deal of public comment. The report did not seek to give less attention to attainment in academic subjects; in fact, the opposite was their concern. Mr. Culliton and the members of the group were pleased with the standard of education. However, they felt we needed to do more about foreign languages in our schools. I am glad to say that already the number of students taking German at junior certificate level has doubled and the number taking German at leaving certificate level has increased by over 50 per cent. That is not good enough and we cannot be complacent. We need to pay much more attention also to Italian and Spanish.

The efforts of educational institutions must be geared to real needs. Our young people must learn about their history, their heritage and the "whys and wherefors" of things. All societies must give a better balance to usable, marketable skills in their education and training systems. For that reason as Minister for Education I sought better integration to second level schooling. It is very important — and both you, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, and Dr. FitzGerald share this view — that there is no sharp divide between the technical and academic streams. In no sense should vocational marketable learning and training be segregated. It is an important valuable element of the system that we need to re-emphasise and regrade. We all share the view, but I feel very strongly that one cannot specialise until one is first educated. There cannot be a sharp divide where some people learn things which are vaguely seen to be not as important as other subjects. I want all young people to be educated under one roof at second level so that they can get a taste of academic, practical, vocational and technical subjects. The junior certificate has been a great step forward, despite the hiccups that appear now and again. However, the general thrust is excellent. Mr. Albert O'Ceallaigh of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment has started on the review of the senior cycle.

Mr. Culliton sought to have vocational subjects re-emphasised to have them brought back into the main stream, to make them more attractive to people who might otherwise just follow the classic secondary curriculum. The leaving certificate now needs to advance and build on the more creative approach the junior certificate is now beginning to provide. We need to have new methods of certification and assessment so that a pupil is not taken up with rote learning or learning pages of bought-in analysis and criticism of poems and stories on the curriculum. Young people need to have their creativity awakened and that should be reflected in the modes of assessment. The leaving certificate and the junior certificate need not reflect the change in emphasis. The Culliton report had meant to say that and in their up-to-date proposals they will say that. As everybody knows, education is the basis of everything. One of the founding fathers of the European Community, Mr. Jean Monnet, said that if he had a chance to start all over again he would begin with education. They did not incorporate this idea in the Treaty of Rome.

While I must take issue with the Roche and Tansey report, I share Dr. FitzGerald's view on the fine professional record of Dr. Frank Roche and Mr. Paul Tansey. Various aspects of their report give rise to confusion. Some of the words they use are chilling. It is only when you delve further into the Culliton report and separate it from previous statements that you see the difference. In the back-up report by Roche and Tansey, on industrial training in Ireland, they talk about developing a parallel stream of nonacademic vocational education. I say "no" to that, and most people who think about education would say "no" and I am glad to learn that Mr. Culliton shares my view. Roche and Tansey say also the additions to productive capacity arising from better education are useful only when they are called into production in the domestic economy. That is quite chilling. If one takes out of that what one can only take out of it, it is damning to have put it into print.

The OECD are quite clear that there are two roads one can go and they say that academic predominance is likely to prevail unless the authorities are able to develop either a much more powerful parallel system of technical and vocational schools or a reconstructed general secondary educational curriculum. Culliton then goes on to praise the junior certificate and the revised leaving certificate programme which we hope will come into operation in 1995. They were the views I put forward as Minister for Education, and I am glad to know that the Culliton report is going to follow. The quicker they clarify what they mean in the education segment of the report the better because it will mean that the unnecessary fears which have begun to proliferate, and quite rightly if one just does a surface reading of the report on education, will be put to rest.

In page 54 of the report they say: "What is needed is a parallel stream of non-academic vocationally oriented education at second level...." Parallels are two separate lines which never meet. There is no convergence in parallel lines. I have asked that that point be clarified but I have been assured they did not mean this. I am very glad to know they did not mean it but what a pity it was allowed into print. They make most admirable statements and they say that: "Education does not simply involve acquiring useful skills or knowledge." It requires much more as well.

While there are positive elements there is a curious confusion in the chapter on education and there are conflicting views in the same paragraph. I am glad Dr. Paddy Moriarty and his group will clarify the matter. I am glad I have been advised that Mr. Culliton shares what I believe to be the prevailing mood of the House and of the country that there should not be a sharp delineation between vocational and academic subjects, that there should not be parallel streams of vocational and secondary schools.

I want all types of secondary education — and this is in my draft Green Paper which I hope will be implemented by the Minister for Education, Deputy Brennan —secondary schools, vocational schools, community schools, community colleges and comprehensive schools to come together under one roof. Young girls and boys should have the opportunity to pick and choose from academic and technical subjects. A person must be educated in a general sense before they can think of specialising in any narrow sense. A broad education leaves a person equipped and ready, giving them an inner bulwark to face the vicissitudes of life. One may need to switch jobs, to go from one position to another, perhaps unhappily to face periods of enforced idleness, to face reentry into the workforce, to participate in leisure and recreational pursuits and engage in philosophical thoughts and generally engage in intellectual pursuits. We need a broad general education and we should not seek to diminish it. In addition, we need to provide in an easily obtained fashion the marketable skills and other skills that will equip our young people for life.

It would make an interesting discussion.

The Dáil adjourned at 4 p.m. until 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 31 March 1992.