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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 2 Apr 1952

Vol. 40 No. 16

Sea Fisheries Bill, 1952—Second Stage.

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

Is é an cuspóir is mó atáthar ag iarraidh a chomhlíonadh i mBille an Iascaigh Mhara, 1952, dóthain éisc a sholáthar do mhuintir na tíre seo le hÉireannaigh atá faoi láthair ina gcónaí gan obair a chur ag treabhadh na dtonn i mbáid dár gcuid féin.

Cuireadh i gcoinne an Bhille seo an lá cheana ag cruinniú ar imeallbhórd an Oirthir gur "comhdhaonnachas" é. Má sea, is é an cineál comhdhaonnachais é ar baineadh brabach as go minic cheana abhus le theacht i gcabhair ar dhaoine nach rabh riar a gcáis iontu féin. Ina theannta sin ba shuarach an mhaise dhúinn sa tír seo atá ina hoileán muna ndéanfaimís tréan-iarracht len-ár ndíol féin den bheatha seo a sholáthar as farraige atá níos comhgaraí dúinn ná mar atá sí do go leor eile atá á saothrú faoin ár súile.

Is é an dara cuspóir go mbeidh slí mhaireachtála níos fearr le fáil ag níos mó iascairí ná mar atá fostaithe sa tionscal faoi láthair.

Is iad an dá chuspóir sin bunchloch an Bhille agus cúis a mholta agam don tSeanad.

Before dealing with the provisions of the Bill, I think it would be helpful if I were to make a few general comments on the present position of the sea-fishing industry, the progressive decline in which over the past few years must give ground for serious concern. Senators may recall that during the 1914-18 war period all landings of fish by Irish boats were of high market value owing to the scarcity of food supplies generally, and those men who had been fortunate enough to obtain the power-driven vessels which were just then being gradually introduced reaped substantial gains. In 1920 came a sudden and radical change in the whole position. The British fishing fleets had by then been released from war service, fully reconditioned and re-equipped, and were again landing large supplies of fish for their home and export markets.

The demand for our catches in Great Britain and in the home market in this country rapidly declined and prices slumped hopelessly. This development applied mainly to white fish (i.e. flat fish and round fish other than herring and mackerel) but, unfortunately, it synchronised with a series of lean years as regards the shoaling of herring and mackerel. Distrust and disappointment were manifested all round the coastline; persons could not readily be found to undertake responsibilities as sureties for the making of loans for boats and gear. In an effort to rehabilitate the industry, the Sea Fisheries Association was set up in 1931, and a scheme was introduced whereby, instead of providing boats and gear by means of loans to the fishermen, this would be done by the Association on the basis of hire-purchase.

This system, together with its complementary marketing service, revived hope within the industry, but again there was an unfortunate setback. The majority of the fishermen, recalling their former flourishing export trade in pickled mackerel and pickled herring, continued so to base their hopes, but as regards mackerel they found themselves faced with the position that the United States of America, their traditional market, was undergoing serious changes in that the taste for pickled mackerel had largely changed to packaged quick-frozen fillets and, furthermore, that the landings of mackerel by the American fishing fleet had been stepped up very considerably to meet home requirements. A contracting demand for pickled herring was simultaneously experienced because of the policy of self-sufficiency adopted in Germany, Poland and other parts of eastern Europe which had been traditional outlets for our product.

The situation in these respects not having materially altered, it became clear that it is upon the production of white fish that the future of the industry must mainly depend and that when the herring and mackerel again come our way in quantity, we may have, in the main, to rely on the home market for their disposal and to employ improved methods of distribution. A secure home market was regarded as the first objective when in 1938 it was arranged under the Trade Agreement concluded in that year with Great Britain that imports of white fish would thenceforward be subjected to quantitative restriction. This automatically stimulated home landings and, with the persistent efforts of the Sea Fisheries Association in providing, repairing and equipping fishing boats, the advent of hostilities in 1939 found the Irish fishing fleet in reasonably good order and able to avail of the opportunities arising from war-time conditions.

The withdrawal of foreign trawlers from the distant fishing grounds previously frequented by them, resulted in a greater movement of fish into our coastal waters well within the reach of our inshore boats. At the close of hostilities in 1945, annual landings of white fish by inshore boats had increased from about 57,450 cwt. in 1938 to over 150,000 cwt. The number of boats engaged in 1945 was 3,472 as compared with 2,639 in 1938; and whole-time and part-time fishermen numbered 1,886 and 8,191, respectively, as compared with 1,463 and 5,888, respectively, in 1938. About 40,000 cwt. of white fish were exported in 1945, while imports of fish in that year were of negligible proportions.

There has, however, been a serious progressive decline in the landings of white fish from 1949 onwards, while the catches of herring and mackerel have also fallen away considerably, and as a consequence we are obliged to import fish in increasing quantities. All this is despite the fact that every effort has been made by the Sea Fisheries Association in the past few years to refit the industry with efficient craft and that the number of motor boats in commission has been increased.

It seems to be generally accepted that the main factor accounting for the decline in landings is the reduced catches per unit of fishing time obtainable by our fishermen on the inshore grounds, where a shortage of almost all the better classes of fish has become evident, due, it is believed, to the intensive fishing by deep-sea vessels from other countries operating around our coasts, although outside our exclusive fishery limits. I do not think that the efforts of the part-time fishermen and the close inshore man who returns to his home each night will be able to give us sufficient fish to satisfy present and prospective consumer demands. In consequence, there must be put into commission bigger boats of greater range capable of exploiting the deep-sea waters now outside the scope of our fishing fleet. The activities of such boats will be complementary to the activities of the inshore fishermen, whose interests will be safeguarded by the board. That point has been carefully considered in framing the Bill, and it is confidently expected that the new board, which will succeed the existing association, will be able so to arrange matters that the landings of the larger boats will be entirely supplemental to those made by inshore boats in providing a more regular and varied supply for the consumer than can be made available at present. I will now explain the main provisions and objects of the Bill.

Part I contains the usual routine provisions and does not, I think, call for any comment at this stage. In Part II we arrive at some of the chief points of the Bill. With a view to securing the best possible use of fish supplies, it is proposed that the fishing authority should have power to regulate the landing, handling, processing and sale of catches. In that connection, the gutting of certain kinds of fish on board ship might, for example, have to be enforced and arrangements made to conserve fish waste or fish gluts for meal manufacture. The home market will be reserved to Irish fishermen by the enactment of an obligation to license all vessels exceeding 35 feet in length and the licence could operate to exclude large type boats from certain fishing grounds which are regularly worked by the smaller type of inshore craft but which would be liable to be over-fished by large type boats. Fishing would be confined to boats in full Irish ownership but boats not fully Irish owned which are already registered here will be exempted from this provision. Landings of fish by boats owned by wholesalers or retailers of fish will have to be disposed of on the directions of the new board to be set up under Part III so that the landings of inshore fishermen may not be placed at a disadvantage. It is envisaged that the board will engage directly in fishing deep-sea waters to supplement the efforts of the inshore fishermen.

The new board to be set up under Part III will operate generally on the lines of the existing association but will have to meet increased responsibilities. Apart from taking over the existing functions of the association, they will be charged with the responsibility of operating large type motor vessels and of dealing with landings made by boats owned by fish merchants.

Among other special duties will be the development of markets, relieving fish gluts, introduction of improved methods of marketing, freezing and processing fish, exploratory or experimental work with new types of boats and equipment, and investigation of new fishing grounds. It will consist of a chairman and five other directors, all on a part-time basis, and not more than three of them shall be civil servants. The members will all be nominated by the Minister and paid such fees as may be approved by the Minister for Finance. It is envisaged that it will have to meet as frequently as once a week. Under Part IV of the Bill the present association would be replaced by "An Comhlachas Iascaigh Mhara," the composition of which, regulation of its procedure, etc., are provided for in the Second Schedule.

The aim in establishing this association is to give the fishermen and the other interests in the fishing industry a voice in its development. The functions of the new body would be to recommend schemes of development to the new board and to make representations on matters generally appertaining to the improvement of the industry. Membership of the association would be open to any person engaged in sea-fishing or in the distributive fish trade. It would be controlled by a committee of eight persons, including a chairman, elected triennially by the members. The fishermen would have four representatives, the wholesale fresh fish trade and the retail fish trade one representative each, and the other sections of the distributive fish trade two representatives. No remuneration would be paid to the members of the committee, but necessary expenses arising from the functioning of the association would be paid by the board subject to the prior approval of the board for the expenditure.

The sale by auction of fresh fish is prohibited except under licence under Part VI of the Bill. It corresponds substantially to Part III of the Sea Fisheries Act, 1931, which, however, was never brought into force as it was apprehended that the specific ineligibility under one of its provisions for grant of licence to persons employed, engaged or otherwise concerned in the sea-fishing industry would have had undesirable repercussions for the fishermen. All the wholesalers on the Dublin market have interests other than auctioneering. Some of them own or have shares in boats and retail shops, while many of them smoke and otherwise cure large quantities of fish for the home and export markets. It is generally recognised that they must be in the curing business so that they may be in a position to buy at a fair price any fish sent to them for sale and left on their hands unsold.

That system cannot, I think, be changed without serious loss to the fishermen, and accordingly the restrictive clause in question is removed in Part VI of the present Bill. This Part, like Part III of the 1931 Act, provides that it may be applied by Order to any particular area, but an exception is made in the case of persons who auction fresh fish, such as herrings and mackerel, at the place of landing, as such persons were never regarded as auctioneers in the ordinary sense. Licences will be issued on such conditions as the fishery authority may consider expedient or necessary. Persons already licensed under the Auctioneers and House Agents Act, 1947, will be exempt from payment of such fee as may be prescribed. Power is given to revoke a fish sales licence where the holder is convicted of any breach of the provisions of the Bill, or any of the Fisheries Acts, or is convicted of an offence involving fraud, dishonesty or breach of trust.

Finally, I would like to say that since I took over office, I have endeavoured to acquaint myself fully of the views of those engaged in the different branches of the sea-fishing industry, and have found that the general consensus of opinion is that special measures are essential to the prosperity, if not, indeed, the eventual survival of the inshore fishing industry in the conditions with which it is faced to-day, and may expect to meet in the future. The present Bill gives all suggestions and proposals made to me the fullest consideration.

Bheimis go léir ar aon aigne leis an Rúnaí Parlaiminte gur ceart a thuille éisc a sholáthair do mhuintir an oileáin seo agus gur ceart, dá mb'fhéidir é, saol i bhfad níbfhearr a thabhairt do na hiascairí a théann amach chun an t-iasc a mharú. Tá anchuid déanta chuige sin agus iarracht fónta é seo má oibríonn sé amach. Gan aon dabht, bheimis go léir an-shasta dá n-éireoidh leis an Rúnaí Parlaiminte agus leis an mBille seo tuille éisc a sholáthar agus saol níbfhearr a thabhairt do na hiascairí.

We would be all in complete agreement with the the Parliamentary Secretary with regard to the objects he sets out for this Bill, namely, to provide more fish for the people of this State generally and to provide a better living, with better prospects, for the fishermen.

I happen to have known quite a number of what the Parliamentary Secretary calls inshore fishermen. I was interested in them, I am afraid, not from the point of view of fish but from the point of view of Irish. I do not know whether any Senators here have been out constantly in a fishing boat at night but I did a fair amount of it at one time, I have heard a great deal about fishing and I have heard a great many Deputies in the other House talking about fishing. I hope I will be forgiven if I am not acquainted with all the complexities of fishing legislation and fishery regulations.

The first thing that strikes me about this Bill is that it is what one may call a desperate attempt to remedy certain difficulties that are well known, and that have proved so far insuperable, by making the whole business a State concern. The board which the Parliamentary Secretary proposes to set up in this Bill is going to have the most complete control over every single part of fishing—the fisherman, the wholesaler, the auctioneer and the retailer. The Bill provides for a board set up by the Minister—the usual type of board—on which we understand there are to be civil servants and other people appointed by the Minister. That board is to have the most complete control. While the Bill introduced last year excluded from the definition of "fish" herrings, mackerel and shell-fish, this Bill takes in and purports to control every single kind of fish in the sea. One would like to ask what kind of board it is proposed to set up, how they are going to exercise their control and what the cost is going to be to the State, because I presume the board is going to be financed out of State funds.

The Bill also provides for an association which is intended, apparently, to put the fishermen, the wholesalers, and retailers, in a position of being able to make representations to the board. I wonder whether that will prove effective. The proposal in last year's Bill included one thing which seemed to me to give hope of representations being made to the board which would be effective. There was an association of which the Minister appointed a chairman, and that chairman, presumably, would have access to the Minister. But this association is to be an association of people of varying and opposite interests, and the chairman of that association will necessarily be the result of a compromise or a vote. I do not know that in these circumstances he will have much effective power, that he will stand for something or be able to say: "All my people in my association want this," and make representations to the Minister or to the board. I wonder whether the association will, in effect, be able to do anything except meet and chronicle varying views.

The regulations to be made are in the usual form; that is, if a motion is passed to annul them they do not become effective, but there is no other kind of appeal from them. I understand that that is a considerable difference with regard to salmon fishing. The present regulations governing that are subject to an appeal to the High Court, but when the Bill becomes law regulations made by the board, sanctioned by the Minister and not annulled by the Dáil, will be effective and there will be no appeal of any kind from them.

There are a number of points which might be dealt with on Committee, but I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary what precise steps it is proposed to take to dissolve the Sea Fisheries Association and hand over its agents and assets to the board. The board is to be nominated by the Minister and the board is to make regulations but the board cannot take over the Sea Fisheries Association until it has been nominated. Not having been nominated it will not have made any regulation. Are there any transitory provisions to enable the board to take over the association, which is a going concern with agents, I understand, in every parish where there are fishermen, and with a considerable amount of money? I do not know how it is proposed to abolish it at one stroke and hand it over to the new board which in the nature of things, will have made no regulations at that date.

One could without special knowledge make general points regarding the fishing question. Who is going to man the boats which the Parliamentary Secretary speaks of for deep-sea fishing? We all know that one of the defects of the fishing industry is that a great many fishermen had sailing boats up to not very long ago which were not very different from the sailing boats used by the Apostles. They said that if they got bigger boats and engines everything would be all right, but clearly the provision of bigger boats and engines did not solve the problem. One of the defects obviously is that the fisherman is in many cases in Ireland half fisherman and half farmer, so that he is neither one thing nor the other. He has two interests, two trades and is not, perhaps, as effective as he might be at either one or the other.

The Parliamentary Secretary mentioned the provision of boats which would go further out and I think that everybody is with him on that, but where is he going to get crews for these boats? He said that it will be arranged that the catches of the bigger boats which will do deep-sea fishing will not interfere with the landing of the catches of what he calls the inshore fishermen. That will be difficult to arrange. I would like to know where precisely he will get suitable crews, keeping them all the year round and making them an effective instrument for that particular kind of fishing.

There are other things, of course, which are constantly said, and there is little use in repeating them. A fish meal, I was astonished to hear, because I am not a person with any household knowledge, is dearer in Dublin than a meat meal. I was in the habit of taking two fish meals in the week and one day, on observing that this was an economy, I was told no, a fish meal on a Wednesday is dearer than a meat meal. Not only, therefore, will the Parliamentary Secretary have to find people to man the boats but he will also have to do some kind of propaganda to make people want to eat fish, and the most effective propaganda would be to supply it to them fresh, at a reasonable price. Perhaps we could be told what arrangements are to be made about that and the calculated cost to the State of running the board.

Before Second Reading is over it should be said quite plainly that this is another complete and perfect example of absolute State control. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary will answer by saying that other devices were adopted but none was satisfactory. One hopes that this will be satisfactory, but it is a despairing gesture which says that these people cannot in any way be organised so as to do their own business. It is neither a vocational Bill nor any other kind of Bill but complete State control, another step on that road. Good arguments can be made in each individual case, but when you put all the individual cases together they sum up to State control, more and more State control, and the more you get the more you are likely to get. Having said that, and leaving over the points which can be made on Committee, one recognises the Parliamentary Secretary's interest and one wishes the Bill success.

I was glad at long last to hear Senator Hayes admit that there was something that he did not know all about and I am quite prepared to follow him on that. I do not profess to know a terrible lot about the fishing industry, although I will say that my interest in it goes back a good many years. I remember well that one day when the Seanad was sitting I was approached by the late Senator Parkinson. He said at that time that nothing was being done about the fishing industry and that he thought it was up to some individuals to take it on. He asked me to go down to Waterford with him the following Sunday morning. He has been dead for a good many years and the country is the poorer for his loss. He was, perhaps, accused from time to time of going on wild-cat schemes, but never venture, never win. He took on things which seemed impossible and succeeded. Perhaps if he had lived and taken on the fishing industry we would not have heard some of the arguments made in the Dáil last week as milk and water criticism of the Bill.

The Bill has met with pretty general approval in the other House. There was a certain amount of criticism, as one would expect. We had to have some criticism from the previous Minister for Agriculture, backed up in a milk and water way by a few members of the Coalition group. There was not any serious opposition. Such opposition as there was, was merely the opposition of a pebble in a stream to show the strength of the current which it was attempting to impede. Most people with an interest in the country and in the preservation and development of the fishing industry are, and have expressed themselves, in favour of the Bill. While I suppose, like every other Bill, there are several things which may be improved, I definitely congratulate the Parliamentary Secretary on having introduced it.

While I am passing some compliments I would like to compliment the Government on having selected the man they selected for this Department. The Parliamentary Secretary was reared among those fishermen, and he could not possibly help having an interest in them, nor could he fail to have a very deep interest in the industry from which, he knew, many of his friends and neighbours derived their livelihood.

In the other House certain criticisms were directed against the Bill and against the Parliamentary Secretary for having prepared it in a particular way. It was suggested that because of the position by which the Minister would appoint the board, the board would have to be a political board. Suggestions of that kind are not reasonable. As the Parliamentary Secretary pointed out, three of the six people on the board will be civil servants, and, while we may be in doubt occasionally as to the non-political standing or inclinations of certain civil servants, we must accept that, so far as their actions on boards are concerned, they have lived up to the reputation that they have of carrying out their duties as civil servants irrespective of political influences. So far as the Minister's appointment of political partisans is concerned——

Nobody said he was going to appoint them.

Nobody in this House said it, but it was said in the other House.

Could we not debate this matter ourselves, independent of the other House?

We will debate it ourselves, but with all respect to Senator Hayes, anybody who does not read the debates in the other House is not doing his business as a member of this House. When it suits Senator Hayes or any other member of the Opposition to mention what has been said in the other House by way of repeating words of wisdom, he has no hesitation in repeating them. I do not propose to deal with personalities. I merely want to suggest that nobody in his sane senses would seriously suggest that the present Minister or any other Minister would pick out men for no other reason than that they were men who supported his political Party. That is a fantastic suggestion to make.

It was not made here.

I am not saying it was. I have already said it was not made here, but it will be made here as soon as Senator Baxter has a go at it. I would, however, go so far as to say that if a man happens to have an intimate knowledge of the business of fishing, if he happens to be an expert on fisheries, and if, at the same time, he had the luck and the blessing to be a supporter of the Minister's Party, it should not be taken as a disqualification. We have too much of this business of leaning backwards and I say that any such suggestion is ridiculous. I do not think that any such suggestion could be levelled at any of the boards appointed so far by this Government since they were returned to power or by the previous Fianna Fáil Government. The best men were appointed in so far as it was in the competence of the various Ministers to find them, and if I had the appointment of any such committee or board, I would say that any man with a reasonable amount of common sense would have to be a supporter of the present Government.

Especially after to-day's Budget.

I feel very sorry for Senator Baxter after to-day's Budget, but he can give up drinking whiskey and can drink stout instead. The Bill is an honest effort to reorganise the fishing industry and, while a tremendous job remains to be done, I believe that it will be accomplished if we get the co-operation, of which I think we have had an indication, of every section of the people. Going back over the years, we find that we had a very big fishing industry, but, for some reason which I cannot explain—perhaps it is not possible to explain it—that industry deteriorated over the years, and within the past two or three years looked as if it were heading for extinction altogether. I believe that the reason for that was that, as the industry reached lower levels down the years, it reached a point at which there were very few men in the industry on a whole-time basis and, as the various speakers, including Senator Hayes, pointed out, we finally got to the stage at which, instead of regular fishermen, we had part-time farmers and part-time fishermen, half farmer and half fisherman. At the same time, we had the half-turf worker and half fisherman. Over the past three years, due to the action of the previous Government in more or less shutting down on the turf industry, many of these men were forced back to a half-time job of fishing and because they could not make their living at it, they had to accept the only alternative and flee the country.

We have to get the people fish-minded. We need, as much as anything else, a considerable amount of propaganda in support of fish. At present fish can be got on Fridays in the cities but if one goes into the average restaurant or hotel on any other day one will find fish very difficult to get, and we have to get to a situation wherein fish can be got not alone in the cities but in the provincial towns. We are very far from that stage at present and if we are to get to that stage it will only be reached by intensive organisation.

The Bill contains provision for dealing with supplies of fish caught at various points around our coast and we need to have first-class methods of transportation to get that fish to the point at which it can be sold and pending its sale it will be necessary to have first-class cold storage facilities. Cold storage is one of the biggest items to be provided for because, while I am not an expert on fishing and am not in possession of all the facts, I know that the fishing industry suffers greatly because of the uncertainty with regard to the coming of shoals into Irish waters. The fish come in periodically but there is no way of deciding when they are likely to come, and they are caught in numbers which cannot be handled and a considerable amount of fish goes to waste as a result. That situation must be overcome. It can be overcome to a large extent by the provision of cold storage or refrigeration facilities and also by dealing with the surplus fish by means of the production of fish meal. I understand that one factory to provide fish meal is about to start in Killybegs and I suggest that similar plants should be established at suitable points on other portions of our coasts, otherwise we are going to have the position we have had over a number of years in which fish have to be thrown back into the water. Perhaps in the initial stages it may not be possible to produce fish meal at an economic price but the production of fish meal would provide a valuable food for pigs and poultry and for other purposes. I believe it is something which could be developed, and the bigger the development the more economic the production will be.

Equipment is of the utmost importance and everything possible should be done to ensure that adequate equipment is provided for the fishermen. In that industry, as in every other walk of life, we have what we call an advance though perhaps, in actual fact, it may not be an advance. People are not now prepared to work with the same implements with which their predecssors worked even up to 30, 40 and 50 years ago. At that time our fishermen, whether at Kinsale, Bantry Bay or anywhere else, were prepared to go into deep waters with sailing boats, but I think that that time has passed. If we are to have satisfactory results from our fishing industry I believe desperate efforts will have to be made to provide the proper types of boats and equipment and so induce our young men to take up fishing as a way of life. If we are to compete successfully with the deep-sea fishermen of other countries who are at present fishing outside our territorial limits we must provide proper boats and proper equipment for our men. If we do that I believe that within a reasonable period of time our fishing industry will be a credit to the country.

Figures have been quoted which show that, with proper organisation and the will to work, the fishing industry can be built up to run, possibly, neck and neck with the agricultural industry. If that is so, and I believe that it is, then no effort should be spared to ensure that every possible encouragement is given to our fishermen and to the fishing industry generally.

It must be borne in mind that most of the areas where the fishing industry has been developed and has been in existence over a long number of years will come under the heading of undeveloped areas, except perhaps portion of the area around Dublin and the eastern coast. It ought, therefore, be possible to concentrate on these undeveloped areas and give them the assistance which has been promised to undeveloped areas under a Bill which was recently passed by this Oireachtas.

The fishing industry is perhaps one of the oldest industries in this country and that industry has been immortalised in song and in story. Take, for instance, the old song "Bantry Bay". We all know the line: "The fishers sail a-homing and the little herring fleet at anchor lay." One can picture Bantry Bay as it was 40, 50 or 60 years ago with a large number of fishing boats in it. Bantry Bay to-day is one of the loveliest little harbours in the world but, unfortunately, the fishing boats are missing and to-day you will see only something like three or four fishing boats there. The same applies to the various other harbours which had a tradition as far as the fishing industry was concerned. I believe that with proper encouragement the fishing industry can be brought back to what it was a good many years ago and perhaps to an even more efficient state than it has ever been in before.

I was told to-day by a man who is an authority on the matter that when the fishing industry was strong in this country some of our fishermen were sent to other countries, such as Spain and Scotland, to train the fishermen of those countries at their job. It is a regrettable fact that our present position is that we practically have to get men from Spain and Scotland and elsewhere to lecture the young men of Ireland on the various methods of fishing. However, I suppose we are getting only some of our own back. I am quite certain that the Parliamentary Secretary will avail of every possible opportunity to get the benefit of all the knowledge and the experience that can be got for the fishing industry and thereby put it on a proper footing.

Senator Hayes dealt with the language. Quite definitely the Irish language has made greater progress in the fishing areas than in practically any other area in the country. Thanks to the fact that our fishermen have remained relatively untouched by foreign influence, the Irish language in the fishing areas is on a very strong footing. Some of the people from the fishing areas have been moved to the midlands and to various positions in the city and throughout the country. They have helped to spread the language, and the position to-day is that there is not one man either in this House or the other House who will voice an objection against the development of the Irish language. Anything we do to help the fishing industry will at the same time be a step towards the preservation and development of the Irish language.

I believe that propaganda in support of the fishing industry is very important. If we had a board of doctors or a committee of doctors, for instance, to go into the matter, I believe that they would have no hesitation in advising the people to eat fish three days a week and perhaps even oftener. Senator Hayes has told us that he eats fish twice a week. I know plenty of people who are in indifferent health and who have been advised by their doctors to cut out meat altogether and to eat nothing but fish. Propaganda is an important matter which should receive consideration. While I do not want to suggest that the Parliamentary Secretary should set up half a dozen committees in connection with propaganda, I believe that propaganda is worthy of notice.

It is well known that for a considerable time past this country has been importing fish. Any foreigner who might come to visit us or read about us would say that we must be crazy to import fish in view of the fact that our country is an island. There is no doubt that if we set about the task we can, with very little difficulty, provide all the requirements of this country as far as fish is concerned. When we have achieved that position I believe that we can then develop a considerable export trade. In any event, our aim should be to ensure that we shall be able to supply adequate supplies of fish to the people of this country. It was mentioned in the Dáil that fish caught off the coast of Cork is first sent to Dublin and then sent back from Dublin to Cork for sale. That is really fantastic and should not be allowed to happen.

Certain people are alarmed because the fishing industry—I think it was Senator Hayes who said it—was being put into the hands of six people and that people had misgivings as to what was likely to happen with those six people in complete control of the fishing industry in this country. I feel sure that the Parliamentary Secretary will deal with that matter when replying. As far as I am concerned, I believe that is a really unnecessary fear as far as individuals are concerned. The six people will—if they have any sense at all and I hope they will not be appointed if they have not sense—take the suggestions and advice of the committee which is to be elected by the various people interested in the fishing industry itself. They will take their suggestions from them. They will really be an administrative board to carry out the policy and put the various schemes into operation.

The suggestion has been made that, as a result of this Bill, we will have Dublin men controlling the fishing industry on the west coast, on the east coast and on all the other coasts. I think that does not really merit any notice whatever. We have men in Dublin from every part of the country —from practically every square mile of the country. There is no point whatever in referring to the Cork man living in Dublin as a Dublin man. If it goes to that, we have more men who are bred, born and reared in the City of Dublin running the biggest industries in this country, and running them successfully.

The one industry I am thinking of is the turf industry. The turf industry is being run by a man who was bred, born and reared in Dublin. I wish the Parliamentary Secretary a lot of luck, and I hope he will get another man, whether from Galway, Cork or Tipperary, who will be as efficient in the fishing industry as the man I have mentioned is in regard to the turf industry.

I take it there will be no adjournment for tea?

Naturally, the other House is the focus of general attention this afternoon, but I think we would be rather scamping our duty if we neglected careful consideration of this Bill. The other House is dealing with pounds, shillings and pence for this year, but we are dealing with one of the richest natural sources of wealth for our country. Next to what grows on the land, what we can take from the sea is our richest source of wealth. We have no mineral wealth of any great importance, and if we neglect this wealth round our shores we will be doing a very grave disservice to our country. The Minister for Finance has appealed for more production and more employment, and here we have an admirable chance of increasing production and increasing employment. It does, I think, deserve our most careful attention, and the House, I hope, will forgive me if I do my best to get it some of that attention.

What I have to offer is not what Senator Quirke likes to call opposition. That is a word which I dislike in this House. What I wish to offer is criticism—independent criticism in view of the importance of the Bill. Clearly it is a well-intentioned Bill, but frankly, in company with many members of the other House, I do not like it and I will say why.

I did, as it happens, study the Dáil Debates in some detail and, if I may say so, I think those debates are greatly to the credit of the other House. It showed the other House at its best both in their general criticism and in their detailed criticism. I do not agree with Senator Quirke, however, when he suggested that it is always our duty to study the debates of the other House. I sometimes think it is better not to do so. There is more of a risk of contamination sometimes than of illumination. Certainly when Senator Quirke goes out of his way to import some of the acrimony from the other House into our debates, I think few of us will give him our full support. However, it happens in this case that I did study that debate in detail and with considerable admiration.

Like Senator Quirke in this, I am not personally an expert on fishing and I will confine my attention to general questions. I am disturbed by certain suggestions in the Dáil debate that the Bill was partly framed to exclude certain interests in our country to-day. I am singularly innocent on these matters of vested interests, but I am made uneasy by these suggestions and would like to ask some specific questions. Is it an object of this Bill— apart, of course, from the desire to increase the productivity of our fisheries and so on — to exclude foreign exploitation? Is it to prevent certain unjust business methods in the fishing industry at the moment? Or is it simply another phase in what I must call the jungle warfare of business life, which appals me every time the curtain is lifted?

I do not know the answers to these questions, but I am a little uneasy, when I read some of the clauses, that certain interests are having the better of this Bill. I should like to have reassurance on that. But I am still more uneasy at some clauses which suggest to my mind that perhaps the heinous crime of these people is simply that of catching large quantities of fish and getting the best price they can for them. I hope I will be proved wrong about that, but it sometimes happens in that way.

On these questions I speak frankly from ignorance, but I should like some reassurance. I am uneasy about any legislation which is aimed apparently in part or in whole against certain sections of the State. I am sure the Parliamentary Secretary will be able to reassure me on these points, but I feel it my duty to raise them.

I turn now to some matter upon which I speak from less ignorance. Obviously there is the high price of fish in our country. A common mackerel — it was quoted in the Dáil— costs us 9d., and as Senator Hayes remarked a fish meal in our Dublin restaurants costs us more than a meat meal. That is a scandalous state of affairs for an island nation, and unless we can do something to improve that we are wasting the good gifts of nature in a most shameful way.

The second point is the frequent shortages of fish in our country. It is sometimes quite hard to get any fish at all. I think, in contrast, of those richly stocked continental fish markets. You go into a little town in the south of France, something of the kind of Youghal or Skibbereen, and the fish market is as interesting as the Dublin Zoo in the variety and excellency of the fish that are there. It is quite true that the Mediterranean affords opportunities which the Atlantic does not afford, but I feel that the discrepancies between the two countries is not entirely due to the fish population of our seas. I am quite certain that we could have fish markets which would at least compare with those in small continental towns.

We must remember that, if the Irish people are not greatly inclined to eat fish, we are attempting to increase our tourist population. If there is one thing the tourist does like it is fresh fish caught in the locality. When I go abroad I nearly always ask if there is any fish from the neighbouring waters and I nearly always get it. How often can one do that in an Irish hotel? From my experience, very rarely. It is generally, as Senator Quirke pointed out, fish sent down from Dublin the night before.

Another point — scandalous in its own way — is that we are importing tinned fish. I think the Parliamentary Secretary admitted in the debate in the Dáil that we are even sometimes importing fresh fish. That hardly needs comment. If we cannot supply our own country from the rich waters around us have we a right to talk of increased productivity when we neglect the raw materials that swim around our shores?

My last general point is about our empty harbours. I remember — and I am not a very old man — when the harbour in Dunmore East was filled with fishing boats. I was recently down in Bantry, to which Senator Quirke referred, and there were more Spanish ships in sight than Irish ships. If the Spaniards think it worth while coming some 600 miles to our shores, surely we ought to be able to make something more of the fish within three miles of our shores. Clearly something is needed but I just wonder whether the present Bill is adequate for that.

I see elements of compulsion and restriction in this Bill which I do not like. What is needed, I feel, is inducement and attraction rather than compulsion and restriction. I see again that there is a virtual State competition with private producers in this Bill. In fact, in the public Press in the last few days it has been described as socialism. I do not believe, personally, that to call anything an "ism" is a good argument; but I agree with Senator Hayes that some of the provisions are questionable. I look at Section 9 (6) (b), which says that the catches of certain vessels can only be disposed of through this board. I would like an explanation of that. Perhaps I have missed something. It seems to me that this is a restriction and not an inducement. Perhaps it is to safeguard the interests of the inshore fishermen, but I do not like this safeguarding of sectional interests. It is against the national interests. What we want is more fish and better fish at a lower price, and I ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether this clause will conduce towards that end.

Again, in Section 15 (2) (e) and (f) I see something very like direct State competition with private firms. Can the Parliamentary Secretary reassure me on that? There is one special question I should like to ask him. How will this Bill affect the shark fishermen in Achill? In its small way, that very interesting experiment has been producing remarkably good results. Will they come under this Bill, will they be hampered by this Bill, or will they be helped by it?

I now turn to a more general point. I have raised this before, and I will raise it again, if I can, on every Fishery Bill that comes before the House, until some concession is made. To my mind, the worst feature of this Bill is in Part I, line 26, in the phrase "The ‘Minister' means the Minister for Agriculture". I insist that we need a separate Ministry for Fisheries. Needless to say, that is not any disparagement of the present fisheries branch of the Department. I have sat on a special committee with members of that branch and I know their work from other sources; and I know they are doing their work excellently. I remember with some sadness, too, that on a previous occasion when I raised this point, the then Minister for Agriculture poured the vials of his wrath on my quaking head for the best part of an hour. I am sure the present Parliamentary Secretary will not take it in that way.

I insist now, and will often insist again if necessary, that we do need a separate Ministry for Fisheries. Why was the original Ministry for Fisheries absorbed? With the help of the Librarian this afternoon. I did a little research on this mystery. I found that in 1923 there was a separate Minister for Fisheries, Mr. Fionán Lynch. He was not, interestingly enough, a member of the Executive Council at that time, but I find that he was made a member of the Executive Council as Minister for Fisheries in 1927. Later— by 1932, at any rate — that Ministry was absorbed into the Ministry for Lands and Fisheries. The old quarrel between the land and the sea apparently broke out and that arrangement had to be broken up, and the poor Ministry for Fisheries was then added to the Ministry for Agriculture, and lost its independent status again. Why? I think it was a great pity to deprive it of its independent status.

There is a need for a Minister for Fisheries to fight his corner in the Government. It is not enough to have a Parliamentary Secretary because, unless I am wrong, he has not an opportunity of voicing policy directly in the Cabinet. If we had a special Minister, he could fight his corner, as it needs to be fought — and even against agriculture occasionally. What was the late Minister doing but trying to drain all the water out of Ireland, to get the rivers as low as possible? Water is the enemy of the Minister for Agriculture. But we need water as a friend for the fishing industry.

That is not fair.

In what way? Anyway, if it brings a smile to the Senator's face, it has done some good. I would quote what was stated in the Dáil debates, that the Fisheries Branch is regarded at present as "a sort of difficult stepchild" of the Ministry of Agriculture. I plead now for a return to the 1923 system, a separate and independent Minister for Fisheries. We have in the seas a rich harvest of raw material, to put it in both agricultural and industrial terms. Yet within the last 30 years its productivity has steadily declined, and the employment has steadily grown smaller. Senator Quirke has referred to that. With a Minister for Fisheries, we would get something better than this Bill, with all its good points. I think we would get something more comprehensive, something less sectional, and something worthy of the nation as a whole. So, while I welcome this Bill in so far as it attempts to improve the situation, I cannot help describing it as inadequate.

Cuirimsa fáilte roimh an mBille. Is dóigh liom nach ndéanfaidh sé aon díobháil do na hiascairí imeallbhoird. Dúradh go raibh an Bille chun díobháil mhór a dhéanamh do na hiascairí imeallbhoird. Ní aontaím leis sin. Tá fhios agam go bhfuil an Bille chun cabhrú leo. Is dóigh liom go mbeidh saol i bhfad níos fearr acu nuair a bheidh an Bille seo i bhfeidhm. Nuair a tugadh an Bille Iascaigh Mhara isteach blian ó shoin cheap a lán daoine go raibh ceist na n-iascairí socraithe. Ní mar sin a bhí. Tá súil agam anos igo ndéanfaidh an Bille seo an obair mar tá na hiascairí i gcruadh-chás gan aon dabht. Bhí an scéal maith go leor go dtí go dtáinig na báid mhóra ó Shasana agus ón Spáinn agus áiteanna eile agus gur sciobadar na héísc go léir, nach mór, as an bhfarraige. Tá súil agam go gcuirfidh an Bille seo deire leis sin.

I listened with some attention to Senator Hayes and Senator Stanford. They fear that this Bill will create another State machine to administer our fisheries. Something had to be done. The Sea Fisheries Association under the last Bill did good work but it did not succeed in doing what we are trying to do now. It did not succeed in saving the inshore fishermen and it did not succeed in supplying the market for fish that we believe exists in the country. I am old enough to remember the time before the trawlers began to operate around our coast. At that time fish was cheap and was in plentiful supply and it was brought in entirely by inshore fishermen. Hake, which is now a luxury, was sold at that time at a ridiculously cheap price and was a very common article of diet. In the last few years fish has become a luxury. I happen to live on one of the finest salmon rivers in the country. Yet we never see a bit of fish. When I was very young salmon could be purchased at a very cheap price. For years past nobody in the district has seen a salmon unless those who happen to have a friend who knows how to get an odd fish.

This Bill will solve a lot of the difficulties that exist at present. It will give protection to the inshore fishermen. I take it from what the Parliamentary Secretary said that its purpose is to preserve the status of the inshore fishermen, not to put them out of business. I cannot see how else the problem could be solved. If, for instance, a private trawler owner were invited to take over fishing, I do not see how that would save the inshore fishermen. The main object of the board that is being established will be the preservation of the inshore fishermen. I cannot agree with Senator Stanford that it will be operated as a State machine to the detriment of the individual citizen. I cannot see any solution of the difficulty other than the Bill before us.

I would be very glad if some solution were found because I know the inconvenience caused all over the country, outside the big cities, by the impossibility of obtaining fish. In the smaller towns, fish is obtainable only once a week and that fish has to be brought a long distance by road and is not always in the best condition when one gets it. Occasionally fish is brought from Milford Haven and other English ports. I think Senator Quirke mentioned some time ago that fish was sent from some of our ports to Dublin and came back again from Dublin to be sold in towns near those ports. That is a ridiculous state of affairs.

If this Bill did nothing else but endeavour to provide us with fish it would perform a very useful function. It is absurd that this island country should have to send to Milford Haven for a box of fish. If the Bill does something to remedy that situation, it will be very welcome.

I did not think there was any necessity for Senator Quirke to rise to the defence of the Parliamentary Secretary in this House. I am sure we all agree that he is very welcome and, after what has been said about the way in which he handled the Bill in the other House, he has come here with a very good recommendation. One felt that Senator Quirke was trying to play himself on to the board, he was so strong in defence of the board. Senator Quirke is not in the House and I shall leave him outside anything I have to say on this Bill.

This Bill unquestionably deals with a very vital part of our economy. I join with Senator Hayes and, to some extent with Senator Stanford, in dislike of the approach which has been made in tackling this problem through the medium of this type of board.

The Parliamentary Secretary has come into a particular inheritance. The fishing industry is in a rather demoralised condition. It is very difficult to place responsibility on anyone for that condition of affairs. I do not pretend to have very much knowledge of the sea, the fish in the sea, and the men who go to fish, but during my experience as a member of the Gaeltacht Commission I had an opportunity of coming into fairly intimate contact with fishermen. We listened to their problems. We saw their boats. We heard their pleas for assistance, and we got to know something of the mentality of the men with whom the Parliamentary Secretary has to deal.

There are aspects of this problem that are more vital to us to-day than they have ever been. There is a shortage of food in the world to-day, and there is no evidence that there will be a sufficiency of food for the human race for a very long time ahead. In so far as we have resources which we can exploit to put food in the mouths of human beings at the present time we should make the best possible effort to do so. We have never fully exploited the opportunities around our coasts. Why? No other country in Europe with such opportunities has neglected them. I think that the Parliamentary Secretary will be a wise man if he pleads for patience and a better understanding of the problem than people have revealed in the course of these discussions.

We have a food which we produce and export, the most valuable and costly food in the world to-day, and it will continue so for a long time: meat. The greater the quantity of this food we can export the better for our balance of payments, but our people have been consuming much more meat per head than they were accustomed to eat 15 or 20 years ago. Standards of living have risen. It should be the purpose of the Parliamentary Secretary, and of the people whom he will mobilise around our coasts to provide our people with an alternative to meat for their dinner table on as many days a week as possible. It should be his aim to increase meat exports as quickly as possible, because the more meat we can sell the better for our nation as a whole. If we are to deny ourselves something which we have been enjoying over the years, we must contrive to replace it by some other protein of equivalent value. This we can fetch from the sea if our people can only be organised to go out and fetch it.

The difficulties confronting the Parliamentary Secretary are very great. There are reasons almost beyond our comprehension why our people have not made better fishermen. It is not a question of their being so fond of the land, because when they have left this country few of them have gone on to the land, as other races do, but rather have gone to the towns. Along the west coast, as some member said earlier, our people are half-farmers, half-fishermen, and I do not believe that they can be a success at either if they continue in that tradition, but it is very difficult in this country to break with tradition. It must be the Parliamentary Secretary's object to bring up a new race of people on our western seaboard who will be prepared to make their living out of the deep. In Britain and Wales young men will go into the mines and live all their lives there; in Manchester young people will go into the textile industry and live all their lives in it, and it is the same in some of our Six Counties. We have here a way of life for thousands of our people if they can only be encouraged to adopt it.

As we know, the battle with the deep is always hazardous and it can be very expensive. On a stormy night a poor fisherman may lose everything which has been built up in his family over a generation, and capital is not available to him to replace it. There can be much more security with the new organisation. You can organise people for production and place at their disposal the means of production. It will not be enough to encourage them to produce unless you have an equally effective and efficient marketing organisation, and the building up of a marketing organisation in this country is not simple. Senator Goulding, who should know a great deal about it and, I am sure, does, Senator Stanford and others have said how invidious it is that one cannot get fish, say, in Galway, which does not come from Dublin. The development of our fishing resources has been slow and almost neglected, because we have not that pressure of population which exists in Britain and on the Continent.

We have ample food for our people, but if these resources were not available from our own land we would have been forced to go out on the deep to provide them. That is the main difficulty the Parliamentary Secretary will have in building up the new organisation. We have a thin and scattered population. We know quite well that to transport a small hamper of fish ten or 20 miles in days gone by was a rather expensive operation and probably not worth the while either of the merchant at the port where the fish was landed or of the man who caught it. It was a better plan to send the fish direct in quantity to the Dublin market and have it distributed from there or sometimes to Britain.

Before you can develop a taste for fish, now that we see fewer and fewer fish, especially in inland towns, propaganda must be undertaken and that will not be simple either. If fish is to be sold effectively, the new organisation will be very wise if it can link up the sale of fish with the sale of meat. You need some of the facilities available to up-to-date butchers. In addition, the price of fish must be such as to make it attractive to the consumer. That presupposes a highly efficient marketing organisation and that organisation must be efficient everywhere: from the point of view of the boats going to sea, landing the catches, the transport and distribution; in every department there must be efficiency and for the people who fish security in the sense that there will be a continuous market. A long-term policy, therefore, has to be conceived. Just as there is in regard to the farmer the idea that there must be a three-years', four-years' or five-years' plan with his tillage rotation, and that he must know what he will get for his crop before he sows it, so must we build up the same type of organisation in regard to the effort to organise our fishing industry and the marketing of our fish.

That is going to be a rather difficult, complicated and onerous task and there may be some vested interests to-day which may not welcome the effort on the part of the State to do this. While it may not be obvious in this Bill, you are going to have to do battle with those who to-day are putting on the market a protein food. You are going to compete in the future with these people if you propose to put another type of protein food before consumers. You have to get the goodwill — and it is very important to secure it — of the people in the meat trade throughout the country if you are going to make the sale of fish reasonably successful and to build up a clientele in all our towns who will take a quantity of fish week after week and thus make certain that there will always be as many consumers as will ensure that, when supplies are put into a district, they will be satisfactorily taken up and paid for.

I want to say a word about my approach to this problem in regard to this new board. I accept that nobody other than some authority resembling the State could come in at this stage to tackle the problem which has to be tackled. It will take a very considerable time to pull the strings together, but I would prefer to see this new board undertaking this task of the organisation of our fishing industry and all that follows from it in the form of a chaperon rather than an authority which is going to take on the task and continue it for all time. I recognise, and anybody who has had contact with these people recognises, that it is not going to be an easy job to build up self-reliance amongst our fishermen. It is a risky occupation at best, but, even for the people's good, I think it is very important to make such an approach as this. I feel that, right from the beginning, this new authority undertaking this task on behalf of the Government and the State ought to fix its mind on reaching a stage some day when it would get out of the way and let the people, whose way of life is the sea and whose job it is to do the fishing, organise themselves and their own industry and dispose of their own produce just as other groups of producers do in other spheres of life.

There is the other thought with regard to the constitution of this board. It is to be nominated and nobody disputes the point made by Senator Quirke. I am sure that the people to be put on it will be sensible men. The Parliamentary Secretary is not going to take people out of mental homes to constitute his new board but not more than three of them are to be civil servants. Three of them may be civil servants and one of them will be chairman. Six people are to constitute the board, so that with three civil servants and three others, each with a vote, and the chairman, I presume, with a casting vote, the three civil servants will always dominate and dictate policy. That is perhaps all right in certain circumstances and for a period but I think it is not a sound approach in the ultimate, so far as the development of any industry is concerned, and in the case of an industry which can be built up here to the extent and of the dimensions to which our fishing industry has possibilities of being built up, I think it is an approach which, in the long view, we ought to hesitate about making.

I concede to the Parliamentary Secretary the fact that it is a difficult job, that the instruments available to him to rehabilitate this industry are few and that he has to try this means which he has conceived and give it an opportunity. At the same time, I do not want to see us initiating a proposal through legislation which will give us a race of men who feel that the fishing industry — or any other industry for that matter——can only be built up, maintained, sustained and carried on in future by absolute dependence on the State and a State organisation. I would not like to see it with the dairy men, with the beet men, with the cattle raisers — with any branch of industry in this country or any undertaking in the industrial field. I think it would not be desirable. In the long run, this paternal approach is something of which we should fight shy.

We will have an opportunity on Committee Stage of examining some of the sections on which we want additional information. So far as the House is concerned, I know that it approaches this measure in the same spirit as that in which it was approached in the other House and the Parliamentary Secretary can rest assured that whatever help or facilities we can give him in improving the Bill, we are ready to give. We welcome his effort and we wish him well.

Tá spéis an-mhór ar fad agamsa sa mBille seo agus spéis ó thaithí agus ó cheachtadh sa tionscal go bhfuil an Bille chun fonamh a dhéanamh dó. Tógadh mé i dteannta na ndaoine go raibh baint acu leis an saghas seo saothair agus an saghas seo slí bheatha. Tá taithí agam air le mo chuimhne, le 60 blian, agus chonaic mé an tionscal sin a shaothrú, á fhorbairt, ag titim i léig, ag teacht ar ais arís agus ag dul chun blátha san méid sin aimsire, agus tá eolas agam ar na fáthanna fé ndear na hathruithe a tháinig air i ndiaidh a chéile. Ní dóigh liomsa go bhfuil an Rúnaí Parlaiminte ag glacadh cúraim air atá furast nó réidh le déanamh chun an tionscal seo a thógáil chun inmhe agus a bhunú i slí in a dtiúrfar rath air fé dheoidh agus fé dheire. Tá caint mar gheall air agus cáineadh mar gheall ar an Stát a bheith ag teacht isteach sa ghnó agus ba thuigthe ón gcaint sin go bhfuiltear ag coimeád daoine amach as an tionscal, daoine a bhfuil airgead acu a thiocfadh isteach agus a choimeádfeadh ar siúl é.

Im chuimhne féin, bhí an tionscal seo ag brath ar dhaoine príobháideacha go raibh airgead acu agus ag brath ar lucht thionscal príobháideach chun a gcuid airgid a chur sa tionscal seo agus saothrú fónta a dhéanamh ann. Ós rud é go raibh obair na ndaoine sin ag bratb, fé mar a bhí sé, ar spéis phríobháideach, tá an tionscal seo i dtreo níos measa anois ná mar a bhí sé aon am le linn mo chuimhne féin. Ní dócha, sa tslí ina bhfuil an domhan fé láthair, go dtiocfaidh daoine príobháideacha isteach feasta chun an tionscal seo d'athbhunú agus go seasfaidh siad leis an dtionscal le na gcuid airgid. Is trua nach bhfuil aon gheallúint ná aon tsamhlú ann go dtarlódh a leíthéid. Mar sin, níl aon dóchas ann ach go dtiocfadh an Stát isteach agus cúram Stáitiúil a dhéanamh den ghnó seo féachaint an féidir an tionscal d'athbhunú. Níl aon dealramh ann go dtiocfaidh aon duine ná údarás príobhádeach, lasmuigh de na daoine a chuireann an Stát aiin, chun an tionscal seo d'fhóirithint ón mbaol atá ag bagairt air.

Ní aontaím le cuid den méid a dúradh sa díospóireacht sa Dáil ná le cuid dá ndúradh sa Tigh seo. Luadhí figiúirí, go bhfnil 10,000 daoine sa chuid sco d'Éirinn sa tionscal seo. Táim in amhras faoin uimhir &in. Luadh ann go bhfuil 2,000 daoine san tionscal seo, gurb é an t-aon tslí bheatha amháin acu é. Ón taithí atá agamsa ar na cuanta iascaireachta sa tír seo táim in amhras faoin uimhir sin. Ní dóigh liom go bhfúil 2,000 daoine sa tír seo gurb í an iascaireacht an t-aon tslí amháin atá acu chun slí bheatha a bhaint amach dóibh féin.

Tá dhá chineál iascaire agiinn in Éirinn. Tá líon beag daoine ann gurb í an iascaireacht an t-aon chéard amháin atá acu agus tá dream eile daoine ann ná caitheann ach sealanna ar an tionscal sin, nuair a thagann mórán éisc taobh leis an gcósta mar a gcónaíonn siad. Mar sin, tá an t-iascaire lán-aimsearach agus an t-iascaire páirt-aimsearach againn. Is aoirde fé chúig nó fé sé líon na n-íascairí páirt-aimsearacha ná líon na n-iascairí lán-aimsearacha. Tá na hiascairí lán-aimsearacha cruinnithe i gcuid bheag cuanta sa tír seo agus is lucht tráiléirí a bhformhór. Na báid go bhfuil tagairt dóibh sa mBille seo agus go raibh mór-chuid den díospóireacht fúthu, siad sin na báid idir 35 troithe agus 60 troithe. Siad sin na báid atá ag formhór na n-iascairí lán-aimsearacha agus tá na hiascaírí sin scaipthe i gcuanta ó Chuan Bhaile Atha Cliath agus Bhinn Éadair chomh fada leis na Cealla Beaga i dTír Chonnaill agus uaidh sin ó dheas. Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil 2,000 daoine fostaithe lán-aimsearach sa tionscal sin.

Ar fud an chósta go léir tá iascairí páirt-aimsearacha agus siad na báid a bhíonn acu siúd ná báid rámha, na naomhóga agus na curracha beaga. Ní deirim gur iascairí do réir gairme na hiascairí sin. Tá a bhformhór ina bhfeirmeoirí beaga nó ina lucht oibre. Dá mba rud é go raibh scrúdú ar ioncam na n-iascairí páirt-aimsearacha sin gheofaí amach gur beag duine acu a bhaineann amach níos mó ná £20 nó b'fhéidir, ar a aoirde, £50 sa mbliain as an tionscal iascaireachta. Tá spéis ar leith agam sna híascairí páirt-aimsearacha ón taithí atá agam ar na daoine sin. Thar aon ní eile, tá spéis agam san iascaire páírt-aimsearach mar tá a bhibrrohór siúd le fáil sna ceantracha ar a dtugtar an Ghiieltacht nó an Bhreac-Ghaeltacht. Is na ceantracha sin siad na báid bheaga, na báid rámha, na naomhóga agus na curracha a bhíonn in úsáid ag na hiascairí. Go dtí seo sa díospóireacht seo, agus sa díospóireacht sa Dáil, ní raibh aon tagairt do na nithe dob fhéidir a dhéanamh agus ba chóir a dhéanamh chun tairbhe na n-iascairí páirt-aimsire sín.

Rinneadh trácht sa Tigh seo do scéal na Gaeilge agus rinneadh trácht dó sa Dáil freisin faoin mBille seo. Ba mhaith liom a chur ina luí ar an Rúnaí Parlaiminte gur cóir go gcoimeádfadh sé scéal na Gaeilge ina aigne mar chuid den spéis a bheas aige i bfhorbairt tionscail na hiascaireachta agus a bheas aige sa chabhair a thiúrfaídh sé do shaothrú an iascaire páirt-aimsearaich sa Stát seo. Ba mhaíth liom a iarraídh go speísialta ar an Rúnaí Parlaiminte go mbeadh sé i gcónaí ina aigne aige faoin mBille seo slí bheatha a chur ar fáil do na hiascairí páirt-aimsearacha agus do Ghaelgeoirí dúchais. Sé an cineál eile iascairí atá againn ná na daoine go bhfnil báid acu le haghaidh tráiléireachta agus bíonn a bhformhór siúd ag obair sa tionscal sin an bhlíain ar fad.

Tá dhá cheist ann le réiteach — ceist an iascaire pháirt-aimsearaigh agus ceist an íascaíre lán-aimsearaigh — agus tá sé an-thábhachtach go mbeadh an tuiscint sin in aigne an Rúnaí Parlaiminte, mar ní bheadh an saghas cabhrach nó an saghas griosadh a bheadh oiriúnach do chineál amháin iascaire oiriúnach don saghas eile iascaire.

Is dóigh liom go bhfuil an tuiscint ann anois go bhfuil na báid atá in úsáid le 15 nó 20 bliain ró-bheag. Tá siad ró-lag doii chineál oibre atá ag gabháil le hiascacli nua-aimsire. Sna cuanta timpeall an chósta, ar nós an tInbhear Mór, Dún na Séad, Daingean Ui Chúis agus na Cealla Bcaga, ba clióir go mbeadh báid mhóra, báid trí fichid troigh suas go dtí ceithre fichid troigli,. chim freastal ar riaclitanaisí na hiascaireachta sa gharbhmhuir atá ansúd. Ní oireann na báid bheaga a thuille mar ní féidir leo iascacii nua-aimsire a dhéanamh ná dul amach ar an doimhneas. Níl slí bheatha a thuille iontu. Na blianta fada ó shoin bhí ar chumas. na n-iascairí maireachtaint ar dhá phunt sa tseachtain ach bheadh ar iascaire ocht nó deich bpuint in aghaidh na seachtaine thuilleamh, san aimsir atá inniu ann, chun aon chóir fhónta a bheith air, rud nach féidir leis a dhéanamh leis na báid bheaga a bhíodh ann.

Is dóigh liom go gcaithfidh an Roinn báid a bhéas níos mó agus níos troime agus níos éifeachtaí ná mar a bhí ar fáil go dtí seo a sholáthar d'iascairí na hÉireann. Táthar chun leath-mhilliún punt a chur isteach sa tionscal seo. Airgead nua is ea é sin, airgead nár cuireadh isteach sa tíonscail riamh cheana. Beidh an gléas is nua-aimsírí agus is éifeachtaí le fáil acu anois.

Tá dhá chuspóir chínnte ag an mBiIle seo. An chéad cheann soláthaiéisc d'fháil as an bhfarraige ar an méid is mó ís féidir agus leis na gléasanna is nua agus is éifeachtaL

An dara cuspóir an t-iasc sin a ghlacadh, é a choiriú agus é a chur ar díol ar margaí na tíre, i ngach baile agus sráidbhaile, agus pobal na tíre a theagasc agus a ghríosadh chun an t-iasc sin d'úsáid.

Tá an dá chuspóir sin ceangailte comh dlúth le chéile ná héireoidh le ceann acu gan an dá ceann a shaothrú san am céanna agus chomh fóirleathan éifeachtach agus is féidir a. dhéanamh.

Tá cumhachtaí sa Bhille chun na nithe seo a dhéanamh, cumhachtaí iomlána agus is áirithe gur léir don Roinn an fhreagarthacht a bheas orthu chun an tionscal d'fhorbairt agus a thabhairt chun maitheasa d'iascairí ar dtúis, agus do mhuintir na tíre i gcoítine ina dhiaidh sin.

Fé mar adúirt ní raibh puinn idirdhealú á dhéanamh idír na hiascairí go gcaifchfear fónamh a dhéanamh dóiblr Ach déanfaidh an Roinn é sin, ís cinntei mar tá fear ann a thuígeann an gnó de bhíthin a eolais féin.

Bhí gearán ag daoine sa díospóireacht go rabhthas chun dochair a dhéanamh don iascaire chois trá tré iomad cabhartha a thabhaírt do lucht iascaigh doimhin-fharraige. Ní dóigh liomsa go bhfuil bunús an chirt fén gearán sin. Ní dóigh liomsa gurb é cuspóir na Roine dochar a dhéanamh don bhfear beag. Cad chuige a dhéanfadh?

Tá laige amháin ag baínt leis an tionscail iascaigh lem chuimhne-se agus is é laige é sin nách mbíonn deimhniú ann go mbeadh iasc le fáil go féiltiúil rialta. Bhí an éiginnteacht sin ann i gcónaí. Dá mbeadh báid mhóra ann, níor bhaol dóibh beagán drochaimsire. Bheadh deimhniú níos cinnte ar iasc uathu, agus ó dheímhniú an tsoláthair d'fhásfadh nós an éisc d'ithe ag an bpobal. Tá an fhírinne seo ag baint leís an scéal nach féidir tionscail iascaireachta a bhunú go daíngean buan ar bháid rámha, curraígh agus naomhóga. Caithfidh iascach na mbád mór a bheíth ann le bheíth ina thaca agus ína chnámh droma don tionscail.

Ba cheart go bhféadfaimís ár gcuid eisc a chur ar an margadh go luath agus tairbhe a bhaint as. Ní féidir tionscal a bhunú ar an mbád oscailte mar tá deireach leis mar ghléas iascaireachta. Na daoine a théadh amach iontu, tá siad tar éis iad a thréigint agus níl siad ag dul amach a thuille íontu. Ba chóir don Rúnaí dearcadh nua a thabhairt ar an gcineál bád, an cineál gléasa agus an cineál teagaisc a tabharfaí don íascaire páirt-aimsire. Tá deireadh leis an mbád rámha. Caithfidh bád a bheith acu nach stracfaidh na géaga as a ngualainn, bád a mbeidh inneall ann. Fíú amháin más iascaireacht i gcóir gliomach atá i gceist ní féidír leo bheith ag dul 7 míle agus 10 míle sa mbád oscailte, oíche fhuar geimhridh. Tá deireadh leis an mbád rámha fiú amháin sna cuanta ís lú. Ba mhaith líom go mbeadh an rud sin in aigne an Rúnaí agus go ndéanfadh sé machtnamh air.

Cad é an ní is mó ba chóir a chur ar fáil do na hiascairí in áiteacha ar nós Baile na Sceilg? Ní féidir tráiléirí a chur ansín mar sa chéad séideán gaoithe brisfí iad. I mBaile na nGall hhíodh 60 naomhóg ach ní bhéadh ann anois ach dhá cheann nó tri. Siad na hiascairí páirt-aimsire an chuid is mó de na hiascairí agus an chuid is mó de mhuintir na Gaeltachta iad. Tá rud sa mBille a thaithníonn go mór liom — geallúint atá arm níos mó ná cumhacht dlí — mar tá cead ag an mBord nua gléas a chur amach ag iascaireacht uathu féin. Tuigim go bhfuil beartaithe acu dhá bhád nó mar sin a chur ar an bhfarraige ag obair faoí stiúradh an Bhoird féin.

Beidh cead acu daoine óga — printísigh iascaigh — a ghlacadh ar bord loinge agus teagasc nua-aimsire a thabhairt dóibh ar gach ní a bhaineann le cleachtadh, eolaíocht agus eolas an iascaigh. Taitnaíonn sé sin liom ar dhá chúis nó trí. Tá géar-ghá le teagasc agus múineadh a thabhairt dóibh. Ba cheart go mbeadh ina measc daoine go mbeadh cleachtadh acu ar na modha is nuaaimsearaí, na gléasanna is fearr, go mbeadh an t-eolas acu atá le fáil ó iascairí agus ar iascaireacht i ndúthaí eile, agus teagasc le fáil acu a chruthódh istigh ína n-aigne gur de chéird íad go bhfnil gradam agus status tionscail ag gabháil leis, go bhfuil eolas riachtanach chun í a shaothrú i gceart agus go bhfuil gléasanna ann atá nua-aimsearach agus éifeachtúil chun an gnó sin a chur chun ciim. Ba mhaith an rud é go mbeadh an teagasc sin ag na hiascairí óga, a mhúsdódh ionfcu mórtas as a gcérid agus as a n-oilteacht. Bhí gá leis sín in Éirinn le fada. Ní raibh sé ann agus scaoileadh leis an tionscal le himeacht pé slí a shéidfeadh an ghaoth é. Molaim an Rúnaí mar gheall ar an gcuid sin den mBille.

An dara cuspóír atá ag an mBille féachaint i ndiaidh díol agus margú agus leasú éisc. Gan sin a bheith ann ní bheadh i ndán don ghné eile ach teip. Dá mbeadh iasc le fáil sna mbailtí beaga, ar shráideanna na tíre, ceannófaí agus úsáidfí é. Is ait an scéal é iasc a chur i dtír agus a sheoladh chuig na cathracha móra agus nach mbíonn sé le fáil riamh, sna bailtí beaga. Tá áiteacha ar nós Baile Chathair Saidhbhín agus gan breac éisc le fáil ann. Ba cheart go mbeadh gléas margaíochta chun é sin a leigheas, chun go mbeadh íasc ar fáil, go mór mhór sna tithe ósta ar fuid na tíre. Is gá cúram ar leith a dhéanamh de sin.

Is eol dúinn go léir go mbíonn iasc le feiscint ur díol ar thaobh na sráide i gcuid de na bailte. Bíonn smúit na sráide á shéideadh ar an iasc sin. Caithfear aire a thabhairt ná cuirfí iasc ar díol a thuille sa riocht sin. Ní dóigh liom go bhféadfadh duine feoil a chur ar díol mar sin ar taobh sráide — agus tá feol agus iasc inchomórtais maidir le bia. Is cúis gearáin é sin ar dhaoine agus is mí-mhisniú é chun dúil a bheith ag daoine san iasc mar bhia. Bíodh sé i riocht taitnearohach, thar aon ní eile bíodhséglan agus bíodh sé réóite más féidir. Bíodh sé ar racaibh agus ar cláraibh, ionas ná beadh amhras dá laghad maidir le glaíne air. Bíodh sé mar sin más féidír faoí chumhacht an Bhille seo agus cumhacht an Riúnaí Parlaíminte, gan cead a bheíth ag daoine iasc a dhíol mura gcomhlíonann síad na cionníollacha sin. Tá gá leis sin má tá fonn orainn mian ite éisc a bheith sa phobal aris. Tá ceist eile maidir le hiasc. Chonaic mise go ininic na tonnaí éisc ag teacht isteach i gcuan i mbáid-ronnaigh agus scadáín, agus gan margadh ann dóibh i gcásanna áirithe, agus is cuimhin liom an bád ag imeacht arís agus an last ar fad á chaitheamh sa bhfarraíge toisc nach raibh an cead acu é a chaítheamh amach sa bhfarraige laistigh de'n ché mar gheall ar an droch-bholadh a bhíodh air. Tá soláthar ina comhair sin, go mbeadh monarchain agus gléas ann chun reodh a dhéanamL ar an íasc, an dara rud, chun leasú éísc a dhéanamh agus an tríú rud chun min éisc a dhéanamh den bhreis éisc ná féadfaí a dhíol. Tá monarcha acu le bheith á tógáil i dTír Chonaill. Beidh gá le ceann ín aon ,áit a bhfúil fiche bád. Ba cheart go mbeadh ceann acu i nGaillimh agus í gContae Mhuigheo agus ansin ba cheart, cinnte, go mbeadh ceann sa Daingean agus ar chosta Chiarraidhe. Tá sé ag teastáil go mbeadh a leithéid sin ann. Tá go leor sórt éisc ann gur fiúé a thabhairt i dtír agus gur fiú é a chur isteach i monarchain agus leasú nó min a dhéanamh de le haghaidh beathú ainmhithe. Ba cheart go mbeadh gléas ann íonas nár ghá fiú amháin bioránach ná cnúdán a chaitheamh thar n-ais sa bhfarraige, agus go mbainfí feídhm éigean as agus tairbhe éigean as.

Ceist a dhéanann crá mór d'iascairí na hÉireann, an-mhinic ar fad, agus rud is cúis gearáin ar an Rialtas agus cúis crá do lucht dlí ar an gcósta ná na báid thar lear a theacht isteach gairid do chósta na hÉireann. Sé an rud atá i gceist agam an teorann trí mhíle a mbíonn daoine ag trácht air. Tá fhios agam cuan atá 12 mhíle ar leithead agus sé mhíle ar fhaid agus is féidir leis na tráiléirí iasachta gabháil isteach i láir an chuain sin suas le sé mhíle agus ní bheadh sé laistigh den teorainn trí mhíle. Ba cheart deire a chur leis sin. Ba cheart an iascaíreacht laistigh de na cuanta, agus laistigh de na cinn tíre ar fad, a chosaint, ar son na n-iascairí atá againn féin.

Tá ceist eile ann: an é an fcráiléireacht istigh sna cuanta a dhéanann an dochar do shíol an éisc nó an amach ar an lear mór a déantar é, 40 agus 50 míle amach ón gcósta? Tá a fhios againn, a luaíthe a thosaigh an cogadh mór i 1914, go raibh, trí mhí ina dhíaidh sin, iasc de gach uile cineál go flúírseach, istigh in aice na tíre agus i gcuanta na tíre. Ar feadh trí bliana lean sé mar sin go dtí gur thosaigh na tráiléirí ag teacht ar an lear mór arís. Sciobadar an t-iasc agus bhí éísc gann againn arís. Tharla an rod céanna i rith an dara cogadh mór. D'imigh na tráiléirí a bhí ag obair lasmuígh de chósta na hÉireann. I gceann sé mhí bhí an cósta sin lán d'iasc. Bhí na hiascairí ábalta lasta éísc d'fháil gan aon trioblóid agus fuaradar móran airgid air. Tháiníg deíre an dara cogadh mór. Chuaigh na tráiléirí ar ais arís ar an leacan mór, tráiléirí ón Spáinn, ó Shasana, ó Albain, ón Rúis féin, agus í gcionn sé mhí bhí an t-íasc chomh gann agus bhí sé ríamh. Sin é an rud a chuíreann amhras orm, an é an tráiléireacht istigh sna cuanta a dhéanann an dochar nó an tráiléíreacht fhíochmhar a déantar ar an leacan mór amuigh. Is ceist í sin nach féidir liomsa freagra a thabhairt uírthi ach sin é an t-eolas atá faíghte agam ó iascairí Ctuarraighe ar an scéal.

Más é an tráiléaracgt amuigh a dhéanann an dochar, fágann sin, le linn síochána, go mba dochar dúínne é istigh cois cuain. Sin é an argóint is mó a bheadh agamsa go raghadh cuid d'iascairí na hÉireann le hiascaireacht doimhin-fharraige, go raghadh siad amach agus cuid na hÉireann a sciobadh ón leacain mhór sin, go raghadh siad amach agus cuid ár muintire féin d'fháil agus gan í a scaoileadh le lucht na Spáinne, na Breataine agus na hIoruaidhe. Tá slí bheatha ann do chuid mhaith daoine.

Rud so-mhillte, rud so-loitithe is ea bád nó árthach nó aon ní ar an bhfarraige. Is minic a chonaic mé tar éis oíche gála, fiú amháin istigh sna cuanta, báid gurbh fhiú £1,000, £2,000 nó £3,000 iad dá gcailliúint, dá mbriseadh agus dá milleadh. Is dóigh liomsa go mba cheart don Rúnaí, i gcás aon bháid go mbeadh aon bhaint ag an mBórd Iascigh léi, a dheimhniú go mbeadh sí faoi árachas agus go mbeadh cead ag oifigeach ón Roinn dul agus deimhniú go bhfuil aire chóir, aire cheart, á tabhairt don bhád sin. Is aisteach an rud é gur mó de bháid iascaigh a cailltear agus a bristear istigh sna cuanta, díomhaoin, ar ancaire, ná a cailltear amuigh ar an bhfarraige ag iascach. Ba cheart go mbeadh cúram air go mbeadh údarás ag an Roinn ar bhád go bhfuil airgead na Roinne inti. Ba cheart dó aire a thabhairt go mbeadh árachas ortha agus go dtabharfar aire dhóibh— mar a tugadh do churach Fhinn Mhic Chumhail ar cuireadh ceangal lae agus bliana uirthi, fiú amháin nuair nach mbeadh sí amuigh ach uair amháin ar an bhfarraige. Is gá é sin. Chonaic mé stoirm i gcuan dom aithne agus faoi mhaidin milleadh thrí cinn de na báid a bhí ann, agus a dtóin briste agus iad ar ancaire sa gcuan. Ba cheart go mbeadh údarás ag an Roinn ar aon bháid go bhfuil airgead na Roinne inti, ionas go dtabhairfidh na fir an aire dí gur gá a tabhairt di, go gcuirfidh siad péint agus calcadh uirthi, go dtabhairteadh siad an cúram agus an t-aireachas agus an snasadh dí a theastaíonn agus go ndéanfaí san ar son an airgid phoiblí atá caite uirthi. Ba cheart go mbeadh an nós sin go coitianta i measc na n-iascairí uile— níl siad go léir go haireach cé go bhfuil roinnt acu go maith—mar beidh luach £6,000 nó £7,000 sna báid feasta agus níor cheart iad a thabhairt do leisceoirí giobalacha, daoine nach dtabharfaidh aire do na báid.

Molaim an Bille agus traoslaíom don Rúnaí as a fheabhas atá na cumhachta léirithe ann agus as an éifeacht atá ann chun an tionscal atá i ndroch-threo a bhunú arís. Tá leath-mhíliún púnt d'airgead poiblí ag dul isteach ann, airgead nach mbeadh le fáil as aon tobar eile le cur sa tionscal. Ba cheart don Rúnaí a chrutú i measc iascairí, go mór mhór iascairí óga, mórtas as a gceird, as an teicnic agus as an eolas atá acu, agus as na gléasanna nua-aimseartha a bheidh acu faoi na lámha chun a dtairbhe féin agus chun tairbhe na hÉireann. Molaim an Bille.

Is iomaí focal a canadh ar an iascaireacht sa Dáil agus sa tSeanad ó cuireadh an Stát seo ar bun agus is iomaí punt airgid a caitheadh leis. Ina dhiaidh sin is uilig níl muid ag dul chun cinn mar is cóir leis an tionscal seo. Tá muid "ag ligint ár maidí le sruth" mar deir sean-iascairí an iarthair. Tá muid ag dul siar ar gcúl.

Is an-aisteach an scéal é: gídh go bhfuil an tír seo ina suí mar tá sí "ar bharr na toinne" agus an fharraige ar gach taoibh dínn, nach dtig linn tionscal na hiascaireachta a chur chun tosaigh mar a dhéanann tíortha eile: an Ioruaidh, an Spáinn, an Bhreatain, sa Fhrainc. Tá muid ag útamáil agus ag ionfairt leis ar feadh bliantaí gan mórán tairbhe. Tá rud éigin cearr; tá dream éigin ciontach. Sé obair an Rúnaí agus a dhualgas speisialta an iarnain seo a réiteach agus an tionscal a chur ar a bonnaí go daingean. Bheirim mo bheannacht dó san obair sin agus tá súil agam go n-éireoidh leis.

Tá mise mo cónaí in imeall na farraige i dTír Chonaill agus in m'óige féin chonaic mé na múrthaí éisc ina gcarnáin ar na cladaigh againn. Chuaigh mórán den iasc sin go Sasain san am ach fágadh mórán de sa bhaile againn féin—bia saor, folláin ag muintir na tuaithe. Anois níl ruball éisc le feiceáil againn ná greim éisc le hithe againn ach go hannamh. Cibé iasc a gheibhtear faoin gComhlachas Iascaigh sciobtar ar shiul é go Baile Átha Cliath agus má díoltar dada de ag an phort tá sé mar ór bhuí. Is annamh anois a gheibhtear iasc i lár na tíre agus má gheibhtear níl sé úr ná blasta. Bheireann daoine fuath d'iasc mar seo mar cuireann sé samhnas orthu. Bhí i bhfad níos mó éisc againn agus é rannta níos acomhairí, níos cothroime ar fud na tíre sul a bhfuair an Comhlachas Iascaigh greim ar an tionscal seo riamh. Admhaím go dearn na trálairí dochar mór do bháighe Dhún na nGall dhá fhichead bliain ó shoin. Bhí slua soitheach ó Shasain ann san am agus sciob siad leo ní amháin an t-iasc ach pór an éisc. Dob é sin an talamh iascaireachta abfhearr a bhí ar chóstaí an iarthair. Fágadh é fuar folamh gan iasc agus b'éigin don iascaire bhocht imeacht thar sáile. Fuair sé faoiseamh le linn na gcogaí móra agus bhí sé ag bisiú le seal blianta anois. Ach do réir chosúlachta is gairid go nglanfaidh na trálairí an bháighe arís do réir mar tá siad ag oibriú. Sé mo bharúil féin go bhfuil an mogall robheag sna líonta ag na trálairí agus na "seiners." Ní raghaidh mion-iasc ar bith tríd na líonta seo. Tógtar tonnaí d'iasc bheaga mar seo, iasc nach bhfuil margadh dó agus téann na molltraí díobh amú ar na céanna. Táim ag iarraidh ar an Rúnaí rud éigin a dhéanamh le mion-iasc a shábháil ó na trálairí seo. Mholfainn don Rúnaí ranganna a chur ar bun ag gach port iascaireachta do iascairí óga agus léachtaí a bheith acu ó dhaoine oilte a rabh cleachtú acu ar gach cineál iascaireachta. Thug an sean C.D.B. fir eolasacha chugainn i nDún na nGall as Albain agus d'fhoghlaim na hiascairí mórán uathu. Tá glún óg iascairí againn anois agus bheadh eolas a dhíth orthu fá chéird na hiascaireachta. Thabharfadh na fir seo fios dóibh ar na bádaí is foirstiní, na gléasraí a d'fhóirfeadh do gach saosúr agus gach cineál éisc. Bhearfadh siad comhairle dóibh bheith cúramach fá bhádaí agus gléasra agus an t-airgead a shaothródh siad go cruaidh ar an fharraige a cur i dtaisce.

Bhí caint shuimiúil sa Dáil fan Bhille seo, cruthú gur mheaigh agus gur mheas na teachtaí gach taobh den scéal. Níl mé ar aon intinn le cuid acu adeir gur cóir na hiascairí cois chladaigh a chur i leataoibh agus cead a gcinn a bheith ag na bádaí móra agus na trálairí. Go dearfa, beimíd ag éagaoin go mór ar an Rúnaí Parlaiminte má gheibhthear cead seo a dhéanamh. Bheadh iontas orm mura dtabharfadh sé cothrom na féinne do na bádaí beaga. Tá na mílte iascairí den dream seo ar chostaí na hÉireann agus ba chóir dúinn cuidiú agus treoir a thabhairt dóibh. Tá fhios ag an Rúnaí ar ndóigh gur seo an cineál iascaireachta a chleacht muintir na Gaeltachta agus má cuirtear dá gcúrsa iad ní raghaidh sé chun sochair don Ghaeltacht ná don tír.

Tá an oiread sin ráite cheana ar an mBille seo ag na daoine go bhfuil eolas maith acu ar an tionscal ná fuil mórán fágtha le rá agamsa mura dtéinn siar ar chuid de na rudaí atá ráite acu. Ar an gcéad dul síos, ba mhaith liom, mar dhein daoine eile, Seanadóirí agus Teachtaí Dála, ard-mholadh a thabhairt don Rúnaí Parlaiminte mar gheall ar an mBille seo a thabhairt isteach, mar tuigtear domsa gur iarracht fónta é chun an tionscal seo, an tionscal tábhachtach seo, an iascaireacht, a thógaint as an droch-chuma ina bhfuil sé agus é a chur ar a bhonnaibh i gceart arís. Ní haon obair éadrom atá roimh an Rúnaí Parlaiminte. Is obair an-achrannach é seo iascaireachta na tíre do chur ar a leas.

Tá rudaí sa Bhille a raghaidh chun sochair don tionscal, is dóigh liom, agus ar an gcéad cheann acu sin, tá an Bord nua seo á chur ar bun. Roimhe seo, ní raibh i mbun an gnótha ach an Comhlachas Iascaigh Mhara. Tá deire á chur anois leis an gComhlucht sin agus tá coiste á chur ar bun i dteannta an Bhoird atá luaite agam. Tá daoine ann a déarfadh, b'fhéidir, nár chuir an Comhlachas Iascaigh Mhara aon fheabhas ró-mhór ar an tionscal le linn dóibh a bheith i mbun an ghnótha, ach fé mar is eol domhsa, dheineadar cuid mhaith oibre, agus cuid mhaith oibre fónta, le linn dóibh bheith ann, ach sé a bhí ag cur as dóibh níos mó ná aon ní eile ná easpa airgid a bheith orthu. B'shin é an rud ba mhó a bhí ag chur as dóibh, easpa airgid, agus dár ndóigh, ní féidir mórán a dhéanamh maidir leis seo, ná maidir le haon ní eile, gan airgead a bheith ann chuige.

Tugaim fé ndeara anois go bhfuil leath-mhilliún, £500,000, á chur ar fáil don bhord nua seo agus ní beag an méid é sin má baintear feidhm cheart as ar mhaithe leis na hiascairí, agus is dóigh liom go mbainfear mar brathan a lán ar an té atá as cionn na hoibre agus tá fhios againn go léir go bhfuil an té atá os cionn na hoibre anois duthrachtach agus suimiúl san obair atá idir lámha aige, an Rúnaí Parlaiminte atá anseo. Tá eolas maith aige ar chúrsaí iascaireachta é féin. Ina theanta sin, ba bhall don Comhlachas Iascaigh Mhara ar feadh mórán blian é agus dá bhrí sin is féidir a rá go dtuigeann sé na fadhbanna atá ag gabháil leis an tionscal seo.

As éisteacht domh le cuid de na cainteoirí a labhair anseo agus ag léamh na n-oráideacha a tugadh sa Dáil mar gheall ar an mBille seo agus go mór-mhór ag éisteacht dom leis an gcaint a dhein an Seanadóir Ó Siochfhradha, cuireadh i gcuimhne dhom an tábhacht atá ag baint leis an tionscal seo maidir leis an nGaeltacht. Bhí Bílle anseo cúpla mí ó shoin agus chuireamar go léir an-spéis ann, mar gheall ar cheist sin na Gaeltachta, agus tá fhios agam go ndéanfaidh an Bille seo tairbhe don Ghaeltacht nuair a bheidh sé ina Acht. Tá súil agam go dtiocfar i gcabhair ar na daoine sin, go mór-mhór na daoine atá ar obair páirt-aimsire san iascaireacht go dtiocfar i gcabhair orthu maidir le stiúrú agus le hairgead.

Dúirt an Seabhac go raibh sé in amhras faoin méid daoine a deirtear atá ag gabháil don iascaireacht mar shlí bheatha agus tá mé féin in amhras faoi leis. Deirim ná fuil oiread daoine ag tuilleamh a mbeatha as agus adeirtear, ach is rud beag é sin. Is é mo thuairimse, agus is é tuairim an tSeabhaic leis, gurb iad na hiascairí páirt-aimsearacha na daoine is tábhachtaí mar cónaíonn cuid mhór díobh siúd sa bhFíor-Ghaeltacht agus sa Bhreac-Ghaeltacht—daoine go bhfuil báid bheaga acu agus a théann amach ag iascach as a stuaim féin ins na báid bheaga sin. Ba chóir gach cabhair agus gach cúnamh is féidir a thabhairt dóibh.

Tá dhá thuairim ann i dtaobh córas trálaeierachta a chur ag obair i dteannta na mbád beag cois trá. Tá daoine ann a cheapann go ndéanfadh na trálaeirí díobháil mhór do na hiascairí a bhfuil báid bheaga acu agus go gcuirfí an oiread san éisc ar an margadh de bharr na trálaeireachta ná beadh aon mhargadh ann do na hiascairí beaga, go bhfágfaí na hiascairí cois trá chun deiridh sa rás. Ansin tá daoine eile ann agus is é a dtuairim ná beadh aon rath, agus ná féadfadh aon rath a bheith ar thionscal na hiascaireachta sa tír seo mura mbeadh trálaeireacht de chineál éigin ar siúl chomh maith leis an iascaireacht atá ar siúl ag na hiascairí cois trá. Is dócha gur leath-slí idir an dá thuairim sin atá an ceart. Ní mór rud éigin a dhéanamh chun go mbeidh soláthar éisc ag teacht ón bhfarraige chun an mhargaidh i gcónaí, rud ná fuil ann i láthair na huaire. Ceapaim go bhfuil réiteach na ceiste idir an dá thuairim, is é sin, an trálaeireacht a bheith ar siúl i dteannta na gnáth-iascaireachta ach an trálaeireacht a choimeád faoi smacht agus gan ach an soláthar ba ghá ligint leo.

Ní mór a thuilleadh a dhéanamh ar son na ndaoine go bhfuil báid bheaga acu agus nach féidir leo dul amach ach nuair ná bíonn an aimsir ró-dhona. Tá fadhb le réiteach maidir le cuid de na hiascairí cois trá—pé méid a thuilleann siad, cuirtear san áireamh é i leith cúnaimh dhíomhaointis. Pléadh an cheist seo cheana agus dá bhrí sin ní leanfad de ach amháin tagairt a dhéanamh dó. Pé méid a thuilleann na hiascairí bochta sin de bharr a gcuid oibre, cuirtear san áireamh é agus nuair a bhíonn siad dearg-dhíomhaoin ní féidir leo feidhm a bhaint as an Acht Cúnaimh Dhífhostaíochta. Ba chóir don Rúnaí Parlaiminte féachaint an féidir leis aon réiteach d'fháil ar an gceist sin mar tá fhios agam go maith go bhfuil a leithéid ag dul chun dochair do chuid de na hiascairí im cheantar féin agus do réir mar a chloisim ó dhaoine eile tá an gearán céanna in áiteanna eile.

Fé mar adúirt an Seabhac tá dhá cheist le réiteach maidir leis an mBille seo—soláthar an éisc, is é sin, an t-iasc d'fháil ón bhfarraige níos flúirsí agus níos tapúla ná mar faightear é faoi láthair. Chuige sin ceapaim go dtabharfaidh an Bille seo an cúnamh ceart don Rúnaí Parlaiminte agus don mbord mar is é an bord a bheas i mbun na hoibre nuair a cuirfear an Bille seo i bhfeidhm mar Acht.

Cloisim anseo daoine ag rá nach bhfuil aon rath ar an margaidh fé láthair agus cloisim cainnt mar gheall ar ghur cheart stocaireacht do chur ar bun chun go mbeadh glaoch níos fear ar iasc. Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil aon gá le sin. Ní dóigh liom gur gá stocaireacht ar bith ach an tiasc do chur ar fáil go cothromúil ar an margadh. Is dóigh liom gur leor sin. Ansan geobhaidh na daoine blas ar an iasc diaidh ar ndiaidh. ‘Sé mo thuairim gur fearr é sin ná aon stocaireacht a déanfaí.

Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil a thuile le rá agam. Fé mar a deirim dúrathas a lán cheanna féin sa Tigh seo agus san Dáil. Traosláim leis an Rúnaí Parlaiminte mar gheall ar an obair fonta atá ar siúl aige, agus má thagann rath—agus tá súil agam go dtiocfaidh—ar an iarracht atá á dheanamh ba cheart go mbeadh an tarna háit le fáil ag tionscal an éisc i géillegar na tíre seo. Ba cheart ná beadh chun tosaigh air ach tionscal na talmhaíochta féin.

In welcoming this Bill as an effort to bring back conditions suitable to the development of sea fisheries in this country I regret that I cannot be as optimistic of the prospects of the results as previous speakers. My reason is as a result of the experience of past remedial measures enacted by different Governments all designed for the purpose of developing the fishing industry. Regardless of all that was done or that was tried to be done, that industry has gone from bad to worse.

My mind can go back 45 to 47 years when, as a youngster with my parents, it was my good fortune to have a short holiday at the seaside. I recollect at that particular time the air of activity which pervaded these little ports when, on many an evening, as many as three or almost four dozen rowing boats went out on the bay in quest of herring. I can also recall the enthusiasm with which we got out of our beds early in the morning to be at the piers when these boats returned with their loads of fish. The fish was sold at the pier-head to various hawkers who, with their carts, attended and subsequently went to the towns in the eastern and northern part of County Mayo. Within three or four days they had sold their supplies of fresh fish to the people in the small towns and to the people from the country who came to the market at which the fish was exposed for sale.

You may say that it was a primitive method of distribution but it succeeded at least in giving those people an ample supply of good food which they appreciated, and which they cannot enjoy to-day. There was never any talk at that particular time of a glut of herring. There was never any talk of utilising that very tasty fish, when caught at the right time, as a land fertiliser. When a large catch was landed people living near the coast bought quantities of herrings and salted them down, in a primitive way if you like. I can recall to-night the taste of some of these fish. They were tasty. There was no sign of taint on them after a year in pickle. That form of useful and inexpensive nourishment passed away with the decline of the fishing industry.

I believe that at that time the fishermen received some little financial assistance from the Congested Districts Board. The financial assistance must have been very little but whatever assistance it was they made very good use of it and the results were beneficial. Fish, which was so plentiful in those areas at that time, is now a rarity. As a matter of fact it is a luxury and almost unprocurable except at a prohibitive cost.

While welcoming the present Bill, I believe that the approach is not altogether a proper one if the results which we all like to see are to be achieved. I think Senator Quirke referred to that matter this evening as applicable to undeveloped areas and I do not see why this legislation could not be approached in the manner of the Undeveloped Areas Act because the fishing industry is undeveloped if at all existent. As a matter of fact, this Board will have to start from the beginning to bring back any measure of success to the industry.

I wish the Bill every success but I believe that in providing for inshore fisheries as well as the deep sea fisheries the board to be appointed has bitten off more than it can chew. If the inshore fisheries were in a flourishing condition or even in a fair condition the board might experiment with deep sea boats to supplement the supply. I hold that until such time as the inshore fisheries are put on a firm basis it is not wise to take on the responsibility of going in for the larger problem.

I really think that private enterprise with proper advertisement, could be interested in the development of the fishing industry. I hold that the Government should only interfere in seeing, through the health Department, that fish are exposed for sale in a proper condition and that, where canning or pickling is carried on for the purpose of export, it should be done under strict supervision so that the canned or pickled fish would be edible when it reached the particular places to which it was consigned.

The agricultural Department would naturally help by providing grants and loans. In that particular matter and in so far as this Bill is concerned, I really think the means, by which boats and tackle are to be purchased, place too much of a load on some of the fishermen. There are some good fishermen who are anxious to get a start.

I know of none of those people living under conditions which would make it possible for them to contribute a high percentage of the capital cost of the boat or equipment necessary for their work. The Government would be wise to make the means by which equipment could be procured more attractive. It is not really people who can afford to put up the necessary amount to get a new boat or buy approved tackle that are often the best craftsmen. Very often it is the other way about.

The Department of Local Government could help also in encouraging local bodies to look after the piers. As a member of a local body for the past 27 years, I know that that responsibility does not appeal to the vast majority of the members. That may be due to ignorance, but if there is proper handling of the situation, those local representatives could be made realise that it is just as much their responsibility to keep the piers and harbours in repair as it is to keep the county roads in repair.

If there is to be any measure of success in this industry, the question of protection from illegal fishing must be attended to. The protective boats or corvettes we have at present are either not the best, or we have not enough of them. I have been told—I do not know how much truth is in it—that even amongst the foreign trawlers from England or Scotland there is a form of espionage through which they get from various parts of this country information as to the location of the Irish corvettes and, as a result, a direction as to where they may fish illegally with safety. If that is so, it discloses the absence of adequate protection.

I do not wish to put my views in conflict with those of the Parliamentary Secretary. Coming as he does from bruach na farraige, he naturally knows more about this Bill and what he means to achieve by it than I do. I put my suggestions before him for what they are worth. I wish the Bill success and it cannot bring more success to the country than I wish it to bring.

I wish to say that I welcome this Bill very much. I come from one of the great fishing areas, but at present hardly anyone is going to sea there at all. The reason is that the piers, the harbours and the slips have been neglected and the men are not able to go to sea. On several occasions we were allowed grants for them, but when they came to the county council they were turned down. There is a proviso that 25 per cent. of the cost must be borne and the councils must do the upkeep afterwards. That was not acceptable to the county council. If that proviso could be done away with, we could get somewhere.

I know one slip which was blown up by a mine in the 1914-1918 war and nothing has been done since to it. On several occasions we got the grant from the Fishery Department for its repair, but there was this proviso in it and each time it was turned down. I remember seeing at that slip, which is at Graughil, some 20 boats going out in years gone by, with 20 crews. Now there is only an occasional boat, as the men are afraid to go out, since they do not know if they will be able to come back. It is the same in the case of Porturlin, Cross and others, but the Mayo County Council—Senator Ruane knows this also—always turned the grants down because of that proviso. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to see that some change is made which would enable those slips to be repaired, as they constitute a terrible danger at present to the people who go fishing. Some Senators will remember the big disaster at Iniskea about 25 years ago. If there had been proper slips there, some more of those men would have been saved. Nothing has been done there since and nothing will be done until there is a change of outlook.

Several slips in the Erris area are in a very bad condition. Those at Cross, Porturlin, and Portacloy need repair. If they were repaired more people would be encouraged to go out. They will not go out at present unless the weather is very calm, because they do not know whether they could get back or not.

In Achill three or four slips are badly needed, as it is one of the best fishing grounds in the West of Ireland. Purteen is one place and Darby's Point is another. There is a big industry in Achill, the shark industry, and if the slips were repaired and more provision were made for the landing of those sharks it would give employment in the area. Mr. Sweeney, the man who started that industry, deserves every help and assistance. He started it on his own and furnished all the equipment and he should at least get a bit of help for the shark industry, which gives a lot of employment in the season when it is being worked.

In regard to the cray-fish industry and the lobster industry, which was once a great industry in that area, I hear that the market for cray fish and lobster — especially cray fish — is closed to our country. Unless a market is found for those fish, there is danger of that industry being a failure also.

At Blacksod there is an old pier about which nothing has been done for as long as I remember. It is a good pier and if it were extended a bit and improved it would be an asset to that part of the country. I hope that something will be done about that particular pier as soon as possible.

I know the Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Bartley, very well. He knows the district and he understands the area well. I am putting these points before him in the hope of getting some help in the near future to meet the needs of which I have spoken.

Ba mhaith liom cúpla focal a rá ar an mBille seo. Traoslaím don Aire as ucht Bille chomh slachtmhar agus chomh héifeachtúil a chur ar fáil dúinn.

Is fada ár dhnúth le Bille dá leithéid seo. Tá sé againn sa deire. Is mór an trua ná raibh rud mar sin ar fáil nuair a bhí caoi ann in aimsir Choimisiún na Gaeltachta. Dá ndéantaí é sin—agus bhí trácht aír—ní bheadh an tionscal chomh holc agus atá sé fé láthair. Tá an Bille againn anois agus bainimís an fheidhm is fearr as na buntáistí a thugann sé dúinn. Dá fheabhas an Bille, ní féidir tairbhe a bhaint as mar is ceart mara bhfaighe an bhord a cuirfear ar bun comhoibriú agus cabhair ó na daoine i gcoitinne agus ar dtús, ó na hiascairí. Beidh áthas ar na hiascairí feidhm a bhaint as na buntáistí a tugtar dóibh fé bhráid an Bhille seo. Má ghlacann siad go croithiúil leis an mbord tiocfaidh feabhas ar an tionscal maidir leis an méid éisc a tabharfar chun tíre.

Ansin caithfidh an bord comhoibriú d'fháil ó cheannaitheoirí agus ó cheannaithe éisc. Anois, tá saghas mí-thuiscint ag na ceannaitheoirí i dtaobh an bhoird a cuirfear ar bun. Tá eagla ar na ceannaitheoirí go mbeidh an Bord ag cur isteach orthu. Is mór an trua é sin.

Caithfidh an bord comhoibriú fháil ón phobal i gcoitine, sé sin, caithfidh an pobal tosnú ar an iasc d'úsáid mar abhar bídh. Dúirt an Seanadóir Ó Cíosáin nach bhfuil le déanamh ach an t-iasc a chur ar fáil agus go gcaithfidh siad an t-iasc mar bhia. Tá súil agam gur fíor é sin. Tá tuairim agam go bhfuil a lán daoine sa tír, agus dá fhusacht a bheadh sé, ná bainfeadh siad úsáid as mar bhia.

Ba cheart bolscaireacht a dhéanamh chun na daoine a mhealladh chun an t-iasc do chaitheamh agus chuige sin níor mhór cabhair. D'fhéadfaí cabhair fháil ó scoileanna gairme beatha ar dtús. In gach áit a bheadh oiriúnach ba cheart ranganna cócaireachta nó tís a chur ar bun. Ba cheart go múinfí do na scoláirí conas an t-iasc d'ullmhú go deas agus conas é a chur ar an mbord agus é bheith so-chaite, so-bhlasta, fé mar déantar sa bhFrainc.

Dúirt an Seanadóir Ó Cuirc gur ceart feidhm a bhaint as na dochtúirí le míniú do na daoine an feabhas atá san iasc mar abhar bídh. D'fhéadfadh oifigigh sláinte a mhíniú don phobal a fheabhas atá an t-iasc mar abhar bídh agus d'fhéadfaí a iarraidh ortha paimfléid a chur ar fáil ina mbeadh míniú ar fheabhas an bhídh sin nó d'fhéadfadh an bord féin an bholscaireacht sin a dhéanamh.

Tá súil agam nach bhfuilimíd ródhéanach leis an mBille seo. Tá traidisiún an h-iascaigh ag dul i laige ar fud an chósta. In áiteacha tá sé laidir go leor agus in áiteacha eile tá sé lag agus in áiteacha eile tá sé imithe ar fad. Caithfí iarracht a dhéanamh ar an traidisiún dathbheochaint agus b'fhearr, b'fhéidir, scoileanna a chur ar bun agus longa oiliúna, ní hamháin chun cúrsaí iascaireachta a shábháil ach chun tionscal a bhéadh tairbheach a thabhairt do na hiascairí. Do mholfainn go gcuirfí scoileanna oiliúna nó longa oiliúna ar bun agus go dtabharfaí teagasc do bhuachaillí ionta agus go ndéanfaí aígne garsún cois farraige do bheartú ar an bhfarraige arís. Bhéadh eolas teicniúil á fháil acu, eolas a bheadh ag teastáil má bhíonn bád ag dul chun farraige. Ní mór do na buachaillí seo a bheadh ag leanúint na gairme seo eolas cruinn a bheith acu ar na bainc éisc atá mór-thimpeall na h-Éireann. Tá áiteacha ina bhfuil cuilithí garbha agus ní mór do na buachaillí óga eolas cruinn dfháil ortha agus ar cathain is gá iad a chosaint. Ba cheart na huirlísí is nua a bheith a n-oibriú sna báid oiliúna sin agus eolas a thabhairt do na buachaillí conas iad d'oibriú. Mholfainn go mbeadh scoil oiliúna ann agus, san am céana, bád oiliúna le hais na scoile sin.

Ba cheart an limistéir náisiúnta a leathnú. Tá sé dhá dhéanamh sa gcúirt dlighe idir-náisiúnta do thiortha eile agus ní fheicim cad 'na thaobh nach ndéantar é d'Éirinn. Dá leathnuightí amach é agus an teora a chur amach ba mhór an beannacht é do'n tionnscal i nÉirinn. Is gádh é.

Ní gádh eagla a bheith ar iascairí go mbeadh an bord ró-dhian ortha. Dá mbeadh cumann ag na hiascairí féin, bheadh síad ábalta iad féin a chosaint dá mbeadh an bord ró-dhían. Má bhíonn duine cosamhail leis an rúnaí i mbun stiúrtha na hoibre ní scaoilfidh sé leis an mbord agus mar sin ní gádh eagla roimh an mbord.

I wish to support the Bill. The ports of Clare, Ballyvaughan, Liscannor, Lahinch, Dunbeg and Kilkee, were immensely popular in days gone by but they have gone to pieces now. We wish the Bill to go through because they will be better off as a result of it.

Strictly speaking, I am not really conversant with the problem of deep-sea and inshore fishing, but in my day to day business I buy a large amount of fish. During the past six or seven years it has always been a matter of wonderment to me why I could not buy a single lb. of fish which was landed in Clare. The only such fish ever offered to me — and I handle fish daily — during six or seven years was fish which I had reason to suspect was poached, that is, salmon. From time to time I have wondered why a county with such an extensive seaboard could not produce fish for sale to people who are prepared to buy it as I have been for some time. To my mind the reason is that we have not any proper landing facilities.

Assuming even that we had boats which we have not — that is possibly a problem which the inshore men themselves might solve — there would still be no proper facilities. In Liscannor the only boat landing fish in Clare happened to be smashed overnight in the gale we had around Christmas time and that disaster practically finished whatever little fishing industry there was in North-West Clare. That is an indication of the particularly difficult problems which inshore fishermen have in that portion of the western seaboard. We have no proper landing facilities and no harbours natural or otherwise which are safe in any kind of rough weather. Unless, therefore, whatever facilities were there in the past and have been allowed to fall into neglect are repaired and rebuilt, I am afraid that as far as Clare is concerned the Bill will not be worth very much.

From time to time I have seen contracts of public institutions such as hospitals for the supply of fish at 1/- per lb. To my mind or to the mind of anybody who understands a little of the problem, no good fish can be supplied at 1/- per lb. so all that is supplied to these local government institutions is coarse unpalatable fish. This fish will be consumed by the people with the most finicky appetites. I say "finicky" for want of a better word. They will not appreciate anything unless it is properly prepared and palatable; yet a Government Department allows fish to be supplied to them which is coarse and must be unpalatable from the word go. That aggravates the position which is recognised to exist in this country: antipathy to fish of all types. If people in the institutions whose appetites are not good cannot be guaranteed good fish, how can they appreciate fish when they return to normal health? The Parliamentary Secretary might have a word about this with his colleague in the Department of Local Government.

On a previous Bill I heard references to a "Drink more milk" publicity campaign. If the new board turned its mind in that direction and instituted an "Eat more fish" campaign perhaps we might educate our people into eating fish. It must be recognised that we are not a fish-eating people. We all know that people say, in Lent particularly: "To-day is just a fish day. There is nothing we can have for our lunch." That is symptomatic of the mentality of our people. We do not like fish because we are not provided with proper types of fish. If the board publicised fish and brought the people to the point that they would eat fish readily in preference to meat — not that I want to decry the eating of meat — to the point where they would say: "Can I have meat or fish? I will have fish; it is just as good as meat," we may get further towards providing a market for surplus fish, if and when we have a surplus.

There are extensive public health regulations in connection with the supply of most perishable commodities to hotels, restaurants and such places, and also to public institutions, but I have yet to come across any comprehensive regulations or standards in regard to fish. Perhaps there are such regulations, but I am not aware of their existence. I have never seen them, but I have seen regulations and standards of quality laid down for other types of food. The only people who seem to know anything about fish are fishmongers, and they will always try to shove it down the buyers' neck that their opinion of the fish they are selling is the only opinion worth listening to; in other words, that it is the best fish available.

If this board could prescribe a standard for fish, a standard as to quality and so on, such as there is in relation to meat, milk and every other type of perishable food, and if that standard could be prescribed for as many different types of fish as possible, we might further educate the public to the point at which they would begin to believe that fish on a Thursday was edible and not something left over from the previous Friday. Unless we can do that, unless we can educate our people up to the point when they will eat fish as a fresh food which is wholesome and good to eat, there is very little point in all the talk and all the legislation about fish. We must be educated to the point when we will use it.

What I heard from my colleagues, members of my own Party who are members of the other House, led me to believe that the Parliamentary Secretary had met them in every possible way, and that this Bill was a Bill which would do something for the fishermen. Having heard that, I expected that the Bill would have been received by all sections of this House in a broad manner. I was mildly astonished to hear Senator Quirke's remarks this evening. His speech was a speech which I did not expect to hear on this Bill, in view of what my colleagues in the other House told me. I will say nothing about it — I am glad to see that he is back to hear my comment on it — except to say that I do not think his remarks were in keeping with the presentation of the Bill by the Parliamentary Secretary, both here and in the other House.

Caithfidh mé tosnú i nGaeilge mar thosnaigh an Seanadóir Ó hAodha i nGaeilge. Dúirt sé i nGaeilge go raibh amhras air nach n-oibreodh an Bille. Bíonn amhras i gcónaí ar dhaoine faoi chuile rud a bhaineas le tionscal an iascaigh agus ar ndoigh ní haon ionadh go n-abrófaí an rud céanna ar an ócáid seo.

However, the Senator said that in spite of the doubts he expressed in Irish he felt that the Bill should be given a trial. I want to disabuse his mind of the apprehension he seems to be labouring under that this Bill is going to produce 100 per cent. State control. Quite the reverse is the case. We would not, I think, have had any need to introduce the Bill at all if it were not for the fact that we thought it necessary to clear the air with regard to what the policy is in relation to the fishing industry and private enterprise. The 1950 Bill, which did not reach finality because of the general election, was a much more drastic measure than this — so drastic, in fact, that while the Party to which I belong accepted it in principle on Second Reading, we did indicate that we would have sought to amend it in a very substantial way on Committee Stage. Therefore I want to say that, if we have not reversed engines completely, we have in this Bill been a little more cautious in regard to imposing absolute controls and restrictions on the industry.

As a matter of fact, one of the grounds on which objection has been raised to the Bill is the fact that it gives too much scope to private enterprise. That objection was raised in the Dáil on behalf of the inshore fishermen and it is a point of view I cannot accept. I cannot see any real conflict between the infiltration of private enterprise into the industry and the interests of the inshore men. We have checked private enterprise to the disappointment of Senator Stanford in the matter of not allowing foreign capital into the industry, and we have also put a check on private enterprise —a point to which Senator Stanford also referred — in the matter of putting a certain obligation on traders who operate fishing boats and, therefore, are in a very favoured position vis-a-vis their competitors in the retail trade and who have, by their operations, given rise to very genuine fears in the minds of the inshore fishermen.

I want to say that I dislike having to put on any restriction just as much as those Senators who referred to it, but we felt that is was something we were constrained by the facts of the situation, as known to us, to do and because of the very strong representations made on behalf of the two interests mentioned. If it should be found possible to dispense with it, not to enforce that particular power, there would be nobody better pleased than I and I am sure the board upon whom the obligation would rest of carrying it out.

Senator Hayes asked me how the board will work. That is a very wide question and the only answer I can give is to refer again to the main provisions of the measure and to say that its main objective will be to supply the Irish people with fish caught by Irishmen in boats manned by Irish fishermen, and that, in the achieving of that object, they will seek to coordinate their efforts to the fullest possible extent with the activities of the inshore men, so that they will never, by overloading the market, slump it to such an extent as to render it unprofitable for the small man. A fair balance will, therefore, have to be preserved as between the interests of the consumer and the interests of the inshore man.

It is a very difficult problem and the viewpoints expressed both in the Dáil and the Seanad were as opposite as the poles. No matter what direction you took to devise something for the fishing industry you found yourself bumping up against some interest straight away. The only thing you can do, in face of that situation, is to bump against as few interests as you possibly can and with the least violence possible. We have sought to achieve that state of affairs in this Bill. How well we have succeeded will not be known until the board has been in operation for some time.

A great many matters were raised in the debate but some were raised by practically everybody and I propose to deal with them generally. The matter of the distribution of fish was raised by a good many people. The same point was dealt with by a great many speakers in the Dáil also — the difficulty of getting a regular supply of fish and a variety of fish in inland towns. You have two conditions there —the first is the regular supply and the second is the question of variety. Each is important if the fishing industry is to be rationalised and put on what I might call a steady keel.

Reference has been made to the prosperity that the fishing industry experienced 40, 50 or 60 years ago; I do not know how far back, according to the ages of the speakers, they wanted to bring us. In relation to that matter I would point out that in those days it was either a feast or a famine and the prosperity of the industry depended entirely on herrings and mackerel. There was a profitable market in America for cured mackerel and there was a profitable market in Eastern European countries for unlimited quantities of pickled cured herrings. After the first world war these two markets disappeared and with them disappeared the former prosperity of the fishing industry. It so happened that the marine engine became available about that time and the Sea Fisheries Association was established in 1931 to espouse the cause of the small man and to fit him out with a boat that had mechanical power. A new basis was then found for the industry, namely, trawl fishing for general fish, flat fish and round fish which are not so subject to seasonal fluctuations. In that way a considerable amount of prosperity was infused into the industry.

I want to disabuse the mind of any Senator who thinks that the fishing industry is down on its uppers. I hope that my introductory statement did not create that impression. It is not as bad as all that but there is one very notable characteristic about the fishing industry in Ireland and it is that the industry prospers almost as soon as the first shot is fired in a world war. Any sort of a boat is able to make money then, apparently. Boats that were supplied by the Sea Fisheries Association and that were not even able to earn their maintenance charges found themselves, on the outbreak of a world war, able to pay the arrears of interest and insurance charges and also, within a period of two or three years, able to pay off the loan on the boats themselves.

That is quite understandable and I think it has been mentioned by Senators in this House. On the outbreak of world war, the Western European fishing fleets are called away from their fishing operations. I suppose they are not permitted by their enemies to fish and I suppose also that a great many of the boats are turned to war work. Therefore, the seas around Western Europe are practically the preserve of our own fleet. It is true that when these fleets are drawn off, you have a pretty ample supply of fish close to the shore and that you do not, therefore, in such circumstances, require to have very efficient equipment for catching the fish. When peace comes, and all these fleets are again out fishing, the old position is renewed and you find that your best boats are now in difficulties again. That is exactly the position we are beginning to experience now.

I said in my opening statement that, since the end of the war, the experience has been that the amount of fish per unit of fishing time has been decreasing steadily. That is because the range of our boats is limited and the overflow of fish into the near waters is decreasing. I think that that statement of the position should be perfectly understandable to anybody without having done any deep study on the matter at all. It is a fact that is borne out by the best information available to the Department of Fisheries and should not be forgotten when it is suggested that, having completed one stage of development of the fishing industry — equipping the small man, between the two world wars — we ought now go ahead and aim at supplying our own requirements of fish. We have brought prosperity to a large number of small men but we have not achieved the desirable end of being able to supply fully our own market with the kind of fish the people want.

I do not think it is good enough to say to the Irish consumer: "You must eat what our fishing industry can give you. If we flood the market with mackerel, you must eat mackerel. If we can give you only whiting, then you must eat whiting." I do not think it is reasonable to adopt that attitude and yet I am afraid that, possibly unconsciously, it is the attitude of people who have been pressing the point of view of the small inshore man, to an inordinate length, in my opinion. If we can supply the present demand with fish in variety, is it not obvious that we will create a taste for fish and that we are preparing the ground for an increasing market?

If, in addition to that, you can bring your fish, say, as regularly as the British fishing fleet can land fish on the British market, and if you can improve the handling and the transportation of that fish and get it into places where fish is not now regularly supplied, is it not obvious that you can create a greater demand for fish and can do what I think Senator McHugh and some other Senators have said, namely, that by supplying people with good fish which has been hygienically handled and packed you will, in fact, present fish so attractively to the consumer that eventually he will buy fish by choice? As one Senator has pointed out, you will leave a far larger proportion of meat for export, which is fetching very high prices at the present time.

With regard to what we propose to do, I think I can state it in a nutshell by saying that the intention of the board, in so far as it proposes to engage in sea fishing in boats operated by itself, is to fill the gap between home landings and the present home demand. That is the immediate objective. I cannot see how that policy or that purpose, if it is to be achieved, can in any way hurt the interests of the inshore man whether he is a part-time man, fisherman farmer, or a whole-time man such as you have on the east coast.

I have heard the case made that when you cannot supply your own demand at home the best thing to do, in the interests of the inshore man, is to buy the fish in England. I do not myself see any sense in that. Last year we imported £300,000 worth of fish. It seems to me that if we could distribute that £300,000 amongst our own men we could increase employment, increase the numbers employed in the industry and we could make the industry more profitable for those who are already engaged in it.

I have been charged, according to statements that appeared in the papers on Monday, with trying to socialise the fishing industry. Whatever may be meant by that term I do not know. I have indicated that in so far as inducing private enterprise into the industry is being effected by the measure, I think we are going in the opposite direction to socialising it. My predecessor's Bill, praised by the people who dispraised this Bill — the inshore men on the east coast — would put private enterprise entirely out of business, and without compensation as well. If I go in the opposite direction I cannot be charged in any way with socialising it, even though it is the intention to operate two boats, employing young men who have never yet been employed in any industry, who will be employed on a wage plus a share of the profits basis. If giving a young man a small retaining fee as a wage is such a new departure in the fishing industry as to earn the title of socialisation, I think that some of the people who have been advocating ths inshore men's interests are letting their imagination run riot.

I want to assure the Seanad that in so far as this measure introduces socialisation, that has been there all the time. If State interference in an industry is socialisation — and I suppose that viewpoint can be taken — it does exist and has always existed in the sea-fishing industry, because right from the equipping of the fishermen to the selling of his output, the State gives him a helping hand. That is a form of socialisation, but I think it is a form of socialisation to which nobody objects. As a matter of fact, we have been asked to do a great deal more of it even by those very same people.

I should like to make a reference to the remarks of every Senator who spoke, but in so far as I have dealt with the points that have been mentioned by a number, I take it that I will not be expected to cover the ground all over again. The definition of sea fish was mentioned by Senator Hayes. Unlike the 1950 Bill, we have not excluded from the definition of sea fish any fish which is found in the sea. I do not know what objection there can be to that definition. I think it is in very close harmony with nature itself.

Senator Hayes has objected to the fact that I am allowing in this Bill the chairman of the association to be chosen by the members of the association themselves rather than the method in the 1950 Bill whereby the chairman was to be nominated by the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. I think the method adopted in this Bill is more democratic and more likely to please fishermen generally. They themselves will have the right to appoint their own chairman and will not have a man imposed on them by a Minister. The Senator also seemed to suggest it was a flaw in regard to there not being an appeal from the making of these regulations to a court of justice as applies in the matter of by-laws dealing with salmon fisheries. Again, I think, when you have a regulation that can be annulled by either House of the Oireachtas, ample safeguard is provided. It is possibly a better safeguard than what you would get in a court of justice. The drawback in regard to by-laws is that they are subject to revision by the High Court.

As to how the board is to take over from the association that matter is dealt with in Part V of the Bill and I think it would be a waste of time for me to elaborate on it here.

And now as to the question of who will man the boats. A number of Senators spoke here and I was very interested in their remarks, which were mainly in Irish, about the Gaeltacht and the language. They stressed the importance of the fishing industry to those parts of the country. I want to assure them that the board will give very special attention to those areas. One Senator complained that we are not proceeding on the lines of the Undeveloped Areas Act. I do not think you could get private enterprise, as is provided for in the Undeveloped Areas Act, to come into the fishing industry and do the work that is required to be done. If it could be done that way it would be preferable but we do not see any hope of that happening.

The boats will be manned by young people from the Gaeltacht in the early stages. They will get first preference. Young chaps who have never been to sea, who do not know anything about fish, will be on them, and they will be trained in the latest methods of fishing.

The question of propaganda to encourage the eating of fish was mentioned by a number. In relation to that I should like to observe that we must supply the fish before we start propagandising its use. We shall have to step up the production of fish before it will be necessary to use cold storage or freezing or refrigeration of any kind to any considerable extent. The fact is that we are importing fresh fish every week of the year from England, and until we can fill the gap in the home demand it is obvious that there is no great need for refrigeration — except to deal with over-supply in a particular week or to deal with fish landed at the week-end, when it is not so easily saleable.

The difficulties in which the industry finds itself are instanced by the fact that boats are without crews now in certain places on the east coast. That was referred to here and in the Dáil. That is sufficient indication that things are not right. If motor boats cannot get crews it is obvious that something is wrong with the industry. The board propose to find out the cause, and to see if, by producing better boats and giving better conditions of work, they can induce young men to go back into the industry.

Senator Quirke referred to the composition of the board. As he mentioned himself, it will have not more than three civil servants. That was a limitation imposed by the Dáil and I did not find great difficulty in accepting it. If we could get a board free entirely of civil servants I would be very pleased indeed to have such a board, but it is obvious that the board will have to meet frequently — not less frequently, I believe, as I stated in my opening remarks, than once a week — and people whom it would be worth while to put on the board will tell you that they could not give such an amount of time to it as would require attendance once a week in Dublin. It is obvious that the choice is going to be somewhat restricted. I feel that the remote parts of the country should get special attention in the composition of the board, and I do not think the Dáil or Seanad would object to having it weighted somewhat in favour of the undeveloped areas.

Senator Quirke suggested an extension in regard to fish meal. When the plant now being erected at Killybegs has been in operation for some time and its working assessed and evaluated the intention will be that the information will be passed to private enterprise, and if private enterprise will develop the fish meal industry the board will be very pleased. I imagine that I can speak for the board on this point and can say this in their name, although the board is not yet in existence. All that is being done at Killybegs is more or less the charting of the sea, so to speak, and the blazing of the trail. We hope private enterprise will come forward to make a really good job of fish meal manufacture for two obvious reasons. It is an obvious outlet for unsaleable fish and gives some return to the fishermen for fish of that kind. It also provides one of the elements which the Department of Agriculture has prescribed for the balanced feeding ration recommended to farmers and which it is very difficult to get abroad at present, I understand.

Unnecessary transportation was mentioned by several speakers. Unfortunately there has been a good deal of that in the past, where fish were being sent up the country and brought back again, or where fish were brought, say, from Galway to Dublin and fish of the same kind were sent from Dublin to-Galway. Proper rationalisation would prevent that unnecessary joy-riding. Senator Goulding instanced the case of fish sent from Waterford across the Channel and coming back again. I have not heard of that, but I take his word that it may have happened.

Senator Stanford approached this Bill, may I say, from the point of view of the consumers. I think that would be a fair assessment of his views. He criticised interference with private initiative in the marketing of fish which men catch in their own boats. I need not stress the point further than saying it is something we do not like and as soon as restrictions of that kind can be got rid of they will be removed. He also said the price was too high. That is true, in regard to the more acceptable varieties, in any event; but the fishermen complain that it is not high enough. They tell you that the price of ropes has gone up so many hundred per cent. and that there have been steep increases in the cost of nets, boat repairs, oil and the hundred and one things that go to make up the fisherman's equipment. They want decontrol so that prices may find an economic level. At the same time, they do not want too much imported fish to depress the price. It is a difficult question. Happily for me, I do not have to decide it, as it is a function of the Department of Industry and Commerce.

I would like to apologise to those speakers to whom I have not given specific attention. I want to assure them that the points they have raised —many of them are important points and many speakers made common ground in respect of a number of matters — will get the very closest and best attention of the board. If I am skimping my reply now, I would like to apologise for that. I would like to apologise to Senator Baxter for having left in the middle of his speech; I understand I have to leave once more for the same reason — a division in the Dáil. I would like to have replied in Irish to the speeches made in Irish and consequently I will ask the Seanad to accept my apologies.

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 16th April.
The Seanad adjourned at 9.20 p.m. to Wednesday, 16th April, 1952.