I bring before the House this evening the motion that Seanad Éireann considers the rôle of Bord Fáilte and regional tourism organisations after the county enterprise partnership boards are set up. The motion arises out of concern for the future. The enterprise boards are welcome in most counties and particularly County Donegal where we have a number of longstanding agencies but inadequate ability and funding to promote enterprise and provide jobs. I am concerned about the development of the tourism industry in County Donegal although I would not claim to be more concerned than the Minister of State whose constituency is environmentally unspoiled and is crying out for development.
I have examined the contribution made by Bord Fáilte to County Donegal. I do not have accurate figures, but in 1989 the Bord Fáilte budget was about £30 million of which about £4.5 million was spent on funding the regional tourism organisations. I believe those organisations were well intentioned when they were set up as promotional bodies but they never received adequate funding. The northwest region has great potential for tourism development. I look at that region and ask myself what has the regional tourism organisation contributed. I am disappointed that the organisation was never properly funded even though it has a good public profile. The money they get only pays for staff, administration structure and literature.
I have no respect for Bord Fáilte. While many say it is a wonderful organisation and has done much for tourism, I remain unconvinced. The Government has allocated £30 million to Bord Fáilte. This organisation is top-heavy, there are three offices in Dublin and nine offices outside the country. There is a serious duplication at international level which is absorbing the budget. Some of the larger groups involved in tourism will tell me I do not know what I am talking about because they are doing well. I have been interested in tourism for some time and it is good to know these groups benefit from Bord Fáilte's current marketing campaign. However, there seems to be no help forthcoming from Bord Fáilte for the smaller operator in rural areas.
As I see it, there will be a certain amount of duplication in the work of the enterprise boards, the regional tourism organisations and Bord Fáilte. There is a great deal of confusion about the responsibilities of each body. If a public representative wanted to help somebody planning a project he would have to know which agency would serve that project best. There are good people at the top of these bodies and their intentions are good but they do not have enough authority.
We are concerned about duplication of responsibilities. In local authorities we say that when you pay the engineers and the administration, you will only have enough money to put oil in the lamp. Excessive duplication would disillusion those interested in developing tourism. The enterprise boards should have power and adequate funding but this is not the case with the regional tourism organisations or Bord Fáilte. They currently cater for a small section and their role must be re-examined in light of the new enterprise boards. I ask the Minister to raise this matter with the Minister for Finance and other Ministers involved in promoting tourism. I am sure the Minister of State, is as aware of the problem as I. We have too many institutions with very little power.