asked the Minister for Finance whether the question of coast erosion in County Waterford has been considered, and if he is aware, with particular reference to the Tramore area, that the erosion now threatens the existence of at least twenty houses, as well as much land, and if he proposes to take any steps with regard to the matter.

My Department is not empowered to undertake the construction of sea defence works, nor has it at its disposal funds which could be advanced by way of grant or loan in aid of such works. In general the cost of works for defence against the sea has been found to be out of all proportion to the value of the interests protected, which are usually private interests. The matter has frequently been considered, but it has been regarded as out of the question for the State to accept responsibility for the general defence of the coast against erosion.

In the particular case where injury is caused by parties removing sand or shingle from the seashore the Department has power, under the Harbours Act, 1814, to prohibit such removals under penalty. An order of this nature was made in the year 1925 in respect of shore at Tramore, and several persons have since been convicted for infringements of the order.

There are no further steps which I have power to take.

Would the Minister consider the advisability of sending down a marine inspector to look over the place, because the houses are really in a serious condition?

I do not think there is anything further that we could do in this particular case.