asked the Minister for Supplies if he is aware of the grave hardships imposed on the people of the Slieveardagh coal-mining area in County Tipperary through being deprived of coal and culm for fuel in their homes; and, if so, if he will consider making this a non-turf area.
Ceisteanna.—Questions. Oral Answers. - Fuel Position in the Slieveardagh Area.
The prohibition imposed on the purchase of coal or culm for ordinary domestic use applies generally throughout the whole State both in areas scheduled as non-turf as well as in turf areas. The making of Slieveardagh a non-turf area would not, therefore, result in coal and culm being available for domestic use there.
I am aware that the non-availability of coal for domestic use causes hardship to householders, but as the available supplies of coal are insufficient to meet essential industrial requirements, I am unable to hold out any prospect of an improvement in this respect.
I wonder is the Minister aware that there is plenty of culm available there, thousands of tons of it, and that it is actually being washed away? Although this place is close to the bog, the people know less about turf than if it were a hundred miles away, because they have always been accustomed to the culm. I wonder if the Minister will consider giving some allocation of this fuel to the local people, particularly to the poorer classes? I should like him to consider that matter.
All the coal and culm available in that area is required for essential industrial purposes and none can be released for domestic use.
But this culm is there in heaps and it is actually being washed away. It is a pity that it cannot be given to the poor people in that area.
Is there not some scheme in operation in the Slieveardagh area under which workers can get a supplementary fuel allowance?
That is a separate question.
I suggest it has a bearing on the main question. I am aware that requests have been made to the Minister in relation to this matter. I am merely asking him now to grant an extension of a scheme which is already in existence. I have heard this matter discussed, and I know it was the intention to send a deputation to the Minister. I may assure the Minister that the situation there is very acute. Those people were accustomed, as Deputy Ryan has pointed out, to get their fuel from this colliery in days gone by, but, since the Government took over the colliery, there has been a prohibition, and the conditions that existed in the past do not now apply. The poor people there are suffering great hardships.
There are tens of thousands of tons of culm lying around the coalfields there. What is it lying there for?
Because it will be required for industrial purposes.
When will it be required?
It will lie there until it is needed. I am also aware that the collieries are unable to accept the orders that are being placed by industrial concerns for culm.
Is the Minister aware that this material has been lying there for months?
It must be kept somewhere until it is required.