Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Cement Industry Expansion.

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state whether a final decision has yet been reached regarding the expansion of the cement industry.

I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave to the Deputy on this subject on the 8th instant.

Is there anything being done about this matter at all?

I said I had nothing to add.

Has any tap of progress been made since this question was first raised by me about a year ago?

The Deputy may rest assured that progress is being made.

What is the reason for all the delay? It is nearly a year ago since the Minister announced that there were to be additions to both cement factories. Nothing whatever appears to have been done.

Is it not a fact that since their dividends were reduced from 10 per cent. to 8 per cent., the cement company are indulging in a sit-down strike?

Is it the cement company or the Minister for Industry and Commerce?

In reply to Deputy Ó Briain's supplementary question, as was explained in reply to earlier questions on this subject, the delay in proceeding with the extensions which were referred to by the Minister is due to the fact that alternative proposals were under consideration. The factors which Deputy Hickey has referred to have also been the subject of consideration.

It is about time they would be.

Major de Valera

Is this being considered in conjunction with the matter of another industry and development of other deposits?

Oh, no. Cement is not being considered in conjunction with any other industry.

Major de Valera

Is that definite?

It has been held up for three years.

I want to ask the Parliamentary Secretary is it not a fact that the Minister announced here, as a final Government decision, in either March or May last, that additional cement was to be provided by additional output from the factories already existing? Was not that a final decision on the part of the Government, announced solemnly in the Dáil, when the Minister was introducing his Estimate for the Department of Industry and Commerce last May or March? Is not that the position?

That is a fact but, as I told the Deputy, since then, alternative proposals came under consideration.

There is no meaning in all the talking about it. Go ahead with the decision.