Vóta 71—Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeanntar gCúng.

Tairgim:—

Go ndeonfar suim nach mó ná £4,950 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfas chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31ú lá de Mhárta, 1953, chun Tuarastal agus Costas Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng.

Seacht míle, cheithre chéad agus caoga punt (£7,450) an Meastachán d'Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng le haghaidh na bliana airgeadais reatha—is é sin, méadú trí mhíle, trí chéad agus deich bpuint (£3,310) ar an Meastachán Forlíontach a tugadh isteach sa bhliain 1951, nuair a bunaíodh an Oifig don chéad uair. Is é is mó faoi dear an méadú sin gan ach cuid de bhliain airgeadais a bheith i gceist sa Mheastachán Forlíontach.

Is é príomh-fheidhm Oifig na Gaeítachta agus na gCeantar gCúng ná obair chomhoirniúcháin a dhéanamh d'fhonn an Ghaeltacht agus na Ceantair Chúnga d'fhorbairt ó thaobh cultúra, caidrimh agus eacnamaíochta, a mhéid is féidir forbairt den tsórt sin a dhéanamh nó a chur chun cinn trí Ranna Rialtais nó neas-Rialtais. Chun an cuspóir sin a bhaint amach bunaíodh Coiste Eadar-Roinne chun cabhair agus comhairle a thabhairt dom maidir le tograí oiriúnacha d'ullmhú agus a chur ar aghaidh ar mhaithe le leas na ndaoine sna ceantair sin. Tá ag gníombú ar an gCoiste sin oifigigh oilte as gach Roinn Rialtais a mbíonn obair á déanamh aici sna ceantair chúnga. Bíonn cruinnithe go tráth-rialta ag an gCoiste agus cuirtear tograí dá scrúdú agus dá meas, ó thaobh fiúntais, ag na hOifigigh sin, a raibh taithí fada fairsing ag go leor acu le linn dóibh a bheith ag obair sna ceantair sin iad féin.

I dteannta cruinnithe den Choiste Eadar-Roinne sin a chomóradh déantar freisin, nuair is gá sin, Fo-Choistí agus Comhdhála speisialta a thabhairt le chéile chun déileáil le nithe a bheadh níos cúnga nó níos speisialaithe ná na nithe lena ndéileálfadh an Coiste iomlán sa ghnáth-chúrsa.

I gcáil Rúnaí Parlaiminte an Rialtais dom táim freagrach go díreach in Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng agus d'fhonn go mbeidh eolas cruinn beacht agam ar na fadhbanna a éiríos ó am go chéile sa líomatáiste atá faoi mo chúram, is éigin dom cuaird a thabhairt go minic ar áiteanna éagsúla sa líomatáiste sin, do réir mar a bhíonn gá lena leithéid. Bíonn dhá phríomh-chúis agam leis na cuardanna sin (1) chun go mbeidh eolas agam féin go pearsanta ar na fadhbanna áitiúla agus (2) chun go bhféadfaidh mé cabhair agus treoir ar feadh mo acmhainne a thabhairt do mhuintir na háite agus do na haicmí a mbíonn fonn orthu tograí a thabhairt chun foirfeachta ar mhaithe le leas a gceantair fhéin, go háirithe más tograí iad ar dócha iad do theacht laistigh de réim an Achta um Límistéirí Neamhfhorbartha, 1952, a ritheadh d'aonghnó chun cabhrú le bunú tionscal i gceantair den tsort sin.

Ó tharla gur feidhm chomhoirniúcháin, fé mar adúirt mé cheana, an phríomh-fheidhm ag Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng, ní leagtar amach aon tsuim airgid sa Mheastachán chun a caite go díreach ag an Oifig sin. Síltear go bhfuil dóthain áiseanna ar fáil faoi láthair, trí na ranna agus na heagrais atá ann cheana féin, chun feidhm a thabhairt d'aon scéimeanna is dócha a molfaí i leith na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng, agus nach gá, dá bhrí sin, aon chumhachta feidhmiúcháin a bheith ag Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng, i láthair na huaire. Bíonn an Oifig i dteagmháil i gcónaí leis na ranna agus na haicmí eile a mbíonn obair thábhachtach ar siúl acu sa Ghaeltacht agus sna ceantair chúnga; agus gach beart á dhéanamh aici chun a áirithiú go gcuirfear na scéimeanna éagsúla i gerích chomh tapaidh agus is féidir. I dtaca leis sin de, níor mhiste a lua maidir leis an obair atá déanta ag an Oifig ó tugadh an Meastachán Forlíontach isteach an bhliain seo caite, go raibh dlúth-bhaint ag Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng leis na scéimeanna forbartha seo a leanas sa Ghaeltacht agus sna Ceantair Chúnga:—(1) Scéim Bhord na Móna agus Bhord Soláthar an Leictreachais chun leictreachas a tháirgeadh as móin mheilte i mBeannchor Iorrais; (2) Scéimeanna triaileacha agus eisiompláireacha ag Comhlucht Siúicre Éireann i ndáil le fás luibheanna íce (3) Leictriú na Tuatha ag Bord Soláthar an Leictreachais agus fearasbarr móna sna ceantair iargúlta a chur de láimh; (4) obair i gcomhar leis an Roinn Talmhaíochta maidir le Scéim na dTrátaí (Tithe Gloine) a leathnú, maidir le fás inniún, agus maidir le forbairt an tionscail iascaigh; (5) obair i gcomhar leis an Roinn Oideachais maidir le Gairm-Scoileanna agus Hallaí Siamsa a thógáil sa bhFíorGhaeltacht; (6) obair i gcomhar leis an Roinn Tailte maidir le hathshocrú gabháltas roinndála agus maidir leis an Roinnteán Foraoiseachta do dhéanamh obair phlandála in áiteanna iargúlta neamh-thorthúla; (7) pléadh cúrsaí tithíochta leis an Roinn Rialtais Áitiúil agus le hOifig Sheirbhísí na Gaeltachta agus tá Billí ullamh nó dá n-ullmhú i ndáil leis na cúsaí sin i láthair na huaire; (8) tugadh aird ar leith ar an ngá atá le faichí imeartha, go háirithe sna háiteanna iargúlta, agus tá gach dícheall á dhéanamh chun a áirithiú go gcuirfear suim speisialta airgid ar fáil chun na críche sin sna blianta amach anseo.

Níl sna nithe sin a luaigh mé ach cuid de na hábhair is mó tábhacht a mbíonn baint ag Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng leo. Is feidhm thábhachtach de chuid na hOifige freisin é deimhin a dhéanamh de nach rachaidh aon chuid d'obair na Stát-Sheirbhíse amú trí dhá Roinn a bheith ag obair ar an bhfadhb chéanna san am gcéanna; agus deimhin a dhéanamh de, chomh maith, go mbeidh aondacht eagair ag gabháil, i gcoitinne, leis an scéim forbartha do na límistéirí sin uile.

Ba mhaith liom, a Chinn Chomhairle, má tá cead agam, an ráteas a léamh d'Oifig Seirbhísí na Gaeltachta leis: Tá laghdú de chéad agus tríochatrí míle, trí chéad agus deich bpunt (£133,310) ar Mheastachán na bliana seo ach, ina thaobh sin, ní mór gan dearmad a dhéanamh air go raibh iata sa Mheastachán don bhliain roimhe mór-mhéid i leith stór-thiomsú abhar agus ceannach maisínre. Dá mbaintí an soláthar breise sin de fhigiúirí na bliana roimhe bheadh gnáth-sholáthar na bliana seo nach mór mar a bhí anuraidh ach sa mhéid go bhfuil tuairim is ochtó-cúig míle, chúig chéad punt (£85,500) curtha isteach chun na stóir d'abhair a athshlánú.

Siad na seirbhísí is mó ar a dtráchtfaidh mé sa ráiteas seo ná na Tionscail Tuatha agus na Tionscail Mara atá dá seoladh faoi chúram na Fo-Roinne agus cúrsaí tithíochta faoi Achta na dTithe (Gaeltacht).

Maidir leis na Tionscail Tuatha taispeánann na mírchinn D. 1 go D. 11 go bhfuil laghdú de thuairim is chéad agus dachad-a-seacht míle, chúig chéad punt (£147,500) ar an soláthar i mbliana. Má déantar, ámh, ar soláthraíodh anuraidh i leith stór-thiomsuithe a chur ar leataobh, chífear go bhfuil á sholáthar i mbliana, idir a bhfuil ag teastáil do na gnáth-riachtanais reatha agus d'athshlánú stór na n-abhar, tuairim is seachtó-cúig míle punt (£75,000) níos mó ná gnáth-sholáthar na bliana roimhe. Is amhlaidh a tháinig ísliú ar na praghsanna d'olainn agus d'abhrais olainne ó anuraidh agus tuigfear, dá bharr sin, gur mó is fiú an soláthar breise ná a dhealramh.

Déantar soláthar faoi mhírcheann D. 4. do cheannach maisínre do na tionscail bréidín agus cniotála. Ar an soláthar atá ann tá tuairim is seacht míle punt (£7,000) do mhaisínre don mhuilinn sníomhacháin i gCill Chártha, Contae Dhún na nGall, míle punt (£1,000) do sheolta fíodóireachta agus cheithre mhíle punt (£4,000) do mhaisíní agus striúdaí don tionscal cniotála. Faoi mhírcheann D.7. (4) tá soláthar eile do mhaisínre agus tá ann tuairim is míle, trí chéad punt (£1,300) don mhonarchain sa Spidéal, Contae na Gaillimhe, mar a ndéantar cloigne agus cabhail-pháirteanna cruaidh do na babóga a déantar sna monarchana eile bréagán a sheolann an Fho-Roinn.

Tá soláthar faoi mhírcheann D.5 do abhair déantóireachta do na tionscai cniotála agus bróidnéireachta agus do roinnt bheag abhras a bhíos ag teastáil do fhíodóireacht bréidín agus súsaí agus nach bhfuil ar chumas an mhuilinn i gCill Chártha a tháirgeadh. Taispeánann an mírcheann laghdú mór ach baineann cuid mhaith dá ndúradh cheana i dtaobh stór-thiomsuithe leis an laghdú sin. Is sa tír seo is mó a bhímid ag brath ar mhargadh a fháil, go háirithe don chniotáil, agus bhí an margadh sin go dona ar fad anuraidh. Coimeádadh na hoibrithe ar lán-obair a fhaid ab fhéidir ach sa deireadh bhí orainn cúngú éigin a dhéanamh ar an dtáirgeacht. Ag féachaint dá bhfuil déanta chun allmhairí a theorannú, táthar ag súil le feabhas a theacht ar an margadh diaidh ar ndiaidh.

Faoi mhírcheann D. 7 (1) déantar soláthar do na habhair déantóireachta a bhéas ag teastáil do na monarchana bréagán. Tá laghdú de thuairim is aondéag míle punt (£11,000) ar an soláthar ach sé faoi ndear sin ná cúrsaí stór-thiomsuithe na bliana roimhe agus abhair de shórtanna atá nios saoire a bheith ag teastáil ón margadh. D'ainneoin an mheatha a tháinig ar an margadh d'earraí eile le timpeall bliana anuas chuaidh an tionscal bréagán ar aghaidh go réasúnach maith agus bhí na fáltais uaidh anuraidh níos fearr ná a bhí an bhliain roimhe sin. Mar sin féin, tá cúrsaí an mhargaidh ag éirí deacair go maith, go háirithe thar lear, agus beidh sé riachtanach níos mó aire ná riamh a thabhairt don mhargaíocht i mbliana.

Soláthraítear don mhuilinn sníomhacháin faoi mhírcheann D. 8 agus do na plandaí físiúcháin agus críochnúcháin faoi mhírcheann D. 10. Taobh amuigh den stór-thiomsú olainne dar soláthraíodh anuraidh, is féidir a rá go bhfuil an soláthar d'olainn i mbliana i leith cúrsaí reatha níos mó ná an soláthar céanna a rinneadh anuraidh toise an olann gan bheith chomh dacr anois. Tá dul chun cinn maith sa tionscal bréidín agus tá ag éirí leis an bhFo-Roinn margaí nua tar lear a fhorbairt, go háirithe sna Stáit Aontaithe.

Táthar ag soláthar faoi mhírcheann F.2 do Fhógránacht agus Poiblíocht i leith na dtionscal tuatha agus tá os cionn dhá mhíle punt (£2,000) breise dá chur ar fáil dóibh. Tá an Fho-Roinn ag déanamh gach ar féidir chun táirgí na dtionscal a chur ar an margadh thar lear agus chun aon mhargadh dá bhfuil ann a choimeád agus a fhorbairt agus, ag féachaint do chúrsaí coimhlinte sa tír seo féin, tá gá mór le poiblíocht chun greim a choimeád ar an margadh.

Tá laghdú de thuairim is míle, naoi gcéad punt (£1,900) ar mhírcheann F. 3. ach sé faoi ndear sin ná an méid a soláthraíodh anuraidh do stór-thiomsú abhar pacála.

Is amach as Leithreasa-i-gCabhair a híoctar an chuid is mó den pháigh oibre a tuilltear ag an lucht oibre sna tionscail tuatha, taobh amuigh de na méideanna dá gcuntasaítear faoi na mírchinn D. 8. agus D. 10. In ionad an nócha-ceathair míle, trí chéad agus dachad punt (£94,340) ar fad dar soláthraíodh mar sin anuraidh tá ochtó-hocht míle, chúig chéad punt (£88,500) ann i mbliana agus é bunaithe ar ar caitheadh go fíor anuraidh.

Maidir leis na Tionscail Mara is beag difríocht atá ar mhéid an tsoláthair i mbliana taobh amuigh den cheithre mhíle, sé chéad punt (£4,600), atá ann faoi mhírcheann E. 4 i leith cairrgín. Is amhlaidh atáthar tar éis imscrúdú a dhéanamh le tamall anuas i dtaobh a mbaineann le cúrsaí ullmhú agus margú an chairrgín agus ceaptar nár mhiste tabhairt faoi thurgnaimh a dhéanamh is féidir a raghadh chun tairbhe an tionscail. Táthar ag leanúint de bheith ag cur slata mara ar fáil don Chuideachtain Tionscail Ailigionáide (Éire), Teoranta, ar leis an Stát an chuid is mó dá scaireanna agus ar di a leagadh ar bord na Dála i dtosach na bliana féilire seo na cuntais don bhliain dar chríoch an 30 Meán Fómhair seo tharainn. Do hardaíodh bun-phraghas na slata mara ó cheithre phunt deich scilling go cheithre phunt chúig scilling déag an tonna don séasúr seo thart.

Maidir le tithíocht déantar soláthar faoi mhírcheann H. 3 do na deontais a tugtar faoi Achta na dTithe (Gaeltacht) agus tá an méid céanna, seasca-haon míle, chúig chéad punt (£61,500) sa Mheastachán chuige sin i mbliana agus a bhí ann anuraidh. Siad na háititheoirí tí féin a dhéanann cuid mhaith de na hoibreacha ar ina leith a ligtear na deontais agus tuigfear mar sin go mbrathann go mór ar na daoine féin an fhaid aimsire a caitear leis an obair chun íoc na ndeontas a thuilleamh. Beidh reachtaíocht ag teastáil sar i bhfad chun tuilleadh airgid a údarú faoi na hAchta agus táthar tar éis a bheith dá bhreithniú le tamall anuas ar chóir aon athruithe a dhéanamh anseo agus ansiúd iontu. Beidh faill eile againn chun na cúrsaí sin a phlé. Tá obair na tithíochta ag dul ar aghaidh sásúil go maith agus, i láthair na huaire, tá tuairim is chúig chéad (500) tithe nua dá dtógáil agus dhá chéad go leith (250) dá bhfeabhsú.

Tá méadú de tuairim is deich míle, chúig chéad punt (£10,500) sa tsoláthar atá dá dhéanamh faoi na mírchinn A, D. 1, D. 2, E. 1, F. 1 agus H. 1 do thuarastail na bhfoireann éagsúla atá ag obair faoin Fho-Roinn. Níl ach beirt ar fad de bhreis ar an uimhir daoine dá bhfuiltear ag soláthar agus sé is mó faoi ndear an t-airgead breise ná na breisithe tuarastail a deonadh an bhliain seo tharainn. Chífear go n-iann figiúirí compráideacha na bliana sin méid nach mór chomh mór leis an méld a haistríodh ón Vóta do Bhreisithe ar Luach Saothair.

Tá soláthar dá chur ar fáil don chéad uair faoi mhírcheann I do obair fheabhsúcháin agus cothabhála Ionad Tionscail na Fo-Roinne. Táthar ag súil gur fearr a féachfar i ndiaidh na hoibre sin an cúram a bheith faoin Fho-Roinn féin ná a bheith faoin Oifig Oibreacha Poiblí mar a bhíodh.

Déileáltar faoi mhírcheann J. leis na fáltais i gCabhair an Vóta lena bhfuiltear ag súil. San iomlán níl ach laghdú de thuairim is seacht míle, chúig chéad punt (£7,500) ar fhigiúirí na bliana roimhe. Tá tuairim is cheithre mhíle, chúig chéad punt curtha isteach i mbliana do fháltais as cairrgín a dhíol nach raibh i gceist an bhliain roimhe ach tá laghdú de thuairim is trí-déag míle punt (£13,000) ar an nglan-mhéid atá dá áireamh mar fháltais as na Tionscail Tuatha tar éis a n-íocfar astu i leith páighe na n-oibrithe agus coimisiúin dhíolacháin a thabhairt san áireamh maille le laghdú a déantar orthu chun cabhruithe le cúrsaí airgeadais na Fo-Roinne ó lá go lá. Tríd is tríd, ba bhliain chorrach trádála a bhí againn sa tír seo an bhliain seo tharainn ach táthar ag súil leis go dtiocfaidh feabhas ar an scéal sar i bhfad.

I have already circulated a translation of the statement I have just made so I do not think it is necessary for me to refer to it in English.

I think it will be agreed that we have reason to be disappointed with this Estimate. When the Parliamentary Secretary was appointed it was thought that there would be considerable development in these various services. Some short time after the Parliamentary Secretary took office he circulated a statement intimating what he would do. When one re-reads that statement now and compares it with the Estimate for this year the result is disappointing. According to that statement, the Parliamentary Secretary was about to do this, that and the other. There was hardly anything one could imagine that had not been conceived but, in spite of all the conceptions, the Parliamentary Secretary has brought forth very little.

I shall read some of this statement to remind him now of all the things he had intended to do and to relate it to the Estimate he has now introduced:—

"In almost every area I visited the volume of emigration had increased very much in recent years and everywhere the necessity of making industrial employment available was impressed on me. I believe that the introduction of the Undeveloped Areas Bill will be of considerable importance in this respect. The House will shortly have the opportunity of debating this in full."

This statement was issued prior to the introduction of the Bill dealing with the undeveloped areas.

"The fuller and better utilisation of our natural resources was repeatedly stressed. In this connection I believe that expansion and development of fisheries is of primary importance and I am actively in close co-operation with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, who is in charge of the Fisheries Branch of the Department of Agriculture. I am paying particular attention to increasing the productivity of land in these areas"—

that is, in the Gaeltacht area—

"and with this end in view, the inter-departmental committee has under consideration the co-ordination of schemes under the ægis of different Departments and branches of Administration. For example, the land division and rearrangement problem, particularly in Connemara and Mayo, has a detrimental effect on the proper utilisation of land and the deriving of benefits under land reclamation and other improvement schemes by tenants of rundale holdings."

I wonder was that paragraph written in all seriousness? The late Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Dillon, was twitted here by the Fianna Fáil Party when he tried to do something for that area. What has the Parliamentary Secretary done for the area during the past 12 months? Obviously he has done nothing. I think we should at least have had from him to-day a statement as to what he intends to do in the near future. What does he propose to do with the land in Connemara? He referred to-day to subdivision. Does he intend to further subdivide the land there? What does he mean when he talks of subdivision of the land in Connemara? What one should really aim at in that particular area is the enlargement of the present holdings. If that is done, what will happen to the people who are displaced?

"A special sub-committee of the inter-departmental committee has been set up to undertake co-ordination of effort and pressing forward of land division and other improvement schemes."

Land division down in Connemara! I think it was a Galway Deputy who waxed eloquent in relation to Deputy Dillon's land project and referred to Deputy Dillon rolling the rocks in Connemara down into the sea. Apparently Deputy Dillon made an attempt to put the rocks somewhere. The Parliamentary Secretary does not say what he will do with the land in Connemara.

"It is hoped that many necessary, outstanding and desirable works, including marine works which have been under consideration in the special employment schemes office will be undertaken at an early date."

I am interested in a little marine work and have been interested in it for a number of years past. I had a parliamentary question down about it to-day. I had hoped that this work would have been undertaken years ago. It might be interesting if I now read the reply I got to-day. I asked the Minister for Finance to-day if agreement has been reached between his Department and the Donegal County Council as to the character of the marine works to be constructed at Portaleen for the accommodation of fishermen. The answer I got was:—

"The answer is in the negative, but it has been agreed that a hydrographic survey should be undertaken as a necessary preliminary to the formulation of any proposal for works in Portaleen. It is hoped to carry out the survey within the next two months."

That is a matter upon which I had hoped the Department of Finance and the Donegal County Council would have reached agreement long ago, and I was hoping that any day now work would commence. Nothing has been done. The Parliamentary Secretary was to be the great co-ordinator between all these Departments. His would be the duty of turning on the tap to supply the steam needed to heat things up properly and get them going.

The statement from which I was quoting goes on:—

"I found an increasing demand for the extension of the rural electrification scheme to the Gaeltacht."

Of course, rural electrification does not come within the Parliamentary Secretary's purview at all. If he confines himself to the things that are really relevant and pertinent to his particular office he would of course be a real asset. He should not interfere in matters that do not concern him. Rural electrification is being energetically pursued by those who have been appointed to deal with it, namely, the Electricity Supply Board.

The pamphlet goes on:—

"As announced recently by the Tánaiste, the Government has decided to place in my charge the administration of Gaeltacht services and has appointed me Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands in order to invest me with the necessary authority. I believe there is room for improvement and expansion of these services. The excellent standard of Gaeltarra Eireann products has made them outstanding in a highly competitive market, and it is my hope that increased output will make available to Gaeltacht residents opportunities of greater employment."

That paragraph is quite true. For the last ten or 15 years the Department has revolutionised the production of the goods until now they are of the highest possible competitive quality. The spinners, dyers and weavers producing these goods are to be congratulated on the progress that has been achieved. As a result of the disastrous 1914-18 war and the general economic slump, resulting in a total lack of demand for textile goods, we got into the habit of producing inferior stuff and destroyed the market until, ultimately, nobody would buy it at all. I am glad that this marked improvement has taken place in these goods. They are of the very highest and very finest quality. There is one thing that the Parliamentary Secretary could do. There is nothing of more importance than to see that the goods produced are of the very highest quality and of the highest standards in design and quality. If he does that, he will be doing a really good job for the Gaeltacht. He should not be talking a lot of nonsense that he is talking in this pamphlet.

The pamphlet goes on to emphasise that the preservation and expansion of the language and of the Gaeltacht itself is of primary importance in the work of the office. Let us be quite serious about this. I have some contact with the Gaeltacht. I know it for a long time. It is one of the tragedies of my life to witness the continuing and continuous decline of the Gaeltacht, both the Fior-Ghaeltacht and the Breac-Ghaeltacht. I do not see anything in this Estimate, that will stop that decline. The Parliamentary Secretary says that he has visited all these areas. I hope he keeps his eyes open and sees what is going on there from day to day. I hope that even this year he is taking note of the continuous and rapid drain of the young boys and girls from these districts. As many as 600 of them have left these areas in one day and have crossed to England. Is the Parliamentary Secretary going to preserve the Gaeltacht in Birmingham and Coventry? Is that what he has in mind? Or, is he going to tackle this enormous job that is involved here and that must be undertaken? This Estimate will not do it. It does not even make a beginning. This Estimate in fact is retrogressive and shows no evidence of progress with regard to the promises the Parliamentary Secretary makes in that circular.

There are the promises. We come now to the achievements. We have the Parliamentary Secretary telling us of the marked and very substantial decrease in the provisions for the Department this year. He attempts to justify that by telling us that last year there were provisions for stockpiling. I do not know if the Parliamentary Secretary has any practical knowledge of running a substantial business. While I have not been trained in Fords, I have some experience. It strikes me that the amount of stock provided for here this year, or even last year, is not excessive even in normal times when one relates the cost of the raw materials for textiles to current world prices.

While the Parliamentary Secretary ascribes the difference in the amount provided this year and the amount provided last year to stockpiling, he does not in fact indicate the difference in the price paid for wool in the year 1950 and the beginning of 1951 as against the price of raw wool for the current year. According to Australian market reports, the price of Australian wool in 1951-52 as against 1950-51 shows a decline of approximately 50 per cent. Related to the number of bales sold in Australia and New Zealand for the two years, the price they got in Australian pounds is down by roughly 50 per cent.

When the Parliamentary Secretary attempts to justify the sum provided this year as being equal to the sum provided for the year before, in order to confirm that statement and to give us evidence of the veracity of that statement, he should have given us the relative prices paid in the two years.

There is another thing that has been troubling me for years. These factories are soundly established now and surely we have reached the stage when we should introduce costings, to put them on a commercial basis. Then the House and the country would know exactly how they were being run and how their costings related to comparable industries. This is a special division, not doing it on a commercial basis but making provision for congested areas and providing work for people there, but that is no reason why the industries should not be put on the very soundest commercial basis. It would show private people engaged in the same business that we were not over-subsidising them out of their money and producing goods to compete with them in the market and also a desire on the part of the Department to be efficient. It would show that they were not using the money of their competitors to subsidise them unnecessarily. We have reached the stage when it would be a good idea to have detailed costings with regard to these factories. When one looks at these figures with regard to wages and salaries, etc., apart from the salaries and wages of the employees from the manager down to the ordinary workmen, and relates these two things, it strikes one that it is exceedingly top-heavy, to put it mildly.

I should like to go through these accounts in detail. Materials are down by £100,000. I wonder if the Parliamentary Secretary could give us the quantity of either wool or yarn represented by that £100,000 in relation to the £200,936 provided for in 1951-52. In sub-head D (8), there is £96,274 provided for materials for spinning. Is that raw material taken out of the item of £100,000 in D (5) or is that a duplication? I should also like to know what is the meaning of sub-head D (9). While these are only token sums, I do not see why they should be there. They only inflate the Estimate and serve no purpose. As to sub-head D (10) (1)— Materials for Dyeing and Finishing— does that relate simply to dyeing materials belonging to the dyeing department or has it anything to do with any of the other materials referred to in the other sub-heads?

I now come to kelp and seaweed. For some years I had the hope that this could be developed as a substantial commercial item. I had always hoped that it could be used in an unrefined way for feeding stuffs. There is no doubt as to its feeding qualities for stock of all ages, from calves to cows, and for horses. We have been told that we are to be limited with regard to the imports of feeding stuffs and, with the present price of maize and linseed oil, particularly linseed oil, I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that he should put it to the technicians in the Department whether bulk supplies of this material could not be collected and sold in a raw condition to those mills which hitherto produced a compound feeding stuff for farmers. They should be asked whether they could not make use of this material to raise the standard of the very poor quality of feeding stuff which they are now turning out. It would be a simple process to have a proportion of this material mashed up in a mill and a quantity of it added to these feeding mixtures which they are now producing. It would enormously increase the feeding value of these feeding stuffs.

As it now stands, this whole branch is a purely nominal thing. When you take the sum of £19,000 for the purchase of kelp and seaweed and find a sum of £11,835 for costs for the handling of £19,000 worth, it seems out of all proportion. I find it difficult to justify a transaction of that sort. The transport and storage of it cost £8,000. One cannot help being coerced to the conclusion that the cost of salaries, wages, etc., is completely out of proportion to the amount of money produced by way of Appropriations-in-Aid. I seriously suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary, as he is now, as it were, confined to this special branch, that the whole thing should be reorganised from top to bottom and an attempt made to put it on a sound commercial basis. I am not blaming the Parliamentary Secretary, because this was a thing which was being built up. But, now that it is established, we owe it to the taxpayers, especially now, when everybody finds it so very hard to live, that we should not unnecessarily waste any of their money. I am afraid that if you could get an ordinary taxpayer to analyse this Estimate, he would be very wrathful with this House for producing an Estimate of this kind, having regard to the amount of money spent on salaries, wages and allowances in relation to the Appropriations-in-Aid, that is to say the material produced. The service rendered to the community, rather than the salaries paid, is the test of an organisation of this kind. People think that all this money goes into the Gaeltacht and gives employment there, but that is not so. Only a fraction of it goes there, and we should aim at sluicing the major portion of it into the Gaeltacht areas for the purposes for which it is voted. A lot remains to be done in that respect.

We have a central depot for marketing these goods, and perhaps it is an organisation which is indispensable, but, from the business point of view, it would be worth trying what other large manufacturers do with regard to the sale of their products, that is, to give persons who are experts in the marketing of textile goods the agency for these goods. These are articles of the highest quality. They are competitive in quality and, so far as I know, in price, and it should not be a difficult matter to market them. I wonder if the Department has considered approaching it on those lines which would dispense with this central depot for marketing them. I cannot see what advantage this depot can have over a competent agent trained in the handling and marketing of textile goods. These people have been trained in the textile business from the very bottom, and know all about it, and they would probably be keener than officers of this depot because there is a limit to the extent to which these officers can go. They are, in the main, civil servants, and always have to keep in mind the fact that they are civil servants. I suggest that it would be worth considering whether or not the marketing of these goods should be handed over to agents.

I understand that there are agencies, but to what extent and in what capacity they act, I do not know. The central marketing depot is here in the city, but I should like to know if the goods are in fact sold through agents, because there is a substantial item for commission set out here, and I take it that that is in respect of the sale of these goods. I am curious to know where they come into the picture. Are they the instruments of the central marketing depot? Do they sell the entire goods in that central depot or do they sell some other products of the Department, such as those made in depots scattered throughout the country where a department teacher teaches girls to knit, to make gloves, socks and so on? Is it such goods these agents dispose of or do they dispose of the entire products of the Department? Are they a type of subagents who receive the commission set out here? I make that suggestion for what it is worth because it would be quite futile for me to get up here and criticise unless I had some constructive suggestions to make. There could be a substantial saving in the cost of the central depot and the marketing of these goods, and the Parliamentary Secretary could sluice back some of the money to the districts which were intended to benefit from the provision of these moneys.

It is to be regretted that the Estimate shows a decrease. When we deduct the amount of money provided for the purchase of machinery this year for one purpose and another from the total, we find that the decrease is very substantial. With regard to the wool in stock, most of it would not have been bought recently. I take it that some of it would have been purchased last fall or early this year, and at the time the Estimate was prepared, wool had not fallen in price to the extent to which it has fallen now. I should like to have an accurate figure from the Parliamentary Secretary as to the amount of wool represented by the £200,000 last year and the £100,000 this year and the price paid for it, so that we could get a clear view of the actual reduction in the Estimate this year as against last year.

Kelp does not seem to show very much development either. Is it that the people along the coast are not going in for this kind of work, that they think it too laborious, which in fact it is not? What is the position of the external market for sea rods, together with the internal position? At one time, there were great hopes that these sea rods would be extensively used for the production of fertilisers and I should be interested to know what amount, if any, the fertiliser manufacturers are using now. During the past year, the cost of fertilisers, owing to increased cost of wages, freight and insurance, jumped about 50 per cent., and if the Parliamentary Secretary could push up the amount of money involved in that sub-head, he would be doing very good work. I do not see why that should not be done. Young men in the Gaeltacht areas would in the evening when they are substantially free be far better off doing that job—if I may say so to them, and I am not afraid to say it—than slouching around the roads. There is nothing better for anybody no matter who than a good healthy hard bit of work. Certainly they would be far better at that than stuck in a picture-house somewhere, in a poky hall with bad ventilation.

In relation to the promises made by the Parliamentary Secretary on taking over this Department and the performance, I think that this House and the country cannot be anything but disappointed. It is the old ordinary Estimate and indicates nothing but stagnation. No hope is shown in it under any one heading or any one sub-head, and I think we must really say that it causes disappointment, one might add bitter disappointment, in view of the promises made when the Parliamentary Secretary was specially appointed to take over these areas. We had better just be honest and quite frank about this matter. We should not go on codding ourselves or pretending to cod ourselves and pretending also that we are codding the country. We may go on trying to cod the people but you cannot cod them. It cannot be done and it will not be done. We are not living 60, 70 or 100 years ago. The young men and women of these areas are far too intelligent now. They have a good education. They read the papers and have the wireless. They are just as keen as anybody anywhere else and more so because the conditions of their life make them so. They have a keener, higher intelligence than other people I am not saying that by way of flattery. The Department of Education would confirm that statement about them in relation to young people in the rest of the country. The very conditions of their life make them keener and more intelligent. Surely it is a piece of supreme codology for this House to attempt to make them believe that we are doing something for them, not only for now but with a long view, which will enable them to live a healthy life in reasonably constant employment and in the future give them a home in the area which the Parliamentary Secretary proclaims he is going to resuscitate, reanimate and re-emancipate. That is not in this Estimate and there is no sign of it. Certainly I am not going to cod myself into believing that it is in order to flatter them or to get applause. It is not in it.

Some people, perhaps, would tell us that we are only wasting our time, that these people are inherently lazy, that there is no use in doing anything for them, because they will not do anything for themselves. It is only roughly 150 years since they were driven from the good lands of Ireland into the hills and bogs of Donegal, Galway, Mayo and Kerry. They were thrown there helpless and penniless, and have eked out an existence through those years. They reared large families and gave them whatever education was available in the local national school. They paid their debts, and if they were not fit to pay them while the children were being reared, they ran accounts, and when the children grew up and earned money, the money came back, and every penny of those accounts was paid. They reclaimed the bogs of Donegal, Mayo, Galway and Clare. Surely it is an insult to these people to tell them they are afraid of work, lazy, not worth doing anything for.

No matter what anybody says, if we mean to preserve these people, if we are honest about doing anything for them, we must do it well. No haphazard action will do. To be employed for one month or two will not satisfy any young man or woman. They do not demand good wages for a period, but they want continuous wages, so that young men and women can get married, build a home and have a continuing income with which they can rear, feed and clothe children.

The office of Parliamentary Secretary to the Government was long overdue in this country. For years it has been apparent that the population was drifting from the western seaboard and that the cities were becoming overcrowded. It was obvious that if we were to take serious notice of this depopulation of the Gaeltacht something tangible would have to be done with a view to finding a solution to the problem. The appointment of a Parliamentary Secretary to the Government was the first serious step ever taken towards that end.

To my mind it was actually better than to set up a separate Ministry to deal with the Gaeltacht and the congested areas because he may not merely tackle the problem in a particular aspect, he has authority to coordinate the various Departments in so far as their work relates to the Gaeltacht and congested areas. That in itself is better than to have separate Ministry, desirable as such might be, for the Gaeltacht.

The previous speaker made a case in defence of the good type of people who occupy these areas. I think that nobody has ever disputed that and that it is unnecessary to point it out. The fact, however, that so many families have left these areas and that there has been a continual decline in the population over a large number of years brings us to the conclusion that something serious must be done if that decline is to be arrested in the future. The problem is of course entirely an economic one. The people of those areas depend for a livelihood on a number of things. All these people have little holdings none of which is capable in itself of supporting the large families which are very often brought up on them. They must have some supplementary income if they are to continue to live in those areas. That is exactly what the problem means. Not merely do they need to be taught and given an opportunity to get the most out of the small-holdings they have but the small industries which exist in these areas and the potential industries which might be set up there require attention, and that without further delay.

There are a few main industries which help to supplement the income of uneconomic holders in the congested areas. These might be listed as turf production, fishing, the production of hand-woven tweed and, to a great extent, knitting. I think that the Parliamentary Secretary would be wise to concentrate on these, at the same time keeping in mind any potential industries which can be set up to give more employment in these areas. The tweed industry has had a sufficiently haphazard life over the past half-century in Donegal but at the present time it is becoming established and is on a fairly firm footing, mainly due to the improvement in quality and the better attention paid to the production of this material for a number of years. There is much that can yet be done in that respect but the principal aim at the moment should be to find sufficient markets as an outlet for the material produced. Since the duties of the Parliamentary Secretary are to co-ordinate the activities of various governmental and semi-governmental Departments, I should like if he would pay particular attention to one semi-governmental Department recently established for the purpose of furthering our export trade—Córas Tráchtála. That Department is not very long in existence but there is much more it could do to find extra markets for Donegal tweed, a considerable quantity of which is being exported to the dollar area at present. The further development of these exports would serve the dual purpose of earning dollars and at the same time provide employment in areas where it is most required.

Some person made a remark the other day in relation to the number of Irish who are abroad, and I was reminded of a statement made, I think, by the Taoiseach on a former occasion when he referred to the numbers of Irish people who took part in the parades in the various cities of America on St. Patrick's Day. Last year 100,000 Irishmen marched down Fifth Avenue, New York, and there were almost 1,000,000 people looking on, most of whom were Irish or of Irish descent. Over 25,000 participated in a parade in Philadelphia and upwards of 500,000 in Boston. We are reminded that if these people bought only one suit of Donegal tweed in the year, it would keep every available weaver in the country working to capacity during the entire working days of the year. We think that bodies like Córas Tráchtála recently set up to promote our exports should pay attention to matters such as these to see if it is not possible to get Irish associations in America to take a keener interest in the sale of our products in those countries. I would not entirely concentrate on Gaeltarra Éireann, which is a well organised body capable of looking after its own interests in the main. There are many private firms who cannot themselves afford the advertising necessary to establish their products on markets abroad. These people are entitled to assistance from any Government or semi-Government organisation. There are many admirable firms which we feel should get every possible encouragement and facility, particularly firms engaged in producing articles for the American and other foreign markets. Every help should be given them to increase their exports and by that means to increase the employment which they afford for our people at home.

In regard to turf, the production of turf is one of the main industries in the congested areas. Those who come from turf areas would not be in the slightest disappointed if coal never entered this country. Coal which forms one of the biggest items, if not the biggest item, on our import list should be imported for industrial purposes mainly and to areas where turf cannot be purchased economically. I would remind the Parliamentary Secretary that he could keep a close check on the amount of coal allowed into turf areas in order to ensure that there will be no surplus turf on the market—not merely that there will be no surplus turf but that the people will be encouraged to produce turf in larger quantities and that they will be assured of a market for it in future. It is one of the main industries in the congested Gaeltacht areas of this country.

With regard to fishing, I am satisfied that recent legislation will provide the necessary facilities to enable inshore fishermen to take part in this precarious occupation in greater comfort, in larger numbers and at a better profit. The market for fish at the moment seems fairly assured and satisfactory. I hope it will always remain so. The problem now should be, how to increase our catches and that can be done only by supplying the necessary gear and the proper types of boat to fishermen. The provisions in the recent legislation in that respect enable us to do that for the fisherman who is anxious to continue in that precarious industry.

In the matter of knitting, I would remind the Parliamentary Secretary that those who are engaged in this industry have had a difficult time for the past 12 or 18 months. They found, in villages where knitting industries are established, that it was possible, in the early months of last year, to purchase English-produced knitwear more cheaply than it was being turned out in the local factory. It was dumped in here to the extent of £2,000,000 worth in 12 months. We trust that will never happen again, that the market will be preserved for the home knitting industry and that the industry will be facilitated in every possible way in building up an export trade as well. In that respect I should like to point out that the recent duty imposed on imported yarns for the purpose of facilitating home production has had, in some cases, a very adverse effect on the knitting industry where an export market for a particular type of material had already been built up.

There is certain machinery available to enable those people to bring in the yarn free of duty if the goods to be produced from it area for export, but there is a good deal of red tape attached to it, and I do not think that it works very smoothly or satisfactorily for those in the export business. I think the Parliamentary Secretary should examine the machinery available for that purpose to ensure that nothing will retard the progress that is now being made in the export of knitwear, gloves and piece goods, which are being produced in many centres in Donegal, for which there are ample orders in hand at the moment, and on the production of which many people, living in cottages on the hillsides, are employed.

There are various other schemes of interest to the Gaeltacht, many of which have already been referred to on other Estimates such, for example, as the Estimate for Forestry, which are of great importance. A previous speaker said that temporary employment alone would not solve any of the difficulties which, apparently, exist in the Gaeltacht. That is perfectly true. Some people seem to be worrying about the money that was being expended on drainage work along the roadsides under the Local Authorities (Works) Act. Necessary as such employment may be, work of that nature for a few weeks on a drain by the roadside is not going to keep anybody at home in the Gaeltacht or in the congested areas. It is only a passing phase, a temporary type of employment which lasts for only a few weeks. No man can look forward to settling down and saying to himself that on work of that nature he has permanent employment which is capable of supporting his wife and himself, and maintaining a home. For that reason, he cannot look on his position as being secure for the future or feel that there will be no need for him to emigrate. Temporary schemes do not create that impression in the mind of anybody in those areas.

That is not the type of employment that we require. It is fortunate to know that the weavers who are employed by Gaeltarra Éireann and the other private firms look on their employment as being of a permanent nature. They can see a future in it for themselves and feel that the necessary protection will be accorded to them, that they will be able to set up a home and marry, if they are not already married, and live in their own native districts with a certain measure of comfort and prosperity. That is the type of employment that we want to see in the Gaeltacht areas, even though it may take a little extra time to provide it to the extent desired. We do not urge the Parliamentary Secretary to rush in with temporary improvised schemes for the sake of bringing down the figures of unemployment for a few months and then leaving the people on the dole for the remainder of the year. We would prefer to see him direct his attention towards finding permanent employment of a suitable kind for the people in the establishment of industries that will hold out hope for the future—hope that there will be some sense of permanency about them as well as for the expansion and improvement of the industries which already exist.

On the other side, it will be necessary to see that suitable amenities are provided for the people in those areas. We think that any person who is destined to live in a backward area, such as a Gaeltacht area is invariably, should be given the opportunity of having every facility that is available to people living elsewhere in the country. We believe that he should have a decent road to walk on, no matter where the village or townland in which he lives is situated. We believe that he should have a decent house to live in. In that respect, I am glad that the Parliamentary Secretary has seen fit—I am sure that he is responsible for it—to ensure that, in the new Housing Act which is at present before the House, the omission that was in Section 7 of the 1950 Act has been remedied in so far as that the new Act will now apply to Gaeltacht housing. The amendment made will enable a local authority to give a grant for Gaeltacht housing as well as for housing in any other part of the country. If the local authorities give a grant equivalent to that given in the Gaeltacht Act for housing, that will greatly facilitate the building of houses in the Gaeltacht and will certainly provide better means for the Gaeltacht than they ever had before. That is a step in the right direction.

So far as roads are concerned, they are an amenity which everybody desires at the present time. It is not good enough to say that the roads are as good as they were 40 years ago or as they were in our grandfathers' time. To-day, we want to see a decent type of road leading to every village and hamlet, and I suggest that it is up to those who profess to be interested in the Gaeltacht to ensure that we get the necessary facilities to enable us to equip ourselves with those amenities.

There are various other matters in relation to the Gaeltacht which will arise under other Votes, but I think it well to remind the Parliamentary Secretary, since his job is the coordination of the various Departments, that the building of schools in the Gaeltacht is a matter of great urgency. I think that has already been dealt with, and I believe that we can expect a very definite improvement in that direction in the year ahead.

I would urge on the Parliamentary Secretary to consider an extension of the tomato scheme. We have a tomato scheme in a particular part of Donegal. I believe that, given a fair trial and judging it on the whole, it is a very successful scheme, one on which the Minister who introduced it may well be congratulated. I would like to see that scheme extended to other parts of Donegal where the people are anxious to share in the benefits which their friends in other parts of the county are enjoying at the moment.

The Parliamentary Secretary, in his opening statement, referred to the provision of recreational halls and playing pitches. I was particularly anxious, in connection with a certain Gaeltacht area, one of the most ancient and historic parishes in this country, that it should be facilitated in regard to the provision of a playing pitch which the local parish council is trying to provide at the moment.

When we appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary, as we hope to do in the next few days, I hope he will give us every facility to ensure that such a pitch will get the necessary assistance. It would be the first pitch of its kind in a Gaeltacht. I hope we will get assistance from whatever Departments are responsible—the Board of Works, the Department of local Government and any other Department. It is an area where it is difficult to provide a playing pitch, as in the Gaeltacht you have not the flat plains of the County Meath and if we get the necessary facilities it will add to the cultural amenities in the area.

I would like to congratulate the Parliamentary Secretary on the businesslike way in which he undertook his work during the year. Unlike a previous speaker, I do not want to sneer or be cynical in connection with this important appointment. The Parliamentary Secretary has been charged with co-ordinating the work of various Departments and one cannot expect him to work a miracle in eight short months. Many Governments have gone their way and have not done in a number of years what he is undertaking now. We did not expect to see miracles within a few months. I am satisfied and convinced that this is a step in the right direction and that as time goes on the effect of his work will be manifest. I trust he will have the support and co-operation of every Party in the House to see that this most desirable work is brought to fruition successfully in the shortest possible time.

To my mind, the legislation which set up An Fóras Tionscal is one of the most important pieces of legislation enacted by this House for a very long time. It gives hope to those people in the western counties who in many cases had to emigrate, whether it was permanent emigration or temporary migration. It has given them hope that at least their interests are being looked after now. The idea is a very sound one, and I am personally gratified that we have in charge of this development of the western counties a man who is not only capable but who during the past year has put a great deal of spadework into this project, and will continue to do so. From discussions I have had with him, and from accounts that I have read, and knowing of the number of visits he paid to the western areas to get first-hand information, I know we can rest assured that development will take place. We should be very satisfied if the rate of development continues over a period of years as it has done within the past 12 months. This office is less than a year in existence, and there are concrete results which can be seen already, resulting from the setting up of this board. New factories have already come into being as a result of the work done by the Parliamentary Secretary and by An Fóras Tionscal. I look on it as a long-term policy. We should aim at doing something substantial, doing it in a permanent way and planning on a long-term basis. As the last speaker has indicated, the people of the western counties do not want to be thrown sops. They want something that will be there permanently, and that will not alone bring money to the western counties but will also produce some wealth for the nation. It is in setting up industries in the West, in producing goods for the home market and for export, that one will give employment to these people and improve their lot, and also benefit the country as a whole.

During the debate on forestry, Deputy Blowick suggested that employment should be given to people in the rural districts. I agree with that, but I find that in rural districts not enough employment can be given, no matter how one goes about it. We must supplement that by having some industries in the towns and villages that will absorb the surplus that must necessarily come from the rural area. We want to capture that migratory element and must capture it as near to home as possible, rather than let it go overseas. The proper way to do that is the way adopted by An Fóras Tionscal, the setting up of industries, small or large, in the towns and villages of our western counties. I would appeal for the setting up of even very small industries. Some people have an idea that unless they do something outstanding, unless there is an industry costing thousands or hundreds of thousands of pounds set up, it is not worth while bothering about it. I believe that greater benefit can be given if we get around to catering for small industries where ten to 20 people would be employed. If we had many of those, it would go a long way towards solving most of our difficulties.

An Fóras Tionscal is solely responsible for the giving of grants and aiding proposed industries. Before an industry reaches that stage, a good deal of preliminary work must be done. The idea is to leave that to local enterprise and An Fóras Tionscal does not act until local enterprise has got to the stage where they have something concrete to put before the board. The board acts from then on. A good deal of work must be done before that, and I think that attached to the board there should be an advisory body. I know there is the Industrial Development Authority, but I think there should be something more approachable—say an advisory office in each county. You may have people in a town or district who have the necessary capital.

It is not easy, in the first place, to get them together to pool their ideas and their capital. Having done that, even when they get together it is not easy for them, being in some isolated place, to decide as to the best industry for that particular locality. Even if they are aware of the most suitable industry, they are not in a position to say whether there is a home market for the products of that industry, they cannot say how much of those articles is being imported or whether a foreign market would be available. Of course, they could refer it to their local Dáil representative but he, having many other things to do, is not always able to devote the amount of time he should to getting the particulars required. It would be beneficial if you had an adviser in each county who would go around, attend meetings and give the information which would be required in the initial stages of any project.

One danger I see in connection with the getting of grants for industries in western counties concerns the last of the three requirements for a grant, namely, that there must be competitive disadvantages. I think many industries or proposed industries could be ruled out on that requirement, if it were carried too far. It is easy enough to rake up advantages. No matter where you start an industry, one can rake up a number of disadvantages and a number of advantages. I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that too many advantages should not be put against the establishment of a new industry in the Donegal and other western counties. A number of advantages means that a grant will not be forthcoming. It is very easy to outweigh the disadvantages by what may seem to be advantages, but any industry situated in a western county starts under a great handicap. What the people in those counties need is constant employment. I think the idea behind An Fóras Tionscal should, if given a proper chance, create in the West a reasonably constant amount of employment for the people there.

The people in Donegal say that the people in Dublin seem to think that Donegal is one of the Six Counties. The Donegal people say that Donegal is always left out in the cold, and that they do not get the same benefits which other counties are getting. We hope that under An Fóras Tionscal Donegal will get its share of whatever is going in the West.

A geological survey was carried out in this country some time ago—I forget the exact date—and a certain sum of money was allocated for that purpose. The counties first surveyed were the counties best surveyed, and the counties which were surveyed last were skimmed over because funds were running low. I think that large tracts of Donegal were not done at all. We have minerals in Donegal suitable for many purposes, but in that connection it would be necessary to carry out a new survey or to complete the old survey. I know of a firm that is interested in a certain type of clay. If we had a survey to guide us, it would be an easy matter to find the exact type of clay required but, as things stand at the moment, it is a matter of trial and error, mostly error.

As the last speaker has stated, the development of turf in Donegal and in the western counties during the emergency helped to create a good deal of employment for the people there. I think the Parliamentary Secretary would be wise to impress on the Department of Industry and Commerce the necessity for as great an expenditure on the development of turf now as during the emergency. While on the question of turf, I might say that tests were made in some of the Donegal bogs for montan wax. The percentage of montan wax in the specimens taken from Donegal was the highest in Ireland. A Dublin firm got a certain distance in that connection, but nothing further has been done since. I think that at one of his meetings in Donegal the Parliamentary Secretary got particulars of that matter. I am anxious to find out if it is a proposition worth following up and, if it is, I think we should be given information as to the potential markets and the cost of setting up the plant to develop that wax.

Donegal is one of the counties in this State which produces the most flax. For years, the people there have been discussing the idea of setting up a flax spinning mill. I know there are many snags in the way. I know that the cost of such a mill is very high and that the markets are not always steady. Sometimes there is a slump in the linen market. Nevertheless I think we should have a flax spinning mill in the northern part of the Twenty-Six Counties for the counties in that area that go in for flax-growing.

The development of fishing along the western seaboard generally is of great importance. I am glad that a statement has been issued to the effect that different ports along the western seaboard are due for development. Fishing has been carried on from the port of Glengad in Donegal for generations and we have some of the best fishing grounds in Europe off Malin Head. Evidence given in a recent case in regard to a trawler that had been shot at goes to show that this is one of the best fishing grounds around there or anywhere off the coast. Landing facilities are so bad at the moment that insurance companies will not undertake to insure the boats. It requires a fairly substantial sum of money to improve the landing facilities there. I would urge upon the Parliamentary Secretary, in his advisory capacity, to impress upon the different Departments connected with the building of piers—not one Department alone is concerned but three or four—the importance of attending to this matter.

Donegal being one of the foremost potato growing counties, exports a very large quantity of potatoes. Some of these potatoes are exported through the port of Derry. I think it would give very much employment if they were sent out through the Donegal ports. There are facilities at some of the Donegal ports like Moville, Buncrana and other places for loading these potatoes. The same applies to industrial alcohol.

At the moment, industrial alcohol is being transported by lorry to Dundalk and shipped from there. Again, we have the facilities in Donegal for the shipment of industrial alcohol from many of the ports there. That long transportation is a thing that should not be allowed to take place. I know it is very difficult to get away from the idea of centralisation but we have an opportunity of getting rid of this centralisation. By keeping his eye on these things, the Parliamentary Secretary could help to undo that state of affairs even in a small way. It is those smaller things, when taken over a long period, that will go a long way towards building up to the larger items.

I again want to congratulate the Parliamentary Secretary on the work done during the past year. I congratulate him on the work he has carried out on his own part in going around to the different centres in the West, in learning at first-hand of the conditions that exist there and in providing the remedies that should be adopted. I congratulate him on having reached the stage, after less than a year, where we can point to some new projects on the stocks.

For a new Parliamentary Secretary starting off with a brand-new section of a Department his opening statement was very surprising. He told us, of course, that the particular branch he operates is merely one to co-ordinate the work of several Departments. I should have liked if he had given us an idea of what was accomplished or the foundation that was laid during the period since the Department was established to get those projects under way. The Parliamentary Secretary said that he had a lot of running around to do, particularly in the western areas, making visits and so on. If he had told us what was likely to result from these visits, it might have been more interesting and we might have been able to help him out and make some suggestions to him that might be helpful in his work.

The Parliamentary Secretary said that they had been in close touch with the following developments in the Gaeltacht and congested areas:—

(1) Bord na Móna and Electricity Supply Board electricity from milled peat scheme at Bangor Erris, (2) Comhlucht Siúicre experimental and pilot schemes in connection with medicinal and herb growing, (3) Electricity Supply Board rural electrification and disposal of surplus turf in the remote areas, (4) Department of Agriculture re-extension of tomato glass-house scheme and the growing of onions, fishery development, etc.

I think that some of these schemes were started during the time of the inter-Party Government—at least they were talked about. With regard to the "rearrangement of rundale holdings", would the Parliamentary Secretary let us know what is being done in that connection and what success he has met with?

With regard to "directing Forestry Division activity to planting of remote and comparatively barren areas" I do not think the Parliamentary Secretary was in the House when the Minister for Lands replied on the Forestry Vote. The Minister left me under the impression that he was not at all too interested in the very thing in which the Parliamentary Secretary seems to be so interested now. In that connection, I had made a comment, which I repeat on this Vote, that the work of Fóras Tionscal in establishing factories in towns was very good but, good as it was, it left the remote and barren areas, which are not so barren from the point of view of population, unprovided for. If we are to keep a peasantry on the land and in the country, we must do something to arrest them clearing out of these areas. Establishing factories in the towns may help to arrest it within a radius of three, four, or five miles of that particular industry. I hold that we should establish some industry in the areas in the hinterland. The Parliamentary Secretary's office can go a long way towards achieving that object. I have not yet heard a better plan to rival afforestation as a means whereby a substantial population can be retained in the rural hinterland to which I have referred. I have listened to speakers in this House for eight or nine years. They have suggested all kinds of schemes for developing industries in towns but not one of them pointed to any scheme which would rival afforestation as a means of checking the vanishing population in rural Ireland.

If the Parliamentary Secretary does nothing else except develop afforestation in these areas and assist Fóras Tionscal in establishing factories in the towns in the western areas, where the rainfall is very high and has contributed to impoverishing the land down through the centuries he will have done a good day's work. I want to impress on the Parliamentary Secretary, that the setting up of industries in the towns is excellent for the towns themselves and for a radius of two, three or four miles around the towns. However these industries do not serve the huge hinterland and, in very many cases, the heavily populated hinterland, stretching for, perhaps, 15 or 20 miles between towns. I do not want to see those hinterlands becoming any more depopulated than they are at present. If they do we will not be able to hold our "bold peasantry" as Goldsmith called them long ago. It will be a sad thing if, when history comes to be written, our period, from 1920 to 1970, will be described as the period of the second great clearing from the land. I hope it will not be said that successive Irish Governments muddled along from one year to another, allowed depopulation to take place and did nothing to stop it. It will be regrettable if this generation is condemned for its negligence in this regard, and, unless, we get down to brass tacks, that will happen.

We may talk about the freedom of the country, about removing the Border and so forth, but do we realise we can do something to remedy one of the greatest catastrophies that is befalling us at the moment? I am referring to emigration. Dr. Lucey, the Coadjutor Bishop of Cork, referred to it as the decay of rural Ireland, and no more suitable expression could be used to describe what is happening.

If the Parliamentary Secretary has been in the western parts of County Mayo and in the northern and southern constituencies of that county, or in Galway, Kerry, Clare, Donegal, parts of Sligo and Leitrim, he must have been struck with a number of houses —obviously ones which were occupied not so long ago—where the windows and doors are boarded up and the occupants gone elsewhere. I am referring particularly to Leitrim. That is a sad state of affairs. It is not good enough to say that the propositions that we are putting forward will not be a financial success. The thing to do, in my opinion, is to bring employment of some kind right up to the doorsteps of the people in these areas. Of course, if they want to emigrate even then, constitutionally we cannot stop them. However, I do not believe that they will have that desire if chances of reasonable employment are held out to them.

The Parliamentary Secretary has visited my county and County Galway, where he has met people with all shades of political thought. These people have told him that they agreed fully with the afforestation drive that I had in hand during the period from 1948 to 1951. However, in case politics might be used to influence him to drop that scheme, I am asking him now not to do so. I do not think he is a man who would yield to that kind of cheapness, or that he would descend to that type of action. But in case it is whispered into his ear to drop that scheme, I ask him not to pay any heed to such a suggestion. I emphatically repeat again that I know of no more effective means at the present of retaining the population in the big areas between the towns than by means of afforestation. The previous speaker mentioned the geological survey which is being carried out at present of our mineral resources. That survey has told us fairly plainly that whatever mineral resources we have are not to be found in these areas, and that, in any case, our mineral resources are scarce, of poor quality, and too deep to be worked economically. My suggestion is that we should take the surface as we find it, and work it in such a manner that it will provide a livelihood which will encourage our young people to remain at home.

When replying to the debate on the Forestry Vote, the Minister for Lands astonished me with some of the things he said. He gave the impression that the game of afforestation in the congested areas would not be worth the candle. These were not the exact words he used, but the gist of what he said amounted to that.

It will be a sad day when the whole of the West of Ireland has become depopulated. There are many areas in the west where the land is so poor that it is fit for nothing but snipe. If the depopulation of these areas goes on at its present rate, the day will come when the only people left will be gathered into the towns, and dependent on one factory and on the output of that factory. I hope I will never see that time. I trust that more than one factory will be established in the town, so as to help to provide for its own population and for the surplus population that must always come into it from rural areas, as was mentioned by another speaker. It will be a disgraceful state of affairs if we allow the land of Ireland to become bereft of its people during our lifetime and, indeed, it has become sadly bereft of them at the moment. All I hope is that the depopulation of rural areas has not gone too far.

During my three and a half years as Minister for Lands I never met a young man or a young woman who would not stay at home if he or she had a reasonable wage and a chance of reasonable security in employment. I do not believe that in such circumstances even one out of every 100 persons would desire to travel and see the world, as the saying is. The majority of people emigrate because they want to make the best use possible of their youth. However, if any chances of reasonable employment at home are held out to them they will stay here. In fact I have never known one who, in such circumstances, would be anxious to go.

I wonder did the Parliamentary Secretary ever witness a railway station scene in the West of Ireland in the spring time? If he did, he saw crowds of young emigrants in tears, because that is no uncommon sight. If, as has been said often in this House, they are so anxious to leave, why are they weeping? A similar scene can be witnessed on Dún Laoghaire Pier. I can assure the Parliamentary Secretary that, if these youngsters were given security at home, they would not be anxious to leave the country. They go because they want to make the best possible use of their youth and to put a fortune together, whether it be big or small.

I would like to impress on the Parliamentary Secretary that he should discuss with the Minister for Lands the question of establishing forestry in the congested areas. The Forestry officials will tell him that, from experiments that have been carried out, these areas have been shown to produce good timber. There are certain quagmires and certain barren mountainsides without sufficient earth or protection from the winds which will not grow timber. However, apart from these, there is plenty of land which could be effectively used for such a purpose. The Parliamentary Secretary need not be a bit afraid of spending money for afforestation purposes. Forestry is something that will increase in value from year to year.

When he is replying, I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to tell us what is the cause of the unemployment in the West. Factories under Gaeltacht services in North Mayo have been reduced, I am informed, to working two days a week. I would like to know if that is true. These factories, short time as it is since the inter-Party Government were in power, were all going full blast, and I have heard that the bottom has fallen out of the markets for the goods they were producing and that they are working on only one and a half or two days a week. There is also the possibility that the Elly Bay toy factory will be put on half-time as well. I have heard these rumours and I would like to know if there is any truth in them. I took a keen interest in all these activities and I was very proud of the employment they were able to give during my term of office. I would like to see them going ahead. I know that toys and other products of these factories might sometimes blow into a blast of heavy selling weather and that they might suffer because of that.

As regards Fóras Tionscal I wish to make a few suggestions. First of all, let me say that the Parliamentary Secretary has just given us a bald statement instead of setting out what the board has accomplished. After all, we have voted money to that board and I do submit that it is hardly good enough for the Parliamentary Secretary to come along with a bald statement like that. That is not the way to treat the House when we are voting over £2,000,000 here. We never expected treatment of this kind and I am sure the Deputies behind the Parliamentary Secretary's back will agree with me in full when I say that it is not a fair way to treat the House. I do believe that the board has made very good tracks, so to speak, in some directions but then why hide the fact? Why hide their light under a bushel? Goodness knows we can fire enough bricks at their heads and if they have done something good why hide it? Apart from that consideration, as long as the House votes the money for the board we will insist on having an account of what is happening and what they are doing.

We are not discussing Fóras Tionscal.

No, we are not discussing Fóras Tionscal but I do say that when the Parliamentary Secretary or the Minister is moving the Vote for his office he should give an account to the House of what the board has done for the year. Perhaps it may not be proper to discuss the various projects on which the board have been engaged or have succeeded in bringing to fruition during the year—the Chair can rule out discussion on that—but the House should have an account from the Parliamentary Secretary or the Minister as to how the money is being spent and as to the success which has attended the board's efforts to establish factories, and so on. All we want is just to know what is happening. I, for one, feel it is not good enough to vote money and then simply have a warning notice put up: "It is none of your business from that on". It is our business and I insist on it being our business.

In my constituency there are a few towns that I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to bring to the notice of Fóras Tionscal for the establishment of factories if at all possible. Each one of them has facilities for the establishment of a factory. There is a slate quarry in Louisburgh which should not be allowed to remain dormant. There are also quantities of blackface wool and of bred wool of this year and last year on the farmer's hands and there is ample opportunity for the establishment of a factory in one town if not in two towns for handling that. There are four towns—Newport, Ballinrobe, Westport, and Louisburgh—which, like the rural areas, will soon be depopulated if something is not done to give them employment of a permanent nature. Now that the board is established it should come to the rescue of these places. After all, it is not for big centres which are already humming with industrial activity that the board was ever intended. It is for the towns like those in the West that I have mentioned that it was intended.

The last thing I want to say is that the Vote for Gaeltacht Services is down by a very considerable figure, by a net £133,000. The Parliamentary Secretary explained that by saying it is much lower this year because of stockpiling that occurred last year. Might I suggest that stockpiling did not run into that figure?

Mr. Lynch

I gave you the figures.

Very good. That will satisfy me. Would the Parliamentary Secretary tell us how the handwoven tweed industry in Donegal is progressing or has it fallen on evil days? Are the markets bad or could any better drive be made to try to develop sales within our own country and in outside countries where the Irish population form a considerable portion of the total, say, in the United States, England and other countries? Can anything be done there?

I notice that there is one sub-head which makes provision for advertising the products of Gaeltacht services and I am delighted to see that. All I am sorry about is that it is not twice or three times as much. I believe there is an opportunity there of developing and getting sale for the products. I want to say this—I did not get an opportunity last year—that Gaeltacht services are turning out some remarkably fine classes of materials and finished articles. They are as good if not better than anything on sale from any other country in the world and there is no reason why, with proper advertising, the sales at home and abroad could not be vastly increased. We should not let the opportunity slip of obtaining a market for our wares through failure to advertise them. Let the world know what we have to sell and let them know the excellent quality of the goods we have to sell. I must say that during the war years, owing to many difficulties, the impossibility of getting proper materials, proper machinery and proper spares for existing machinery, the quality of some of the materials turned out might not have reached the standard we would like to have seen it attain. However, since then the quality is quite good. It is better than good; it is excellent to my own knowledge and from what I have heard from traders who buy some of the material. It would be regrettable if we should fall down on the job of selling those goods and if unemployment should result from lack of sales because of our failure to advertise. In other words, let us push our wares and let the world know what we have to sell.

There is a very placid atmosphere in the House this evening and we all seem to be agreed that something should be done for the congested areas and for the Gaeltacht. I do not intend to say anything controversial and certainly I do not intend to say anything derogatory of the Opposition Party. I was very interested to hear Deputy Blowick referring to towns like Louisburgh, Newport, Ballinrobe and Westport. I agree wholeheartedly with him that every effort should be made to provide worthwhile employment in those towns.

At the same time I believe that the schemes are there, notably under the Undeveloped Areas Act, and to some extent it must be the duty of a public representative to try to whet the appetite of important business people and other people with money in towns such as those mentioned. Personally I intend to do everything I can to bring before the notice of those people the necessity for making as great an effort as possible at the present time. The need for increased production is acute. The need for providing increased employment is self-evident. In many respects the Government can only go a certain distance and they must leave it to local initiative to go the rest of the way. Possibly an energetic public representative would be the right link to bring both the Government and local initiative together in order to achieve something worth while.

One of the chief functions of the Parliamentary Secretary is that of coordination. I must admit that I would not like the job of tackling one Department after another and I would not relish the job of tackling a body like the Land Commission in order to prevail on them to change their minds and either speed up or slow down, as the case may be. I do not intend to attack the Land Commission. I know that they are faced with great difficulties but I do sincerely hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will be able to use his good offices with the Land Commission in relation to the rearrangement of rundale holdings. While the tenants are waiting for the Land Commission to make up their minds in that respect they cannot obtain either a Gaeltacht grant or an ordinary local government housing grant for the purpose of providing accommodation for themselves. Many of these people—many of them live in my own constituency—are faced with the problem that they badly need accommodation but are unable to provide themselves with that accommodation until such time as the Land Commission make up their minds what they intend to do. I would urge on the Parliamentary Secretary the necessity for tackling the Land Commission in relation to that matter. He will earn the undying gratitude of many of the people in County Mayo, particularly the poorer people, if he succeeds in bringing about some action.

At this stage it might be well to say—there is nothing controversial in it—that I have not heard one single word of criticism from the Opposition Benches as to the behaviour of the Parliamentary Secretary during his visit to the congested districts and the Gaeltacht areas. Had there been any suggestion of Party politics or any favouritism shown by him towards those who support the Fianna Fáil Party that would very soon have become known to the Opposition and they would have made use of it. The mere fact that there was not even a whisper of a suggestion in that respect is in itself a great tribute to the Parliamentary Secretary and proves beyond doubt the attitude that he adopted when he went down the country to meet the local people. He went down to study their problems at first hand, to find out in the very best way how to tackle those problems and how to solve them. In meeting the people he met the representatives of all sorts of groups and societies and of all shades of political thought. I believe that is the proper method and I hope that is the method the Parliamentary Secretary will continue to use.

While travelling up and down the country, particularly in Mayo and Galway, the Parliamentary Secretary must on occasion have travelled over some of the less important roads. If he did, he must have reflected on the necessity for providing money for their improvement. County Mayo has an enormous road mileage. It is not possible to provide enough money to repair the roads in that county without striking a rate which would cast an intolerable burden on the ratepaying community. Indeed, in some cases these roads would need to be dug up and new foundations put in. I made representations to the county engineer in relation to some of these roads. He proved conclusively to me that the money available to him and to the county council was wholly insufficient. If I remember rightly, last year and the year before the county engineer published a notice in the local Press at the end of which he stated that the rapidly deteriorating road system showed every sign of continuing to get worse.

There are all sorts of human problems bound up with the condition of the roads in areas like South Mayo. There is the problem of the sick person who needs the ministrations of the priest or the doctor. Generally these people find, when they answer the call, that they can only go a certain distance in their cars and they must travel the rest of the way on foot over pot-holes that are full of water in wet weather. Speed in certain cases may make all the difference between life and death and it seems a pity that a few thousand pounds one way or the other should make such a grave difference even to one single individual. I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will be able to bring that particular problem within the scope of his activities. If his activities produce a solution he will render an unparalleled service to the congested areas.

Unfortunately, in the rural areas people were inclined to reject the extension of the electricity supply in the beginning. Many people, because of an inherent conservatism, felt they were getting along all right with paraffin oil and they felt that the cost of installing electricity and paying the subsequent capital charges of one kind or another would be altogether too heavy. They did not know what they were letting themselves in for in relation to electricity, whereas they knew to a penny what it cost them to run their houses on paraffin oil. When the original canvass was made, therefore, many areas did not reach the required percentage and had to be by-passed by the Electricity Supply Board. Now the people in these areas have seen the enormous advantages attaching to electricity and they are beginning to change their minds and to clamour for the extension of the supply to them.

In any case in which I have applied to the Electricity Supply Board appealing for a new canvass in a particular area or the extension of the scheme to two or three houses in an area that has already been decided upon I have always met with the greatest courtesy and the board has always been prompt in its response to my request. I feel I should say that because semi-State bodies are, as a rule, inclined to be somewhat autocratic in their views and methods. Whatever disagreement we may have with the board in relation to the actual cost of electricity consumed it cannot be said that they are not an extremely courteous body with which to deal.

I am sure the Parliamentary Secretary has had the experience I have had. If he is interested I am quite prepared to supply a list of areas where the Electricity Supply Board failed to obtain a sufficient number of applicants on its first canvass and where to-day I am morally certain they would now find a sufficient number willing to have electricity installed. I appeal to him to take the matter up with the board in order to bring about an extension of the scheme to these areas.

The Parliamentary Secretary referred to the glasshouse scheme. We all know that that scheme has proved successful. Unfortunately it does not apply to County Mayo, and candidly I can see no reason why it should not be extended to that county. It is always an advantage to have quick results and a quick return for outlay. If the scheme were extended to Mayo I am sure it would be as successful there as it has been in the other areas.

I do not claim that there is anything very original in what I have said. Certainly there is no originality in saying that the answer to the problems of counties like Mayo is industrialisation. The basic problem is, of course, paucity of land. No matter what rearrangement is done, no matter what acquisition or division is carried out, there is not enough land to go around. In every household there are two, three or four surplus sons and daughters. These are the people who are forced to emigrate in present circumstances, and these are the people who will continue to emigrate until such time as employment is provided for them at home. Where these young people live near a sizable town there is no reason why they should not be able to look forward in the very near future to finding employment in a local factory. There is no reason why even in the remoter areas they should not also be able to look forward in the near future to finding employment through an extension of afforestation and other schemes.

That is the way in which the problems of those people will be solved. I hope that the day is fast approaching when we will find proof one way or the other of Deputy Blowick's statement that the vast majority of our people do not want to leave this country. I believe that in the main he is right and that the very high percentage of the people who leave would prefer to stay at home and find employment here. I am looking forward to the time when we shall be able to look back and say that the people of Ireland, when given a choice, chose Ireland rather than anywhere else in which to live and, when we can say that, we can also add that they made the right choice.

Ní raibh rún agam chur isteach ar an dá Mheastachán seo atá anois os comhair na Dála. Is Vóta é atá antábhachtach do mhuintir na Gaeltachta, iad sin a choinníos teanga na hÉireann agus nósanna Gael beo sa tír seo.

Ba mhaith liom ar dtúis comhghairdeachas a dhéanamh leis an Rúnaí Parlaiminte as an obair mhaith atá déanta aige agus atá á dhéanamh ó ghlac sé seilbh ar an Oifig. Tá muintir na Gaeltachta an-tsásta leis an obair atá déanta aige. Tá súil agam go raghaidh an obair sin ar aghaidh go maith agus go gcuideoidh sé go mór le saol na ndaoine sa Gaeltacht.

Tá muid uilig ar aon intinn gur ceist chasta, ceist speisialta, ceist na Gaeltachta agus, más rud é go bhfuil sábháil le déanamh ar a muintir, ar a teanga Gaeilge agus ar nósanna na nGael, na rudaí is tábhachtaí i saol na hÉireann, caithfimid iarracht a dhéanamh ar an cheist a réiteach gan mhoill. Tá fhios againn uilig conas atá an saol sa chuid sin den tír, idir an Ghaeltacht agus na Ceantracha Cúnga.

Is mór an trua gur in Alban agus i Sasana atá na tionscail ina bhfuil aos óg na Gaeltachta ag obair agus go bhfuil an imirce ag leanúint bliain i ndiaidh bliana. Táimse den bharúil go bhfuil an Rialtas náisiúnta chun deireadh a chur leis an scéal sin. Má tá airgead le fáil, be cheart don Rialtas tionscail a chur ar bun sa Ghaeltacht a choinneos na buachailli óga agus na cailiní óga sa bhaile. Tá muintir na Gaeltachta den bharúil go bhfuil an t-am ann anois chun rud a dhéanamh chun iad a choinneáil sa bhaile.

Nuair a toghadh an Teachta Ó Loingsigh mar Rúnaí Parlaiminte agus nuair a ghlac sé seilbh ar an Oifig, bhí lúcháir sa Ghaeltacht nó bhí fhios againn go raibh eolas aige sin ar na nithe atá de dhíth ar na daoine sna ceantracha sin. Tá muid den bharúil go ndéanfaidh sé a dhícheall le slí bheatha a thabhairt do na daoine sna cheantracha cúnga agus sa Ghaeltacht.

Tá mórán le déanamh agus, mar dúirt mé ar dtúis, ceist chasta an cheist seo agus ní i mbliain amháin a réiteoimid na ceisteanna atá le socrú sa Ghaeltacht. Tig leis an Rúnaí Parlaiminte mórán a dhéanamh agus tá mé cinnte go ndéanfaidh sé é ach tá eagla orm ná bhfaighidh sé an cuidiú ba cheart dó fháil ó na Ranna eile.

Tháinig an Rúnaí Parlaiminte do Ghaeltacht Thír Chonaill agus hinseadh dhó na nithe a bhí de dhíth orainn tríd an cheantar agus tríd an chontae go léir. Do hinseadh dhó cad ba cheart dó a dhéanamh ach sé mo thuairimse, nuair d'fhill sé go Baile Átha Cliath agus nuair chuir sé na pointí roimh na Ranna Rialtais eile go raibh barúil eile acu sin agus go mbeidh sé deacair dhó dul ar aghaidh leis na scéimeanna atá ina intinn. B'fhéidir go bhfuil mé contráilte agus tá súil agam go bhfuil.

Tá súil agam go mbeidh an Rúnaí Parlaiminte ábalta tús a chur le tionscail úra a chuideos leis na daoine sa dóigh ba mhaith leo. Tá muid buíoch de as scéim leictreachais a thabhairt don Ghaeltacht i nGaoth Dobháir, scéim a bheireas obair do na céadtaí sa pharóiste sin.

Ba mhaith liom pointe eile a chur roimh an Rúnaí Parlaiminte, sé sin, tionscal a chur ar bun le gaineamh na Mucaise a oibriú sa bhaile in áit é a chur anonn go Sasana mar tá muid a dhéanamh le mórán blianta. Sílim go bhfuil an t-am anois ann le é oibriú sa bhaile agus obair a thabhairt do na buachaillí óga.

Tá móran ceist agam ach gheobhaidh mé seans iad sin a thógaint ar na Meastacháin eile.

There is very little one can say on this Estimate because it is only a very short time since this whole matter was discussed on the Undeveloped Areas Bill. I think that almost everything that could be said was said on that occasion. Since the passing of that Bill, however, very little progress has been made in the West of Ireland. I said on that occasion that I did not feel that the Bill would meet with success because, while I recognise and appreciate the importance of private enterprise, I also appreciate the magnitude of the problem that exists in the West of Ireland. As I said then, I believe that private enterprise will not be able to solve the problem as we know it in many counties in Connaught. I am in full agreement with Deputy Seán Flanagan in hoping for a brighter and better future for the West of Ireland. He is a comparatively young man, however, and I venture to prophesy that if he is here for the next 20 years he will still be rising on one or other side of this House hoping for a brighter future for the West of Ireland. If we are only to deal with it in the manner provided for in that Bill and with the limited capital which we are prepared to make available, we can hardly expect that the problem as we know it will be altered very much as a result of it. We will still have the emigration which has been taking place and the poverty which has existed there for a long number of years. In Mayo, and I suppose parts of Galway, Sligo, Donegal and Kerry, the people are getting out pretty quickly.

I am sure that the Parliamentary Secretary and the large number of his colleagues on the Government side of the House who traversed the length and breadth of North Mayo during the past few weeks and paid visits to almost every hamlet in that constituency have become very conversant with the situation as it exists there. If their presence there served no other purpose than to enlighten them in regard to the problem that exists there it was well worth while having a by-election. I met quite a number of Deputies from the Midlands and elsewhere during the course of that campaign and they were amazed and bewildered and wondered how the people can exist there. I am sure they will be able now to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to be more realistic and to bring pressure upon his colleagues in the Government to be more realistic in dealing with the problem and that, privately or publicly, they will convey to them that the sum allocated is not at all sufficient to ease the situation which exists.

I do not believe that any member of the Government or even the simplest of the back benchers believes that there is any hope for the future so far as removal of the conditions as we know them in the West of Ireland is concerned. There is scarcely a townland in the whole of Mayo in which you will not find four, five, and as many as ten holdings closed—windows shuttered and doors barred, and the occupants gone to England, America and elsewhere. They lived in hope that something would be done over a period of 30 years and now they have lost hope. The only persons who have not lost hope are the members of this House. On both sides we still keep hoping. We must have great confidence. It is said that faith without hope is lost, so we must have faith and hope when we hope something will be done.

Faith is strong in this House.

It must be very strong. If the Parliamentary Secretary thinks that the Act which passed through the Oireachtas some time ago and his statement on this Estimate are going to solve the problem in the West of Ireland, he is a very innocent man. He has as much sense now as we can ever expect him to have and I am sure he realises now that he is only playing with the problem, like a baby who gets a toy to keep him quiet. These are just little sops which we hand over to the people thinking they will ease the situation.

I believe that the situation in the West of Ireland calls for State intervention and large expenditure of capital. If that is not forthcoming, I can see only one solution—it is a solution which we can see without going to the trouble of carrying out a survey—the exodus of the people from Mayo and from counties where similar conditions exist. When you talk to these people, they will tell you: "The problem will soon solve itself because if you live another 20 years, you will not see many chimneys smoking in this district. We will have gone, and, if we had any sense, we would have gone long ago, but we thought that an Irish Government would rise to the occasion and do something". They have now come to the conclusion—and I do not blame them—that there is no future for them and that they must seek their livelihood elsewhere rather than hope for assistance from any Government since the establishment of this Dáil.

I know that the advocating of State interference or State enterprise is not very welcome to certain sections but every public man has the right to express his own feelings and opinions. I would be much better pleased if private enterprise was prepared to face up to its responsibilities—it might be better—but when private enterprise is not prepared to do it, it falls on the shoulders of the State and of the Government to try to provide the remedy. That remedy must be the provision of suitable employment.

The manufacture of dolls and toys may give a certain amount of employment, but it is mainly girls or boys of 16 and 18 years of age who are employed in that industry and the wages in the industry are not very remunerative. Furthermore, it is an industry which depends mainly on the home market—I am not sure whether we have an export market for these articles—but notwithstanding the fact that it depends on the home market, if one goes into any of the big stores in Dublin—and I assume the same applies to Cork and other large centres—one finds that many of these toys are imported from abroad and are very expensive. A young nephew of mine who was up here recently went into a certain store and fell for a certain toy. He priced it and found that it was something over £6—for a toy that you could carry under your arm. That is ridiculous. That toy was manufactured for the very well-to-do and I do not know that anybody would be foolish enough to spend £6 on a toy. If anybody were so foolish it is obvious that he or she must have plenty of money to throw away and I hold the view that such articles should be well taxed.

Therefore the market for the toy industry is limited, and even if we did rigidly control the importation of toys we can only look forward to a limited number of people being employed in the industry. If we could provide employment—manual labour—for males it would be much preferable. That is what is required in the West. We talk here about the defence of Ireland and the building up of an army when we cannot produce even a shotgun. In rural Ireland everything said here is scrutinised very carefully. It may be thought that the people in rural Ireland are a simple kind of folk but there is nothing simple about them and when one goes amongst them it is surprising what one can learn and how they weigh up what is said here.

That is one industry which, if we are to maintain an army, we could very well have here. We must have equipment for our Army. There is no use in equipping them with popguns of the type we played with as boys; we should try to produce our own arms, or a certain amount of them at any rate. That is one industry which, if ever brought into being, should be situated in the West of Ireland, and preferably in my own county, because a lot of the men who emigrated from 1939 to the present time became skilled in the production of certain instruments and equipment for war. It would be easy to avail of these men with knowledge and training and they could train those who remained at home and who would be prepared to take up employment.

We only assemble our bicycles here. I think we have reached the position that we should be able to make them. That would be a very valuable asset and would give considerable employment.

There are many deposits, I am sure, in the West of Ireland which, if examined and exploited, would give employment to the menfolk. It is all very well to provide work for women. I am not against it but I must point out that when a man marries he can hardly expect his wife to go on earning. That duty falls on him. If he has no work to go to the alternative is that he must do the housework while she goes out to the local toy factory, knitting industry or one of the other small industries which exist in the West of Ireland. For that reason I would urge that whatever money is invested, whatever industries are developed, the work should be undertaken with a view to providing employment for the men.

The Parliamentary Secretary has stated that he had reason to visit many areas and I am sure that he has acquired more knowledge during the past five or six months than he had at the time of the introduction of the Undeveloped Areas Bill. He knows towns like Charlestown, Kiltimagh, Ballyhaunis, Claremorris and Kilkelly. There is a very big rural population around them. When we bring people from Mayo to Dublin to hospital, on business or for some other reason, the remark they make about the towns in the Midlands is: "How poor they are."

They say that there are cobwebs in the windows and that the things they show for sale have not been moved for years. The reason is that there is no population around these towns like Kilbeggan, Moate and the others through which you pass. There is very little business there. There is a rural community around these towns in Mayo however, which have kept them going over the years but it is beginning to dwindle. The people are beginning to go away. They see that they have been wasting time and energy crossing to England or even to America. They say:

"We cannot exactly agree with our forefathers that when we go to America we should come back, settle down and let the children go. If we have made some capital in England or America we should make our home there." That is a new idea which has crept in over the past 20 years. Twenty-five or 30 years ago Irish emigrants to England or America came back and settled in their home place but that is not done to-day. They remain in America. That is the big loss. That causes the danger that the rural population will dwindle. It is dwindling and it will dwindle fast unless we wake up to our responsibility and the Government recognise that they have a duty. They should not put that responsibility on individuals, on people who have capital at their disposal but who are not anxious to invest it. The people will move if the State does not move and move rapidly.

Many things could be done, drainage, afforestation and road construction for example. There should be a close survey of mineral deposits in the West of Ireland. I do not believe for a moment that Ireland was created minus mineral resources. I believe that there are mineral resources in the West as well as in any other part. If a survey were carried out I am sure that deposits would be discovered which would be very valuable and would help greatly to build up industries. I do not believe that any real survey was ever carried out with that motive and sooner or later some Government must do that.

We should not permit the continual drain of Irish boys to England to do many of the things which are required here, such as the construction of roads. The Parliamentary Secretary has been down in North Mayo. Some of your colleagues have been there. I met Deputy Bartley and Deputy Beegan in Belmullet.

The Deputy should address the Chair.

I am sure that the Parliamentary Secretary found it very uncomfortable to travel on some of these roads. They are very badly constructed and are very narrow. In many places two cars could not pass with any degree of safety. This is particularly true around Achill, Mulranny and Louisburgh. These are spots which we try to advertise in our tourist bulletins. We invite people to spend their holidays there but the roads are appallingly bad. The men who emigrate are building roads in England. The English Government think it pays to give them a good weekly wage to do these things but we do not think it pays. It might not pay dividends immediately but over a period of years it definitely would.

That is one point on which I disagree with the present Government. They maintain that unless a development programme pays dividends on the spot it should not be undertaken. That is where we clash. Almost every Party on this side of the House differs from the Government in office on that. Afforestation, road construction, drainage, land rehabilitation and housing do not immediately produce dividends or reimburse the State for the capital investment but in years to come they definitely would. In the first instance they would hold young men at home. Remember that that would mean an increase in the consumption of goods and, naturally, an increase in the production of goods accordingly. I mean consumption of goods in every sense of the word—the things they wear, the things they eat and everything else. Unless some such effort is made you cannot have increased production on the one hand, or capital to outlay on the other, because eventually there will be nobody from whom you can secure capital, nobody to tax. As the population dwindles and taxes increase the number of shoulders left to bear the taxes is decreasing, and we must wake up to our responsibility.

I have been surprised for a considerable time that the Parliamentary Secretary had not something more concrete to offer us, something more encouraging to present to the House. One felt on the introduction of the Undeveloped Areas Bill that in a comparatively short time one would see wonderful changes. The changes are yet to come. It is like the old slogan about prosperity around the corner. I think that the time has come when the prosperity should show itself and not wait around the corner all the time. It is because it remains around the corner that the people are going away.

Before concluding I would again stress the importance of the towns I have mentioned. It is rumoured—how truly I do not know—that two or three industries are about to be opened, one in Swinford, one in Kiltimagh and one in Ballyhaunis. When the Parliamentary Secretary is concluding I would like him to verify that rumour. If he has any knowledge he should tell us whether these industries will materialise or not. During the election campaign we were told that there were at least six industries, if my memory serves me right, about to come into existence in the North Mayo constituency. I met a very interesting Fianna Fáil supporter during the election campaign, one of those broad-minded men that you do not often find in the Fianna Fáil ranks, who can crack a joke now and again. He said to me: "Is it not a pity that another Deputy would not die in Mayo so that we would get six more industries?" That was the way he looked at it. It took the death of one Deputy for the people there to be told that there were six new industries about to spring up in the area so if another one died, according to what this man said, we would probably be told of six other industries.

Have you any intention yourself of obliging?

This man said: "If another Deputy died we would get 12 industries and that would help to keep at home thousands of young men and young women who are at present emigrating." It was really a sensible argument. I do not believe, of course, that these industries are likely to exist anywhere except in the election promises and anybody who looks at Dublin Opinion this week knows what they think about election promises. All I have to say is that, so far as we are concerned on this side of the House, the Parliamentary Secretary will get whatever co-operation he deserves or requires in my constituency in particular. We shall do anything we can to encourage people with private capital to use it in the best interests of the community but, as I have said already, if all the private capital available in South or North Mayo were placed at the disposal of the Government, that in itself would be insignificant in comparison with what is required to meet the situation. As the Parliamentary Secretary knows the situation is rather serious.

Reference was made here to marine works, piers and harbours. I am sure the Parliamentary Secretary has already carried out a survey of the piers in Achill and Blacksod areas and that he realises that they have been neglected over a period of years. The county council did not see its way to accept responsibility for the maintenance or repair of these piers and the Department of Agriculture or Fisheries did not want to take on the responsibility either. They are shifting the responsibility from one to the other. With that shifting of responsibility, neglect has continued and deterioration to a great extent has set in. There is a very large population all round that area, particularly around Achill. The people are sea-minded and interested in fishing but they are given very little, if any, encouragement. No trawlers, no fishing equipment, no piers or no assistance, good, bad or indifferent, have been forthcoming from this or any other Government over a period of years.

I would direct the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary to the matter because I have no doubt that if the fishing industry were properly developed it would provide a large amount of employment and become a very prosperous industry. We could even secure an export market, apart from supplying the needs of the home market. A very prominent local business man, Mr. Sweeney, has gone a long way towards developing the industry in Achill area, and with a little encouragement and some State aid further development in that direction could take place. People of that kind should get assistance and if the State stepped in and repaired these piers and provided local fishermen with essential equipment in order to ensure their safety, the industry would flourish. I have said to-night, and I said it before on the occasion of the debate on the Undeveloped Areas Bill, that private enterprise, while I welcome it and while it is essential in the life of any democratic State for the development of industries such as we are considering here, is not of itself sufficient. There is grave need for the State to step in with a view to solving this problem, which is not something which has arisen to-day or yesterday. It is a problem that has a history extending over 100 years back.

Nuair a chloisim daoine ag caint faoin Ghaeltacht, cuireann sé iontas orm chomh haineolach agus atá siad. Anois táimid ag caint anseo le cúig uaire a chloig agus arís deirim go sílim nach bhfuil ár gcroithe i gceist na Gaeltachta agus na gceanntar gcúng. Tá baint agamsa leis an nGaeltacht ar feadh mo shaoil agus ní féidir liom a rá go bhfuil muintir na Gaeltachta sásta ar chor ar bith leis an méid oibre atá déanta againne ar a son.

Deir daoine liomsa: "Céard is féidir a dhéanamh?" Sé an rud a mholaimse go mbeadh Roinn ar leith, gan dream ná Roinn ar bith eile ag cur isteach ar an obair. Má tá tusa nó aon duine eile ag cur gob isteach anseo agus gob isteach ansiúd, tá tú ag cur as do dhuine éigin. Is áit ar leith í an Ghaeltacht agus ní ceart go mbeadh duine ar bith ag cur a ghob isteach anseo ná ansiúd. Sin má táimid dáiríre i dtaobh na Gaeltachta. Mar sin, ba mhaith liomsa an moladh sin a dhéanamh ar dtúis, go mbeadh Roinn ar leith agus scéimeanna ar leith don Ghaeltacht.

Anois, déarfaidh daoine liomsa: "Céard iad na scéimeanna a mhalfá?" Tar éis dul ar fud na tíre le tríocha bliain anuas, ag breathnú thart agus ag scrúdú chuile thaobh den tír, mura bhfuil scéimeanna anois againn ní bheidh siad againn go deo. Sé sin le rá gur fánach an rud é dúinne bheith ag caint anois faoi dhream eile a chur amach chun scrúdú eile a dhéanamh. Mura bhfuil scrúdú déanta anois, tá sé chomh maith dúinn é fhágáil díreach mar atá sé.

Tá fhios agam go ndeachaigh an Rúnaí Parlaiminte thart. Bhí sé thíos againne. Tá fhios agam go ndearna sé obair fir, go ndearna sé a dhícheall, agus oifigigh in éineacht leis. Chaith mé laethanta leo i gConamara. Tá súil againn go dtiocfaidh tairbhe as na laethanta sin. Go dtí seo, níor tháinig. Más rud é go dtáinig, ní fhaca mise í agus ní fhaca muinntir na Gaeltachta í. B'fhéidir go bhfuil sé ar an mbóthar ach tá faitíos orm nach mairfidh an capall an fhaid a bheas an féar ag fás. Tá gach duine ag caint faoin nGaeltacht —an Ghaeilge a shábháil agus "Níl dream ar bith mar mhuintir na Gaeltachta." Measaim go minic nach bhfuilimid dáiríre faoid sin ar chor ar bith. Tagann Teachtaí as Baile Átha Cliath agus chuile áit eile sa tír go dtí an Teach seo ach bhí mé ag breathnú thart anseo anois. Má táimid dáiríre faoin nGaeltacht, cá bhfuil na Teachtaí sin inniu? Táimid ag caint faoin nGaeltacht—agus mar sin d'imigh siad—sin é an chaoi a bhfuil sé. Deireann siad: "Tá antsuim againn sa nGaeltacht; tiocfaimid ansin ar ár laethe saoire."

Molaim go ndéanfar rud fónta don Ghaeltacht. Tá na scéimeanna againn. Fuaireamar an t-eolas. Tá scéimeanna na h-aoibhléise, scéimeanna na dtrátaí agus eile. Tá bóithre agus gach rud ag teastáil uainn agus sílim anois go mba ceart dúinn bualadh amach chun iad a dhéanamh. Ba cheart go mbeadh ár Roinn féin againn gan aon bhaint aici le Roinn ar bith eile. Ba cheart scéimeanna ar leith a bhunú. Má dhéanaimid sin, beidh rud éigin déanta againn in ionad bheith a rá go bhfuilimid ag sábháil na Gaeltachta agus ag tabhairt cúnamh do mhuintir na Gaeltachta.

B'fhéidir go bhfuil Teachtaí anseo agus go n-abróidh siad go bhfuil an Ghaeltacht ag fáil an jomarca. Is féidir linn airgead a sholáthar do Chóras Iompair Éireann agus eile, ach má tá ceist na Gaeltachta ann tá an t-airgead chomh gann lena bhfaca tú riamh. Caithfimid bheith ar aon intinn faoi seo. Caithfimid a rá—gach taobh den Teach seo—go bhfuilimid dáiríre faoi na scéimeanna seo a bhaineas leis an nGaeltacht. Níor luaigh mé ach cúpla ceann. Má táimid dáiríre, níl bealach ar bith as ach an obair a sholáthar ar an bpointe. Tá sé ag teastáil go géar mar tá daoine ag imeacht as an nGaeltacht faoi lá thair.

Sul a suím síos, déarfaidh mé aon fhocal amháin: tá súil agam nach ligfidh an Rúnaí Parlaiminte síos sinn san Iarthar ar chuma ar bith.

The Parliamentary Secretary is to be congratulated on this Estimate. It is the first one of its kind that he has brought before the Dáil, and I hope it will be followed by others of a much fuller character. The thing that struck me most here to-night was the unanimity there was in a great deal of what was said by Deputy Blowick, Deputy Lynch, Deputy Cafferky and the last speaker. When I was a young man I went, year after year, to the Gaeltacht, and the colleges which I attended most frequently were Ballingeary and Ballyvourney. I also attended colleges in the Western Gaeltacht. I found those areas collectively, simply a wellspring of the Irish language. I am sorry to have to admit that that wellspring is drying up. Recently, I read the comments of a Bishop who gave confirmation to a mere handful of people in one of these Gaeltacht areas in which he regretted the falling-off in the population there.

When we are dealing with the congested districts and with the Gaeltacht, I think it is right for us to ask ourselves: "Who are going out of the country? Who are coming into the country and what language is making progress in the country?" I am afraid that the Irish language is dying out in the country. I believe firmly that only in the strengthening of the Gaeltacht, and in the extension of the Gaeltacht area, lies any hope for the revival of Irish as the spoken language of this country. I was reported recently in some newspaper, quite wrongly, of course, as saying that Irish should not be taught as a living language. Of course, it should be. It still, thank God, is a living language. Where it is the living language the whole education should be given through the medium of Irish. If that is done, and if the people can be kept in these areas and if these areas can be extended in a natural manner, then there is hope for the revival of the language.

The people are not flying from the Gaeltacht areas by choice. They are leaving of necessity. That is a process that has gone on since long before we had a native Government at all, but I think most of us had hoped when we got a native Government some 30 years ago that that process of decay would stop, and that there would be an immense revival. I am sorry to say that hope has not been fulfilled.

The people, as I have said, do not leave these areas by choice. They are simply forced to go, to find a way of living where there are industries and openings for employment. Great numbers, of course, are flocking and have been flocking now for decades, across to Britain. The flow to America is not so great, but the flow to Dublin has been very considerable. I think if these people come to Dublin that, in a generation or so, even a purely Irish speaking family will lose the Irish language as the medium for the ordinary transmission of thought.

I believe that the revival of the language merely through the schools is an artificial sort of revival. We have young boys and girls leaving school with quite a good knowledge of Irish. If they had Irish surroundings they would remain Irish speakers and become more perfect in the use of the language. But what if the reverse happens? That is why I would make a strong plea for the establishment of industries in the Gaeltacht areas. I know, of course, that there are difficulties there, difficulties with regard to staffing, possibly, and difficulties in regard to transport. I know a town that is not 100 miles from here that is happy enough to have four or five factories. The proprietors of some of those factories send cars out to collect the workers and bring them in to work. Take Ballingeary, for instance, which is quite a small village, and Ballyvourney, a few miles from it, which is also quite a small village. About 30 years ago you had a good sprinkling of a population around there, and those people could have been brought into a central industry if one were established there.

If industries are established they should be, I think, industries of a staple kind. I know that the powers of the Parliamentary Secretary may not permit of that being done but I suggest that the Parliamentary Secretary could use his influence, as I am sure he will, with the various Departments to forward this idea of establishing industries in Irish centres manned by Irish people and controlled by Irish people.

I am very uneasy when I think of what may happen when Britain relaxes her munitions drive and reverts to civilian production. I am very unhappy when I think what may occur in the United States. We may have tens of thousands of our people dumped back on us once these countries revert to civilian production and we have to go into competition with them.

Therefore, I regard some of our industries as possibly not an unmixed blessing for the country. If they are industries that just serve the needs of nations that are up to their eyes in preparation for war and in the production of war material and which will simply fade off the map when that ceases to be the case, a great amount of misery may come to us. These may be industries which are giving very quick and profitable returns, but they may leave a tremendous vacuum, as it were, at any time when other countries may find it convenient not to take these products from us. For that reason I should like to see in all places such industries as would supply our own people. I should like to see them concentrating, particularly in the Gaeltacht areas, on the establishment of permanent industries for the production of goods for our own people, industries which would survive when the world becomes normal, because it is very abnormal at the present time.

I agree with Deputy Flanagan in the plea he made that the Land Commission should be stirred up because undoubtedly agriculture is the foundation of the wealth of this country. The greater the number of people we can keep on the land the better. The more breaking up of estates into economic holdings—I do not mean large economic holdings—the better, as more people will be kept on the land in the congested districts and throughout the country. I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will use all his influence to bring these things about for the good of the country.

I was amused to hear Deputy Cafferky denouncing the Parliamentary Secretary and his programme and describing his statements during the recent election as propaganda. He finished by appealing to the Parliamentary Secretary to do something for his district in Mayo. It was very amusing to me to hear him denounce the whole programme and the Parliamentary Secretary's work as propaganda and at the same time trying to get the Parliamentary Secretary to do something for his own district. That does not show any sincerity. It is evident that these people are jealous of the Parliamentary Secretary's work so far as the Gaeltacht and the congested districts are concerned. He forgot that this is the first time in the history of this country that any Government thought fit to appoint a Parliamentary Secretary specially in the interests of the Gaeltacht and the congested districts.

I have great hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will do good work. He has already broken through the red tape, as we will call it, as between the different Departments and the Gaeltacht. I am referring now to Gaeltacht housing. We have had some difficulty in getting matters expedited but quite recently there has been an improvement. We have also had difficulty in regard to turf production and the sale of turf. There, again, the Parliamentary Secretary and his officials assisted the people whom I represent in the Kerry Gaeltacht. Nothing has been done for 30 years to help the people in the Ballin-skelligs Gaeltacht, and I now ask the Parliamentary Secretary to give us a scheme similar to the tomato-growing scheme which was designed for other Gaeltacht districts. Certainly we are entitled to consideration in that respect.

Several speakers have mentioned piers. County Kerry has a very long coastline. Over a number of years we have had occasion to appeal time and again to the Board of Works for the repair and construction of piers and landing places there for fishermen and for small farmers who utilise those piers for the haulage of sand, seaweed and so forth. I am confident that the Parliamentary Secretary will cut through this red tape so far as the Board of Works is concerned.

Apart altogether from the industrial side of development and from what the Parliamentary Secretary can do about establishing industries in the Gaeltacht and congested districts, he can do great work if he can succeed—as I believe he will—in being the intermediary between the people and these Departments. I believe he will cut through this system of red tape which has been in operation for generations and which has made it impossible for any Government to do the right thing by the people whom we represent. We have been appealing to the Board of Works for the past 20 years to repair the piers and harbours and landing places in County Kerry. I made those appeals myself since I first represented the people in my constituency and others before me did likewise. Engineers have been sent down to those places in the course of the past 20 years but nothing further has been done and probably nothing further will be done for another 20 years. The co-ordination of the services which will be under the Parliamentary Secretary's control will bring about a great improvement. I believe that the system will be simplified in such a way that some schemes can be sanctioned at a very early date. That is all I have to say in appreciation of what has been done and of what I believe will be done in the future.

There is no use in deluding ourselves into thinking that a Parliamentary Secretary or a Government can do wonders inside six or 12 months. Some of the schemes to which I have referred have been under consideration by previous Governments for the past 15 or 20 years. It would be unreasonable and ridiculous for anybody to expect that a Parliamentary Secretary or a Government can come in now and readjust the position and make satisfactory decisions and meet the requirements of the people inside a year or two.

The people realise that it will be next to impossible to do that but they also realise, from the evidence they have of the work which has been done even in the past six months, that the outlook for the future is brighter than it has been and they have great hope in Deputy Lynch. As I have said, he has visited the districts in question. He has come back and tried to simplify this system. On behalf of the people of South Kerry whom I represent I should like him to persist in his endeavours no matter how great the obstacles. We are aware that there are serious obstacles in regard to some of these Departments and to their attitude to the Gaeltacht and the congested districts. Some of the civil servants do not really know what the Gaeltacht is like. They may go down there for a holiday for a few days or so. That is all they know of the hardships of the people in the Gaeltacht areas. It is only by close contact and persistence that we can do good work for those people and I am confident that the Parliamentary Secretary will do it.

Mr. Lynch

As was inevitable the debate ranged over rather a wide field of subjects. So far as I can, I will try to answer some of the main points made by the speakers. Listening to this debate, apart altogether from knowing the problem, it is evident that a solution of the problem of the Gaeltacht and the congested areas cannot be evolved in one simple formula. I believe there is no one solution and that by means of various State activities and private enterprise the rehabilitation of the Gaeltacht and the congested areas generally can be brought about.

I think Deputies on the other side of the House, in particular, were rather confused with regard to the main function of Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeanntair gCúng. As I said in my opening speech, the primary function of that office is a co-ordinating function. Very often we have heard the complaint that the needs of Gaeltacht areas and of congested districts generally were being submerged in the ordinary administration of the different Departments of State. It was, possibly, a natural development that the problems of areas where the population was not as big as in other areas might not be brought to the surface as often as they should be and that the needs of those areas, while not forgotten, might be neglected to a large extent. It was for that reason that my office was set up. I can safely say that I and the members of the office staff are pursuing our duties energetically and I can also say, with some justification, with good results. It is inevitable, by the very nature of the duties, that the tangible results are not seen through the work of the office per se. The office has no executive function. In many directions the work of other Departments has been speeded up and has been enlarged in order to meet the needs of these Gaeltacht areas. I now come to deal with some of the points made by speakers. The first speaker who contributed to the debate was Deputy McMenamin. He opened in a rather jeering fashion, a lead which, fortunately, was not followed by any of the other speakers. I must at this stage say how grateful I am to the other Deputies—and to Deputy McMenamin in so far as he tried to be constructive —for the manner in which they approached this debate. They appreciated that there were many problems —problems which were not easy of solution. They appreciated that overnight difficulties and hardships, which were the fruit of centuries of oppression, could not be solved. When I say “overnight” I refer to the fact that the office has been set up only one year. It is less than eight months since the Supplementary Estimate was introduced in the House which set up the office officially.

Deputy McMenamin read from what he described as a "circular" or "pamphlet". He must have come very hastily briefed into the House when he referred to that statement as a "circular" or "pamphlet". It was no such thing. If he had made proper inquiries he would have discovered that it was a translation of the opening statement that I made last autumn. It was not intended to be a pamphlet or any formula for what I proposed to do for the solution of the problems with which I was faced.

He quoted several sentences from that statement and referred to several activities which I intended to pursue. He said that, in so far as he could see, there was no evidence whatever that anything could be done in respect of any one of them. He construed them as promises and he said in respect of these promises that there was no performance. I want to say that I at no stage made any promises with regard to what work I hoped to achieve. I was mindful of the difficulties and the magnitude of some of the problems and I was mindful of the fact that they might not be easily solved. For that reason, I did not want to make any promises and I did not want to build up any false hopes in the hearts of the people who were living in these areas. Nevertheless, taking the manner in which Deputy McMenamin presented the statement item by item, I can say here and now that considerable progress has been made in regard to each and every one of the items I referred to in my statement last autumn. For instance, as regards the land project, it must be admitted that there is no diminution of effort by any means in the work of this project. The Department of Agriculture is carrying out that work as energetically as it was done prior to the coming into power of the present Government. In fact, far more work has been done in the 12 months, from the 1st of last June, than had been done in the two years in which the project had been in operation prior to that during the inter-Party Government's term of office.

Let me give an instance of what has been done in that direction. The total of cash grants made available up to the period of 1st June, 1951 amounted to £154,079. From that to 15th April, 1952, the total cash grants paid were £403,889, representing a difference of £249,810. Much of that work was carried out in the Gaeltacht areas. It was carried out at the instance of Oifig na Gaeltachta and as a result of the work of the officers and of the interDepartmental Committee that meets regularly to assist me and the officers of my Department in the carrying out of that work.

With regard to sea fisheries, every Deputy knows that there has been a new Sea Fisheries Act passed through this House. As a natural consequence of that, there is now in contemplation the setting up of at least six proper fishery ports all round the western sea coast. The project with regard to setting up proper ports and landing places was not only aided but, I think I could say with some justification, initiated in my office.

Everybody must appreciate that fishing is necessary for the livelihood of many of the residents of the western seaboard and the provision of equipment is not enough for the proper implementation of the fishery policy. That was realised not only by me but by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture and by the Government. For the first time we are having a co-ordinated approach to the proper establishment of the fishing industry.

At this stage I might say with regard to the work of co-ordination that due to the setting up of the Office of Public Works, which office was charged with the carrying out of marine works generally and due to the demands made upon it by the more important harbours, there was and is at present very little staff available for the carrying out of the smaller type of work to which I referred. It is hoped that, as a result of the interest which is now being taken in the fishery harbours and marine works, very shortly there will be a sufficient increase in the technical staff of the Office of Public Works. Possibly the fishery branch of the Department of Agriculture will have its own technical officials who will be able to plan and undertake the marine works which were hitherto in the hands of the technical staff of the Office of Public Works.

With regard to rural electrification, my office has been in continuous touch with the Electricity Supply Board, pushing forward extensions in the Gaeltacht and congested areas generally and keeping the demands and the needs of these areas forever before the Electricity Supply Board. I can again say with safety that we have achieved some results in that direction too.

The Deputy made some reference to the fact that Gaeltacht services were costing the taxpayer money at the present time and he suggested that it should be put on a sound commercial basis. The Deputy must know that as well as being engaged in a commercial undertaking, Gaeltacht services are also performing a social function. It would be very easy for Gaeltacht services, as a commercial unit, to make far more money than it is at present doing by simply gathering together their outlying small factories and bringing them into one unit centrally situated, but then they would not be performing in that manner the function they were designed to perform. It is necessary to keep these small factories diffused throughout the Gaeltacht generally, and for that reason there is a considerable addition to the cost of running the Gaeltacht services as a commercial undertaking.

Deputies also referred to the fact that a market for seaweed should be found for fertiliser purposes. Unfortunately since the emergency there is no market available except the one that will always be there. I am referring to the utilisation of seaweed for fertiliser purposes on their farms by the ordinary farming community living near the coasts.

Deputy Blowick complained that the statement which I made introducing the Estimate for Oifig na Gaeltachta was not sufficiently comprehensive. The remarks which I applied to Deputy McMenamin's statement also apply to Deputy Blowick's, namely, that, Oifig na Gaeltachta being a co-ordinating office, it is not easy to pinpoint the developments that have taken place.

Deputy Blowick also asked what I was doing as the director of Oifig na Gaeltachta and what the office itself was doing with regard to rundale holdings, forestry activities in remote areas and so forth. I agree that, until the rundale problem is completely solved, there will be very little chance of proper development in the areas where that system operates. It is very difficult for the people in these holdings to take advantage of the ordinary schemes which are operated by the Department of Agriculture and other Departments for the betterment of their livelihoods. The difficulties of title and the various difficulties of any co-ordinated scheme are such that, unless the people who occupy rundale holdings are properly housed and their lands properly striped, there is little likelihood of any improvement being made in their way of life. I think it is necessary to concentrate as much as possible on the solution of that problem, but every Deputy must realise that the problem is not one for the Land Commission, but that the rundale holders themselves must contribute largely to its solution. If there are 19 or 20 landholders in a rundale area and if one or two of them do not co-operate in the solution of the problem or in the striping of the land, it is obvious that it is very difficult for any official to effect desired improvements.

Deputy Blowick was anxious to know what was the cause of the unemployment in some of the knitting centres throughout the country. He particularly instanced Mayo. I am sure the Deputy must know, as everybody in the House and everybody throughout the country who has come to the use of reason must know, that there has been a recession in trade, particularly in the woollen trade, not only in this country but all over the world. It is realised by everybody that that recession must naturally affect the activities of the Gaeltacht Services factories. It was attempted to keep the workers in these factories in full employment throughout 1951. This was achieved even though at the time there was very little clearing of the stocks that were already in hands and of the stocks that were coming as a result of the continued operations of the workers who were retained in full employment. It was obvious at the end of the year that these stocks were not being cleared and that to continue building them up at the rate then in progress would be commercial folly. For that reason a decision was very reluctantly taken to put the workers in some of the Gaeltacht services factories on half-time. It is not correct to say that they were working only for one and a half or two days a week. The fact is that in no case were they working for less than three days per week, or half their normal working time. I feel there is some justification for saying that already there is an easement and that we hope soon to bring the workers as near to full employment as possible.

There is no diminution of employment in the Elly Bay toy factory, although there is certain difficulty being experienced in the marketing of the products of that factory. However, it is not contemplated putting the workers on short time. Workers engaged in the manufacture of handwoven tweeds and in the manufacture of tweeds in the Kilear factory are being maintained in full employment.

As was pointed out by other speakers, we are seeking more markets abroad. Deputies will have noticed that, as a result, there is increased provision in the current Estimate for the advertising of our commodities.

Deputy Blowick maintained that I should disclose to the House the activities of An Fóras Tionscal; that we had voted £2,000,000 for the activities of this board and that, therefore, we should know what is being done by them. The Deputy is aware that we not only voted money under the Undeveloped Areas Act, but that we also included a section in the Act to the effect that An Fóras Tionscal was to make an annual report to the Minister. Section 11 of the First Schedule reads:—

"The board shall submit in such form as the Minister may direct an annual report of their activities and the Minister shall cause copies of the report to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas."

It is obvious why the Minister for Industry and Commerce put that provision into the Undeveloped Areas Act. The Minister has not interfered with the activities of the board. An Fóras Tionscal is completely independent, and I feel it is very desirable that that should be so. Every application for a grant for the establishment or enlargement of an industry is made to the board completely on its own merits. Neither the Minister for Industry and Commerce nor I have ever interfered with any single proposal that has come before the board. I feel the reason is obvious; the Minister or any member of the Government cannot then be accused of the fact that political considerations were brought to bear on any decision with regard to the granting or to the refusal of financial assistance to any group or groups that may approach the board for a grant.

Deputy Blowick commented on the fact that there is a reduction in the Estimate due to stockpiling in 1950-51 which is not taking place this year. He doubted whether the amount by which the Estimate had been reduced could be entirely attributable to stockpiling. I think he would himself remember that in 1950-51 a supplementary Vote was introduced. It was a token Vote on that occasion of £10 but under that token Vote Gaeltacht Services Division was authorised to spend £54,000 odd for stockpiling. In the subsequent year the provision was £225,745 but of these two provisions, totalling £280,000, £176,000 odd was spent in stockpiling. There is a provision for replenishment of stock in the current year amounting to £85,500, so in a way the amount provided for, even though it has not been spent, will be fully utilised, and as well as current stocks being maintained there will be a certain amount of reserves in order to ensure that, as a result of any future shortages, the workers will not be forced to be put on short time.

There were several other matters raised but they are of too great detail for me to deal with them at the present time. I think, however, I should advert to the fact mentioned particularly by Deputy Butler and Deputy Duignan that the Irish language is of primary importance with regard to the administration of my office. I believe that the language itself must be assisted by making the people who speak the language naturally happy in their own areas. The only way of making them happy and contented is by the provision of amenities and facilities which exist in other parts of the country and by the provision of employment in so far as it can be provided.

The Government, I readily agree, must come to the assistance of these people if private enterprise fails to do so. The Undeveloped Areas Act is an inducement to private enterprise to come into these areas. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, in bringing in the Bill, intimated that the greater the competitive disadvantage the greater would be the assistance. For that reason he was trying to induce private individuals here interested in establishing factories outside the larger centres of population to go as far west as they possibly do. It may be that many of these factories will not be established in the Fior-Ghaeltacht areas but in so far as they will not, the Government will be mindful of the problem of the residents of these Fior-Ghaeltacht areas and will always have the betterment of their living conditions before it. It is my particular function to ensure that not only the Government but each member of the Government in so far as the administration of his Department is concerned, will have these problems continuously before him, so that the officers of his Department will not be permitted to put any proposals designed to deal with the Gaeltacht areas on the long finger.

As I said at the start, my office has met with a fair measure of success. As well as the function of co-ordinating, we have the function of initiating schemes. Any schemes or any proposals that are initiated must naturally, by the set-up of the office, be implemented through the other Departments of State. There are a number of schemes which are at the stage at which it would be premature for me to advert to them here but I do hope when I am introducing the Estimate in the current year that I will be able to report considerable progress in the matter of providing a better way of life, of providing worth-while projects for the people of the Gaeltacht and congested areas.

Vote put and agreed to.