asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if, in view of the isolated position of Inniskeeragh Island, Arranmore, County Donegal, he will have the island included in his Department's scheme whereby up-to-date radio telephones are being installed to replace antiquated wireless and wireless-telephone transmitting and receiving sets.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Inniskeeragh Island: Radio Telephone.
I regret that the provision and maintenance of a radiotelephone service between Inniskeeragh and the mainland would not be warranted.
I do not wish to take on two opponents in defence of Inniskeeragh in the one evening even though there was a first round knock-out in one case. If the Minister had been in the House he would know that the Parliamentary Secretary told us less than an hour ago that they will not provide a landing-place on the island and will not provide a protection wall.
Has the Deputy a question to ask?
With the greatest respect to you, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, this is a question. It would appear that we are now going to leave these unfortunate people on the most western island on the seaboard without a telephone of any description.Better let us tell them the truth-they are going to receive no facilities there.
I do not know whether I need go any further into this matter. In actual fact, prior to 1936, there was communication with only very few of the bigger islands. A departmental committee in 1939 thought that there should be some kind of radio telephonic link with islands the population of which exceeded 100, and a scheme was completed finally with 13 islands having this form of communication. The island referred to by the Deputy has a population of 50 and there, again, the question is at what point does one draw the line. I have every sympathy with the islanders, but it would result in a very great commitment if we were to go below the figure of 100 persons. However, the matter can be considered and I will refer the matter to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government to see whether the social advantage conferred would be worth the very great expense having regard to the other ways in which finances could be expended for the betterment of the Gaeltacht generally.
In view of the fact that 80 per cent. of these 50 people are engaged in the fishing industry, that there is not a policeman, a doctor, or a nurse on the island, and that there are times when it is absolutely impossible to land on the island, would the Minister favourably reconsider his decision in this matter?
As I said, I will have the matter considered by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government. This is only one instance of a number of things which are sought, and I am only empowered to spend a limited amount of money.
In addition to consulting the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government, will the Minister also consult the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture?