Committee on Finance. - Vote 65—Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng.

Tairgim:—

Go ndeonfar suim nach mó ná £3,130 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfas chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31 ú lá de Mhárta, 1957, chun Tuarastal agus Costas Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng.

Míníodh cheana cúpla uair, nuair a bhí an Meastachán seo á phlé, cad iad na feidhmeanna atá ag Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng maidir le cúrsaí comhoirniúcháin i gcoitinne. Is ar éigin gur gá an taobh sin den scéal a tharraingt anuas arís.

Ar an ábhar sin tá beartaithe agam, an turas seo, gan tagairt a dhéanamh ach amháin do na tograí a bhfuil dlúthbhaint acu ag an Oifig leo. Tig linn dhá chineál a dhéanamh díobh siúd— (1) Scéimeanna a cheadaigh an Coiste Eadar-Roinne agus (2) scéimeanna a cheadaigh an Taoiseach, ar mholadh an Choiste, faoin nós imeachta a ghabhas leis an gCiste Forbartha Náisiúnta.

Mion-oibreacha mara ar fad atá sa chéad chineál. So bhliain dar chríoch an 31ú lá de Mhárta, 1956, ceadaíoth cúig scéim déag dén tsórt sin. Fuair cheithre chontae tairbhe na scéimeanna agus bhí costas £16,660 ag gabháil leo.

Tig linn an dara cineál (is é sin scéimeanna faoin gCiste Forbartha, Náisiúnta) a roinnt mar leanas—(1) Scéim na mBóthar, (2) Muir-Oibreacha, (3) Scéim na mBád Iascaigh, (4) Scéim na Hallaí Drámaíochta, agus (5) Scéim Phoiblí an Uisce Phíopaithe agus an tSéarachais. Is leis an bhFíor-Ghaeltacht amháin a bhaineas na scéimeanna sin uilig.

Sa bhliain dar chríoch an 31ú lá de Mhárta, 1956, cuireadh dhá scéim déag d'oibreacha bóthair i gcrích i gceithre chontae ar chostas, £65,000.

Sa bhliain chéanna ceadaíodh Muir-Oibreacha a chosnódh, £13,000, ar fad le haghaidh Inis Thoir, Oileáin Árann.

Maidir le scéim na mbád iascaigh, is mar leanas atá an scéal faoi láthair. Tá bád amháin criochnaithe ar chostas, £12,000; tá bád eile gairid do bheith críochnaithe, agus tá dhá bhád eile fós dá dtógáil (meastar go gcríochnófar iad siúd timpeall deireadh na bliana seo).

Maidir leis an dá scéim eile a luadh, is é cuma ina bhfuil an scéal, go bhfuil téarmaí na scéimeanna ar eolas ag an bpobal agus go bhfuil scrúdú á dhéanamh faoi láthair ar thograí a fuarthas ina leith.

Má glactat leis gur caitheadh timpeall £40,000 ar scéim na mbád go dtí seo, chífear, dá bhrí sin, gur cuireadh tuairim is £135,000 ar fáil le linn na bliana seo caite le haghaidh tograí fiúntacha trí na scéimeanna atá dá riaradh ag an Oifig. Ní miste a thabhairt faoi ndeara, freisin, gur soláthraíodh timpeall £118,000 den airgead sin le haghaidh scéimeanna a ceadaíodh as an gCiste Forbartha Náisiúnta, is é sin le haghaidh scéimeanna a ceapadh ar mhaithe leis an bhFíor-Ghaeltacht.

Sin an méid atá le rá agam ar an Meastachán seo agus tá súil agam go mbeidh an Teach sásta glacadh leis.

Tairgim:—

Go gcuirfear an Bhóta ar ais le h-aghaidh athbhreithnithe.

Deinim é sin ar chúpla phointe, mar leanas. Ar an gcéad dul síos, nílimse agus níl an Páirtí seo sásta leis an ráiteas atá déanta ag an Aire. Nílimid sásta ach chomh beag leis an méid oibre atá léirithe ins an ráiteas, an méid oibre atá déanta ag Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng agus an méid oibre atá le déanamh acu. Fós, nílimid sásta mar ní thugann an ráiteas seo aon chomhartha dúinne cad é polasaí an Rialtais maidir leis an nGaeltacht agus na Ceantair Chúnga as so amach. Tá sé curtha in iúl dúinn agus tá a fhios agam go bhfuil Aireacht nua le cur ar bun. Tá an Bille rite tríd an Dáil agus tríd an Seanad ach ní thiocfaidh sé i bhfeidhm go dtí lá a bheartóidh an tAire. Measaimid nach bhfuil neart oibre á dhéanamh ag an Oifig sin.

Is soléir ón ráiteas seo nár deineadh aon rud nua le haghaidh na Gaeltachta ná le haghaidh na teangan ó tháinig an Rialtas seo i bhfeidhm. Tar éis a bheith in oifig dhá bhliain anois, táimid sásta nach bhfuil an oiread suime agus ba chóir ag an Aire nó ag an Rialtas san Oifig seo ná in obair na hOifige seo.

Fé mar a dúras anuraidh, tá Coiste Idir-Roinne ag baint leis an Oifig seo. Cúpla seachtain ó shoin, do chuir an tAire in iúl dúinn gur tháinig an Cuiste seo le chéile ocht n-uaire ar fad ón am a thárla an t-athrú Rialtais in 1954, sé sin, breis agus dhá bhliain ó shoin. Anuraidh, dúirt mé féin, agus dúirt cainnteóirí eile ón dtaobh seo den Tigh, go mba chóir go dtiocfadh an Coiste seo le chéile go minic i dtreo is go bhféadfaí ceisteanna a bhí ag déanamh buairt a phlé agus a réiteach chomh fada is do b'féidir le baill an Coiste é sin a dhéanamh agus iad ag caint le chéile agus de bharr an dlúbhaint a bhí ann idir na baill éagsúla ó gach roinn den Stáit.

Dob fhéidir leo san teacht le chéile chun gach rud ar a gcumas a dhéanamh agus a chur ar siúil ar son na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng. Do b'in í an tslí a bhí an obair ar siúl ar feadh 2½ blian sar ar tháinig an Rialtas seo a bhfeidhm. Freisin, sin í an tslí a cheapaimíd a leanfaí leis an obair ach, ní hé amháin nár leanfadh leis an obair sa tslí sin ach—fé mar is soléir dúinn inniu—do cuirfeadh moill mhór ar an obair a bhí á dhéanamh. Tá sé sin soléir ó chúpla ruda a bhfuil sé ar intinn agam tagairt a dhéanamh dóibh ar ball.

Tá fhios ag cách go bhfuil ceist na Gaeltachta agus ceist na teangan práinneach a dhóthain. Tá fhios ag gach éinne go dtógfadh sé gach neart atá ag an Aire agus ag an Rialtas chun na ceisteanna sin a réiteach. San am chéanna, chímíd anois nach bhfuil aon duine fé leith agus cúrain na Gaeltachta amháin air agus is mór an trua é sin.

Tá an cheist sin chomh deachair gur cóir go mbeadh an cúram ar dhuine amháin chun an obair a choimeád ar siúl agus chun na ceisteanna a réiteach, agus gane a bheith air aon obair d'aon tsaghas eile a dheánamh. Ní chóir go gcuirfí Oifig chomh tábhachtach leis an Oifig seo isteach in Aireacht mar an Aireacht Rialtais Aitiúil—áit a bhfuil neart oibre ann cheana don Aire agus dá Rúnaí Pairliminte. Táimíd cinnte nach bhfuil obair fhónta á dhéanamh do'n Oifig tábhachtach seo agus nach bhfuil aon obair nua do'n Ghaeltacht agus do'n teanga á cheapadh ag an Aire agus, mar sin, tairgim go gcuirfí an Meastacháin seo siar chun é d'ait bhreithniú.

Last year, when I spoke on this Estimate, I suggested that the office —the Vote for which we are now discussing—was in the nature of a Cinderella office so far as the Government was concerned. On the advent to power of this Government, the office was attached to a Ministry that already had very much activity of its own, to a Ministry to which this Government saw fit to appoint a Parliamentary Secretary to look after one aspect of its work.

When this Minister assumed power, he devoted the first part of his administration to overhauling the management system. As I said last year, that was a sufficient task to occupy most of the Minister's time, apart altogether from the other aspects of his work within the Department of Local Government. That being so, I thought he could not devote the time that was necessary to the administration of this office—an office that was set up some two and a half years before he came into power and which was designed to co-ordinate the work of different Departments so far as the Gaeltacht is concerned. It was not intended to be an executive one: it was intended to be one which would pursue activities for the benefit of the Gaeltacht and those who live in the Gaeltacht and contiguous areas.

It was realised that, as the work that was necessary and what had already been done for the Gaeltacht was dispersed among different Departments of State, it would be difficult and impracticable to divest the different Departments such as Lands, Forestry, Agriculture and Education of these diverse functions. It was thought that the best manner in which the work of these Departments could be accelerated would be by setting up a co-ordinating office. As a necessary adjunct, an inter-departmental committee was set up. A senior civil servant was assigned from every Department that had any degree of activity whatever in the Gaeltacht.

That committee came together upwards of 40 times during the two and a half years prior to the Minister's assuming office. As a result of coming together, the representatives of different Departments were able to discuss over a common table the projects that were in hands, the projects that were contemplated and the projects that were even almost completed in the various parts of the Gaeltacht and the undeveloped areas. They were able to discuss the problems as they affected these areas in the different Departments and, as a result of these discussions, they were able to co-ordinate the different works and aspects of administration. Furthermore, they were able to keep their fingers on the various difficulties and problems that beset the people of the Gaeltacht areas.

That committee came together about 40 times, perhaps a little more—I forget the exact number of times, but certainly it was about 40 times—prior to the advent to office of the present Government. Since the change of Government, that committee has come together only about eight times. At least, that was the answer given to me some weeks ago when I asked the Minister how often it had assembled. I feel that, in the first instance, it was a mistake that this committee was allowed to become so moribund, so lethargic. I felt that, by having the responsible officers come together and—if you like to use a colloquialism—by putting them on the spot, one against the other, worthwhile progress would be made and work which might have taken a long time to implement and to conclude would be pushed forward to a considerable degree.

That is just one of the criticisms I have to offer of the administration of this office in the past years and, indeed, in the past two years. This Estimate is, of course, a token one only. As I have pointed out, the functions of this office are more co-ordinating than executive. The Minister may well excuse the present lethargy on the ground that a new Ministry for the Gaeltacht is to be set up. As we all know, even though that Bill has passed through all its stages in both Houses of the Oireachtas and may, as far as I know, even have been signed by the President, there is a provision for its coming into operation on an appointed day. So far, apart from the provisions of the Bill, which are largely technical, we have had no indication as to the lines on which this Ministry will proceed and as to the basis on which it will be founded. Will it absorb this office, as I anticipate it will? What will its policy be? First, will it confine its activities to the Fíor-Ghaeltacht, which is a rather indefinable area at the present time, or will it take in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht, with contiguous areas of Breac-Ghaeltacht? How far will these contiguous areas extend eastwards or westwards, as the case may be?

I would have expected that this Bill, having passed all stages in the Oireachtas, would have been referred to at length by the Minister in introducing this Estimate. For all we know, this may be the last time this Estimate will be introduced here. We do not know, of course, what day will be appointed by the Government, or whatever Minister is responsible, for the coming into operation of the Ministers and Secretaries Act setting up the Gaeltacht Ministry; but we would have expected the Minister to give us the board outlines on which this office would be operated and the lines on which its activities would proceed. Is it contemplated that the new Ministry will operate largely upon the same lines as the present office?

At the close of the debate on the Second Reading of the Bill, I asked if all that would happen, as a result of the Bill, was that the nameplate on the Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCung would be changed from "Office of the Parliamentary Secretary" to "Office of the Minister". Many organisations throughout the country have welcomed the passing of that Bill into law, but I submit that many of these organisations have had neither the time, nor the opportunity to assess truly whether or not a Ministry will be more successful than the present office would have been, had its work been properly pursued and properly looked after by a responsible person, either an independent man in the Government, with power of making representations to the Government or a junior Minister, with direct access to the Government. I cannot see, at the moment, at any rate, how this new Ministry will work, or in what respects it will differ from the present office. I suggest that now is the time to give the House and the country, particularly the people in the Gaeltacht, some indication as to what changes it is proposed to effect on the establishment of this Ministry.

I have mentioned that the work of this office has not been maintained at the pace which had been set two years ago since this Government took office. In the first place, the staff was reduced shortly after the coming into power of the inter-Party Government. No replacements were made. The office had only four or five officials, and I suggest that a reduction of even one, as was the case, is a serious blow to the administration of such an office, or, rather, would be a serious blow to the administration of an office which was originally intended to work to the limit of its powers. I suggest that, rather than make a reduction in the personnel, the time was ripe two years ago to augment considerably the staff in the office.

It was my intention, indeed, to augment the staff by the addition of an outdoor staff. It was the intention to place at least one man in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht districts; and, as far as we could judge at that time—I think the positions is still the same—there were only about seven areas in which such a staff would be required. The intention was that the outdoor officer would act as a liaison officer between the people in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht areas and Oifig na Gaeltachta.

In that way, we would have ensured that the man on the spot, who would have a wide experience, would be in a position to hear the complaints and suggestions of the residents in these areas, would be able to assess them on the spot and report back to head office his recommendations as to what should be done. Not only has that idea not been pursued, though I readily concede to the Minister that he would not have any intimate knowledge of it, but the staff has been reduced, and, as a result of that, the effectiveness of the office has been reduced.

My main criticism of the administration of the office is that, apart from one or two minor activities, nothing new has been done since the office was taken over by the Minister. No new ideas have been evolved, or, if they were, tested and implemented. There was one exception, but, in the case of that exception, all we had was a halfhearted pursuit, of something that had already been prepared. I refer to the provision of special facilities for the supply of fishing boats to residents in the Gaeltacht. That plan was conceived by Deputy Bartley and myself. A scheme had been prepared, a scheme which was to be financed out of the National Development Fund. The Minister has referred to it. That was a worthwhile development and I am glad that the Minister saw fit to pursue that project.

Many other projects, however, were deliberately not pursued. I refer to the proposal expansion of the tomato glass-house scheme. It is true that the expansion we envisaged met with certain difficulties. First of all, the intention was that the glass-house scheme, having been successfully established in the Donegal Gaeltacht and in the mid-western Gaeltacht, would be extended to the south-western Gaeltacht also. From a Gaeltacht point of view, the most desirable area was that of Ballyferriter westwards. That was found to be unsuitable by the technical experts of the Department of Agriculture, and it was thereupon decided to switch the scheme to the sunny side of the peninsula. Unfortunately, the number of Gaelic speaking applicants on that side was not sufficient to warrant our going ahead with a scheme based purely on the giving of glass-houses to Irish-speaking applicants.

Nevertheless, as soon as the Government changed, and having regard to the opposition that the present Minister for Agriculture had, and apparently still has, to these exotic schemes, as he described them, is it any wonder that any expansion of the glass-house scheme, whether by heating the existing ones, or expanding the number, has been knocked on the head, and will continue to remain knocked on the head, as long as Deputy James Dillon remains Minister for Agriculture?

There has been some activity in connection with minor marine works. That was facilitated by giving authority to the office which I held to sanction, without more ado, certain schemes up to a total costs of £2,500 each.

It is gratifying to know that the Undeveloped Areas Act has been a success in so far as the congested areas are concerned. It is also gratifying to see the Minister for Industry and Commerce, in recent months, having to come to this House for a supplementary Estimate to carry on under that Act. However, the Gaeltacht areas have not benefited to any appreciable extent from the implementation of that Act. We will have an opportunity of discussing Gaeltacht industries on another Estimate to come along soon.

In the ultimate, the welfare of the Gaeltacht, and the rehabilitation of the western areas, must depend primarily on agriculture and, to a lesser extent, on fishing. Unfortunately, fishing has not assumed the importance that it should have on the western seaboard. That is largely because of lack of tradition. No matter what we say we have not got a seafaring tradition sufficient to induce our young men to take their boats and stay out, not merely all night, but over a period of several nights. They have not got the equipment, or sufficient of it, at the present time but it has been difficult to get our young men to pursue the fishing industry as the Spanish, British and other nations pursue it, that is, to go to sea and remain at sea for considerable periods.

We must base the economic welfare of the Gaeltacht and the congested areas primarily on agriculture. Unfortunately, there is not sufficient land in these areas to enable all the people whom we would like to see living there, to eke out a decent living. That is largely the reason why emigration has been traditional in the West of Ireland and why it has been a more serious problem in these areas than it has been in many other parts of the country. It needs planning to ensure that the limited land which there is in the West of Ireland should be properly utilised. I suggest that the mentality and the policy of the Department of Agriculture are not suited to the proper expansion of agriculture in the western areas.

The Department is far too conservative. It was my own experience that, when ideas were put to me which appeared, prima facie, to have some sound prospects of success, cold water was thrown on most of them by the Department of Agriculture. Technicians from that Department came to me and discussed various aspects of these proposals. It is easy for technicians in any line to beat down an untrained opinion no matter how enthusiastic or well-informed that opinion may be. That is the position that I frequently found myself to be in and I do not confine that criticism to the Department of Agriculture alone. I feel that the Department's mentality and outlook is too conservative and it is time that they forgot the training of Sir Horace Plunkett and those that followed him.

Land is too limited in the West of Ireland and we cannot hope that ordinary agricultural methods will ensure for these people a proper living, a living that will enable us to expand the population and to retain the population that is there. I thought myself that an expansion of the tomato glass-house scheme on a very extensive scale would help to solve the problem. I thought that we should heat the glass-houses with native fuel, so far as it could be done. The capital outlay would be heavy. The cost of heating one glass-house would be well over £160, and perhaps more, but unless we do something visionary like that I do not see much prospect of retaining in the West even the number of people living there at the present time.

As another means of expanding the agricultural potential it was decided to drain and develop a large proportion of the blanket bog in the West of Ireland. To that end the Grass Meal Bill was introduced and passed in this House. Goodness knows, there is sufficient acreage of such bog in the West of Ireland to warrant some bold experiment of that nature to ensure that new land would become available to the congests of that area. I often felt that the word "congest", as applied, was a misnomer, particularly having regard to the present rate of emigration, but from the point of view of the availability of productive land these people are congests. Any scheme that would make more land available to these people or make undeveloped land productive should have been pursued and expanded.

The Grass Meal Bill was implemented here by legislation just a year before the change of Government when it definitely came to a sudden end. The basis on which that decision was founded, as stated by the Minister for Finance in the course of this debate last year, in my opinion then, and to my certain knowledge now, was based on erroneous facts. It was based on facts that the Minister either misinterpreted or interpreted in such a manner as to place the proposal in an unfavourable light. I propose to demonstrate that here to-day.

In the first place, the board of directors were able to drain this bog, of well over 2,000 acres, at a cost of 75 per cent. of what they originally anticipated it would cost. When the Minister for Finance was referring to the number of acres drained, again he gave the Dáil information which was not correct. He said here last year that 2,700 acres had been taken over by Mill Fhéir Teoranta, that 1,700 had been plough-drained; and 540 acres enclosed with sod fences, but that the only work done on the remaining 1,000 acres was preliminary work of opening outfalls.

The facts are that, in November, 1954, when the activities of this company were restricted—that is, before it was abandoned—2,600 acres had been surveyed and 2,400 acres acquired; and the entire of these 2,400 acres had been plough-drained at 100-foot intervals and 900 of these acres had been further plough-drained at 50-foot intervals; all outfalls had been opened up; 150 acres completely levelled in preparation for grass sowing in 1955, and a further 200 acres partially levelled. Therefore the Minister, when he made the statements in the Dáil as to the reason for the abandonment of the scheme, was either misinformed or misinformed himself as to the facts concerning the drainage of these 2,700 acres.

What is more important, I think the basis on which the decision was ultimately come to—whether it was the inter-departmental committee that was set up to examine this project from the economic point of view, or whether it was the interpretation the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Agriculture put on their report— was that they erroneously decided that it would have cost this company £33 to produce one ton of grass meal, whereas the £33 figure was the cost that the company had given of bringing one acre of virgin bog into grass production, which is a different thing altogether from the cost of production per ton of grass meal.

The cost of production per ton, as the company anticipated and as they had good reason to believe would be an accurate estimate, was £23 per ton. It was estimated that one acre of bog would produce sufficient grass for between two and four tons of grass meal. Therefore, that figure—and I think it is fundamental when assessing the economic merits of this project—demonstrates clearly that the Minister for Finance or the Minister for Agriculture, whichever Minister jettisoned this scheme, was acting on wrong principles and on wrong information.

I am sorry to interrupt the Deputy, but might I inquire from him what figure, in the case of the purchase of a tract of bog from a tenant, was guaranteed to that tenant per acre for bog acquired, according to the conditions the Deputy has there?

That does not arise in this context——

It should arise in the costing.

——because the bog was bog which had been acquired by Bord na Móna and which was not suitable for the operations of Bord na Móna. When Bord na Móna were acquiring bog in that area, they were looking for deep bog and had, of necessity, to acquire many stretches of blanket bog which was not deep enough for their purposes. They were only too glad to make available to some company or some organisation the areas of blanket bog which they could not utilise themselves.

I do not wish to interrupt the Deputy—he is the last Deputy in the House. I would wish to interrupt—but surely this does not arise on the present Estimate. The company to which the Deputy is referring is a company set up by Statute. It could administer its own affairs, and Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCung has nothing whatever to do with that company.

Mr. de Valera

Who closed it?

Definitely not Oifig na Gaeltachta.

Mr. de Valera

The Government is responsible for it surely?

We are not dealing with Government policy.

Mr. de Valera

We are dealing with a Government Estimate.

The announcement stopping this scheme was made shortly before this debate was taken in the House last year. This debate was availed of by both the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Finance to give reasons for the Government's decision.

Not in this debate?

It was. If the Minister will refer to Volume 151, 22nd June, and the various columns from about 1650 downwards, he will see various speeches, particularly those by the Ministers to whom I have referred, concerning this project. This is the first opportunity I have had since then to refute certain figures given.

It seems to the Chair that this is a matter relevant to the resuscitating or rehabilitation of the Gaeltacht and that it is a matter that the Office of the Gaeltacht might avail of to rehabilitate the Gaeltacht and, on that ground, I think the Deputy may proceed.

I might say, Sir, that this Bill was introduced by me by virtue of the office I held in Oifig na Gaeltachta.

So much for the cost per ton of production. It was suggested that, having regard to the £33 which was misinterpreted by the Ministers as the cost per ton, that the project had no possibility of economic success, having regard to the price of grass meal which was then payable on the market. That price in the past year was a minimum of £28 per ton, which, having regard to the cost of production per ton of £23, would have afforded the company a handsome profit. I am told that the cost per ton in the current year has exceeded £30; and there is every reason to believe that the cost of production per ton would have remained in or about £23, which would have given this company still more good profit on its grass meal output.

The next basis on which the scheme was thrown over was that the Minister satisfied himself that there was not a sufficient market, either at home or abroad. The Minister for Finance told us here in the House that the directors of Min Fhéir Teoranta had informed him that they saw no prospect of securing an export market. That is contained in the part of the Minister's speech at column 1738, Volume 151. But the fact was that the directors had not sought a market abroad. They knew one had existed and they had received several inquiries for their output; but they were satisfied that they could have sold their output profitably at home, having regard to the fact that protein feeding stuffs were in short supply and that the demand for them was ever increasing. We were told last year that the existing home output was sufficient to meet the home demand, but the fact was that we experienced a shortage of feeding stuffs last year and, in particular, a shortage of grass meal. So, on every basis—cost of production per ton, and availability of market—the decision to abandon the scheme was wrongly come to.

Finally, it was suggested that the utilisation of this bog could be carried out more profitably, from the point of view of the rehabilitation of the western areas, than it would have been had the grass meal project continued. The present experiment, or whatever is going on there between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Forestry, could have gone on in adjoining bog areas and would have gone on in any case side by side with the grass meal under the aegis of this company.

There are many other things which such a company could have done and done more beneficially, I suggest, than they could have been done under a Department of State. For example I referred last year to the possibility of growing medicinal plants on bogland. I was informed, and I was reasonably satisfied, that having regard to the absence of virus in these areas such plants could have been grown more successfully in the West of Ireland than they could have been grown anywhere else in the world. As everybody knows there is an acute shortage of the raw materials for medicinal purposes throughout the world at the present time.

In recent weeks there has been a good deal in the newspapers about the experiments which the British Rayon Research Association has been carrying out in the growing of bamboo plants in the peat bogs of Scotland. This is supposed to be one of the best sources of raw material there is for the manufacture of rayon. Deputy Harris, who I presume hoped for some benefit in his own constituency from such experiments, communicated with the Minister for Industry and Commerce and was told that, while it was rather late at the present time to plant some of these plants on an experimental basis this year, some steps might be taken in regard to it next year in Glenamoy. I do not know whether it was considered rather late from the planting point of view or the administrative point of view but I do suggest that a company like Min Fhéir Teoranta, having heard of such experiments in Scotland, could have quickly planted some of these bamboo plants and seen whether or not they would have been a success. Some of the members of the British Rayon Research Association who visited Glenamoy spoke very highly of the prospects of success in growing bamboo in the western bog lands.

Before leaving the subject of Glenamoy, I should like to say that we were told last year that sufficient men would be employed in the developments there to ensure that none of Min Fhéir Teoranta's existing staff would be disemployed. That happily as far as I know has been the case. At the moment between 50 and 60 men are engaged in whatever work the Departments of Agriculture and Forestry are doing there. At the present time, had the activities of Min Fhéir Teoranta not been stopped, there would have been 100 men working in Glenamoy and in less than two years' time, when the project was in full production, there would have been 150 men working there. That is three times the present number employed. For that reason alone I suggest that the closing down of this project has had an immediate effect on emigration from the West of Ireland and from Mayo in particular.

I have had a glance at the total emigration figures for the Twenty-Six Counties from 1911 to 1951 and, as far as I can see, out of a total of 400,000 people who emigrated up to that time 50,000 or about one-eighth of them emigrated from Mayo. Therefore, in that single respect Government action has added to the emigration potential from Mayo and it has also slowed down making available to the people of Mayo agricultural land capable of giving some of them a decent living. The ultimate figures have been given in the Press from time to time. I believe the number of people that could have been put to work on farms on this land when it was reclaimed would certainly have justified the continuation of the project, particularly having regard to the fact that it would have been an economic success and, far from being a drain on the taxpayers, it would have shown considerable profits, financially, socially and economically.

There are a few other matters to which I should like to refer, one of which is the souvenir industry in this country. Year after year we have been hearing complaints about the manufacture abroad of souvenirs which are selling in this country and which purport to come from places like Killarney, Achill and the Rosses. These souvenirs are made in places like Japan and Czechoslovakia. We all know it is difficult for our own people to complete with these commodities because they are made under labour conditions that would not be tolerated in this country. They are made very cheaply and can be distributed throughout the world at prices with which countries like ourselves which are not highly industrialised could not compete.

Two or three years ago there was established a comprehensive exhibition of Irish souvenirs; it was run in conjunction with the Tóstal week in Galway. The purpose of that exhibition was to gather, as far as was possible, into one setting all the types of souvenirs that could be made throughout the length and breadth of this country and to ascertain from this exhibition which of the types of the souvenirs would be more likely to succeed as a commercial proposition. The matter was to be examined by a committee in the Department of Industry and Commerce who were to study the whole subject but so far as I can see that has not been proceeded with.

This is a little industry which would materially help to develop the adaptability, from the commercial industrial point of view, of the people of the West of Ireland. It would also develop their own handicrafts as well as help them to earn a reasonable supplement to their incomes. It is a pity that that matter has not, as far as I know, been proceeded with, or, if it is being proceeded with, it is a pity that we have not heard anything of the work that has been done in that regard. While there could not be mass production of the type of handicrafts to which I have referred, at least, I suggest, that in the technical schools and amongst the voluntary organisations throughout the West of Ireland the manufacture of such handicrafts for souvenir and other purposes could be given some attention. In that way, we could ensure that there would be in the summer time reasonable quantities of such commodities available for sale so that visitors coming to this country could get some souvenirs racy of the soil and representative of the character and the principles of the people they visited in this country.

As a result of some misunderstanding last year as to when this debate would commence, I was unable to be present at the start. On reading over the reports of the debate later, I noticed some remarks to which I should like to refer, particularly one made by Deputy Seán Collins, who said that my visits to the Gaeltacht areas and my work in Oifig na Gaeltachta were all bluff and that the results were nil. It is a pity he is not here at the moment because I should like to remind him that as the result of the tourist road scheme, to mention but one aspect of the work, for two years there was not a man idle in the Ballingeary and Keimaneigh districts of his constituency. In fact the work was often held up for lack of men to do the job.

If in no other direction, the work of Oifig na Gaeltachta in that respect helped the constituency of Deputy Collins. He can check if what I say is correct. That work not only benefited the area to the extent of the wages paid to the workmen but it reopened that area for tourism. It has attracted motoring tourists and therefore must have enhanced the economy of the area generally.

I should like to refer to one other project in contemplation for that constituency. I refer to the establishment of a knitwear centre in Ballingeary as a result of an approach made by the headmaster of the vocational school. Gaeltacht Services were not inclined at first to interest themselves in the establishment of such an industry because of the fact that the knitwear industry throughout the country was pretty well saturated. Nevertheless, I asked a technical official of the Board of Public Works to visit the area. He found a suitable centre in the technical school in which to establish the industry, and Gaeltacht Services eventually decided to put machines in there. Through the establishment of that industry, between 15 and 20 girls were employed.

Unfortunately, that little industry seems to have been dropped. For what reason I do not know. I think it is one that should be continued, even though, at the time of its establishment, the Bishop of Cork said he would prefer to have seen an industry employing men rather than women. By employing women, at least something tangible was done. It created employment and made more money available to the area. The time would have come when such an industry could have been expanded into one that would employ men. In that connection, I should like to inquire what has become of the proposal to set up a vegetable canning industry in that area?

A proposal to have such an industry established was submitted to Fóras Tionscal. That would not only have provided employment in the area but it would have given an opportunity to the farming community to enhance their incomes through the production of the raw materials. The people in the area could have grown such things as peas, sprouts and other such vegetables in an area which does not normally grow such things. I understand that was a district in which such vegetables could have been grown quite successfully. Perhaps the Minister would not have the information now but I should like if he would have the matter investigated to see what has happened to that project. I do not intend to detain the House any longer. For the reasons I have outlined, I move that the Estimate be referred back.

I should not like to let the opportunity pass without saying a few words on this most important Estimate, in so far as it concerns the Gaeltacht and congested areas, better known as the depressed areas of the country. The recent census returns, in so far as they have been revealed, show an alarming situation which I think would provide reason for any Minister or Government to give serious thought to the whole question of what is being done or should be done for the congested areas. If the present rate of depopulation of those areas continues, we should ask ourselves the question as to whether we should trouble about them at all. If we do look forward to maintaining a population in those areas, I think it is time we reviewed the whole situation so that something really earnest may be done to improve the lot of the people who live in them.

I do not know whether any of the schemes mentioned by the Minister in his opening statement will have any bearing on the state of these areas. They are practically all schemes that were mooted by and planned by the Minister's predecessor, now Deputy Jack Lynch. I would ask that any of these schemes which show signs of success, and in which there is any hopeful potential, should be pursued vigorously and expanded without further delay. The position is really serious. Those of us who live in Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim or in any of the counties from which there is a serious flow of emigration, must ask ourselves whether or not we hope to see these areas populated at all. If we are serious about making an effort to retain a population in these areas, I say again each and every representative of these areas must take the matter seriously and put aside the gaining of petty kudos for political propaganda. Something earnest must be done for these areas because the position is really bad.

The holdings in the congested areas are necessarily small. Because they are small, they are of little value from the point of view of production. However, there are many things which could be done to benefit these holdings, and when one has regard to the question of retaining the population, when one considers the fine families brought up in the past there, one must realise that the people of these areas form the most important section of our community. Every effort should be made to ensure that the flow of emigration from the congested districts is halted.

I do not know what effect the appointment of a new Minister may have on this whole important question but I do know that the setting up of Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng was very much a step in the right direction. I cannot see a Ministry proceeding on any lines other than those visualised in the setting up of that office. The liaison which the Parliamentary Secretary to the previous Government provided as between the different Departments in coordinating their efforts, in so far as those efforts related to the Gaeltacht, was the most important and essential work which must be undertaken by any Ministry in dealing with those areas.

Every single Department of State in some way has to administer one or more schemes directly concerned with the Gaeltacht. I cannot visualise a Department that has not some schemes relating to the Gaeltacht alone, but there are a few Departments which are very much concerned with the Gaeltacht, such as the Departments of Lands and Agriculture. By coordinating the various schemes promoted by these different Departments the Parliamentary Secretary was performing a very useful function and his office was, in my mind, the correct type of organisation for dealing with any Gaeltacht problems. I have no doubt that if the present Ministry, as from the appointed day, is to be a success it will have to proceed along the exact same lines, simply coordinating the various schemes which are promoted by the different Departments in respect of the Gaeltacht, as well as formulating, of course, new schemes which may be of benefit.

Deputy Jack Lynch has referred to some of the schemes that were conceived by his office during his time there and also some of those that were discontinued by the present Government. I am not personally very much acquainted with the grass-meal scheme in the West of Ireland but we did see in it a great hope of finding a new means whereby what we call cutaway bog could be utilised to great advantage. If that scheme showed even a mere hope of success, it was creating in the minds of those people who were destined to live on that type of land new hope and confidence in the future. It was a sad blow to the expectations of those people when the scheme was discontinued. It was entitled to a fair chance in every possible direction before any decision would be taken to abandon it. It was remarkable for Deputies to stand up in this House to justify the action of the Government at the time when they should have implored them to persist and persevere until this great scheme would be put to the real test, because it was a scheme which held out new hope for the Gaeltacht areas. I hope that some day it will be put to the real test.

The Minister in his opening statement referred to the boat scheme whereby boats are issued to Gaeltacht areas without the customary deposit required in the ordinary case of the issue of boats by An Bord Iascaigh Mhara. This is a very laudable scheme. It is a scheme that was mooted by the then Parliamentary Secretary to the Government in cooperation with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, now Deputy Bartley, when the Fianna Fáil Government was in office. The fact that it was brought to fruition by the present Minister is indeed a matter on which he is to be complimented. Just as we deprecate the discontinuance of the grass-meal scheme, so must we welcome the bringing to fruition of the boat scheme and congratulate the Minister for doing so. That is giving credit where credit is due but if there is one thing in the world that is likely to take from the value of these schemes, if there is one thing more than another that is likely to put them at a disadvantage —even a psychological disadvantage whereby the people in their minds look to the scheme as a racket—it is the mixing up of those schemes with political activities. There is far too much political patronage involved in the putting into being of that very useful scheme, that boat scheme which was mooted by the Parliamentary Secretary to the late Government. It is a pity.

Would the Deputy like to give an example?

If the Minister wants an example I would say that it would be sufficient just to think of the hoofling that went on in the selection of the crew.

Of the crew?

I will not say any more.

Tá ceist ar an bPáipéar, nach bhfuil?

I thought the skipper selects the crew.

The Minister is a very innocent man.

Not under this scheme because it was I drew it out.

The Deputy only drew it out. He did not go into the details at all.

Deputy Brennan on the Vote.

We did go into the details.

I do know one thing, that Deputy Bartley did not appoint the crew.

And the Deputy can rest assured that I did not.

I hope not.

Take my word for it.

Let us sail on.

I think it has created a feeling that there has been a great deal of what we in Donegal would call underthumb work and it does not make for the success of the scheme. It is not the best way to set off and I hope this will see the end of it, that in future, in the issue of boats of this type, there will be an advertisement inserted, that persons will be permitted to apply, that there will be an interview and that the crew will be selected on their merits as fishermen and Gaeltacht native speakers. I think that was intended to be the test originally.

You should have applied it to the grass-meal project——

It was done.

(Interruptions)

Order! Deputy Brennan, on the Estimate. Deputy Brennan must be allowed to continue his statement without interruption.

It is amusing to listen to the efforts made by the Deputies opposite to defend the closing of an important scheme such as the grass-meal scheme. However much the interruptions may annoy one in speaking here, I was interested in listening to the interjections by Deputies from the Government side. If the best men are selected and put into a scheme—that is the point I was trying to make in connection with the crew of the Ard Macha—and if it is proven that the best men are selected, there is not much anybody can say about it. But I want to take this opportunity to make a protest. This boat had been intended to fish and operate from the Gaeltacht port of Teelin, and, in Teelin and in the areas contiguous, we have some of the best fishermen in Donegal. The least one would expect is that the complete crew would be selected from the area of the Gaeltacht in which the boat was to operate. Yet, I think we have just one person.

On a point of order, the administration of this scheme is a matter entirely for the Fisheries Section and not for Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng. It is the concern of the Fisheries Section to supervise the boat and the manning of it. My Department has nothing whatever to do with it.

The Minister's statement that his Department has nothing to do with this scheme and that it is a matter for the Fisheries Section must be accepted. If the Deputy wishes to raise the matter, he will have another opportunity.

The Minister took advantage of his opening speech to refer to the scheme——

To the scheme, yes, but not to details—not to details such as the manning of the boat.

But I have not gone down into details.

You have even put a man into the stokehold.

If I went into details, it would be very interesting——

The Deputy had better leave it now. We have the Minister's statement that it has nothing to do with his Department.

Perhaps, for the present. I hope this new Ministry, in dealing with this office, will create some new schemes and show a greater foresight in the furtherance of schemes already in existence. This debate is connected with so many different Departments and offices that it is difficult to confine oneself to the narrow lines to which we must keep, and we will shortly have—perhaps, before the Dáil adjourns to-day—the discussion on the Vote for Gaeltacht Services and the matters immediately concerned in that debate would naturally occur to one's mind at the moment, but I do not propose to go into them just now.

I should like however to make reference to one of the best-known industries in the Gaeltacht, and I suggest that the new Ministry should give it some serious consideration—or perhaps the present Minister, if he is continuing to operate the scheme for any appreciable length of time. I refer to the question of hand embroidery, one of the oldest and most generally operated schemes in the congested areas of the country, and particularly in the Gaeltacht areas. The hand embroidery industry permits the housewife and her daughters, if they are big enough, to do a certain amount of work in their spare time and thereby supplement the earnings of the husband. That, of course, has been recognised as slave labour down through the years——

Does the Minister administer it?

We had better leave it so.

I shall have an opportunity of discussing it to-day, but I did think—and I am only saying this in passing—that it is of such importance that a complete revision of the scheme should be undertaken by the new Ministry.

What is important is that it should not be introduced into the Estimate of the present Minister.

It is one of the things which directly affect the area with which this Estimate deals.

I know, but the Minister states he has no responsibility.

So far as the Vote itself is concerned, there is very little in it really.

Then a lot has been said about very little, evidently.

The Vote has shrunk. I think it is the one office and the only office that has shrunk during the past two years.

By the salary of the Parliamentary Secretary and his private secretary.

It is just the travelling expenses and salaries of a few people, and when you think of the gigantic expansion and squandermania in other Departments, it is difficult to understand why the shrinkage should be in that Department. But I think it only coincides with the shrinkage of the Gaeltacht itself.

The only shrinkage is in the salary of the Parliamentary Secretary.

The shrinkage is in the population of the Gaeltacht.

I was referring to the Estimate.

Unless the Minister who is dealing with Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng can come into the House in 12 months' time and show that something tangible and something real has been done to arrest the flow from the Gaeltacht, the office is not justifying itself at all.

The Minister and Deputy Bartley rose.

I did not offer myself, until I saw, on the last occasion, that nobody had offered from the opposite benches.

I am assuming the Minister wishes to conclude?

I saw Deputy O'Hara on his feet and I was deferring to him —and if he wishes to speak now, I will let him in—but as soon as he saw the Minister stand, he sat down.

I call on Deputy Bartley. The Chair must reserve its right to call any Deputy who, in the opinion of the Chair, offers himself.

Is ait an rud é mar adúirt an Teachta Ó Loingsigh go bhfuil an tAire Rialtais Aitiúil i bhfeighil an Mheastacháin seo. Dúirt an tAire go raibh sábháil airgid sa Meastachán seo toisc nach bhfuil Rúnaí Parlaiminte ann anois. Sin ceann de na cúiseanna clamhsáin atá againn ar an taobh seo den Tigh, gur baineadh an Rúnaí Parlaiminte ón oifig sin agus gur sáitheadh isteach i Roinn mhór náisiúnta mar an Roinn Rialtais Aitiúil é. Mar a dúirt an Teachta Ó Braonáin, níl mórán tugtha síos sa Mheastachán. Tá A, B, C agus D ann—salaries, wages and allowances, travelling expenses, incidental expenses, telegrams and telephones—agus sin a bhfuil luaite. Bhí an tAire roint beag fonóideach i dtaobh an Teachta Ó Braonáin agus a raibh le rá aige faoi a laghad agus atá an Meastachán. Bhí sé féin sort cabach i dtaobh a laghad a eolais céana nuair a bhí sé ag cur tús leis an díospóireacht seo.

Feicimíd anseo liosta de na rudaí atá faoi chúram na hoifige seo—road schemes, marine works scheme, fishing boats scheme, theatres scheme, public piped water and sewerage scheme. "All these schemes are confined to the Fíor-Ghaeltacht", adeir sé. Mar a dúirt na Teachtaí eile, ní rud nua é ceann ar bith de na rudaí seo. Bhí scéim na mbóthar mór ann—tourist roads development scheme—agus, ar ndóigh, rinneadh an-obair sna ceantracha cúnga faoin scéim sin. Bhí marine works scheme á riarú sul a cuireadh an oifig seo ar bun ar chor ar bith ach feabhsaíodh an scéim sin nuair a tugadh údarás don oifig seo oibrí faoi bhun £2,000 a thosnú ar an bpointe gan an oiread reamh-fhiosrucháin agus réitigh is a bhí ag teastáil faoin ngáthscéim oibreacha mara.

Agus ós ag caint air sin atá mé, ba mhaith liom tagairt a dhéanamh do cheist obair mhara amháin agus, ar ndóigh, tá tagairt di sa ráiteas seo a léigh an tAire amach, sin é £13,000 le haghaidh muir-oibreacha in Inis Thoir, Oileáin Árainn. Bhí sé ina raic idir an tAire agus mé féin cúpla bobhta nó trí, faoin gceist seo. Tá an obair tosnaithe anois tar éis bliain go leith moille. Anuiridh, agus muid ag caint ar an Bhóta le haghaidh Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng, dúradh liom nach raibh caint ar bith faoi na hoibreacha seo i nInis Thoir go dtí gur thóg an Oifig seo idir lámhaibh é. Ar ndóigh, bhí Oifigí eile Rialtais a raibh cúram orthu i dtaobh oibreacha den tsórt seo, go mór-mhór sna ceantracha cúnga, agus ar ndóigh bhí molta d'Oifig na nOibreacha bPoiblí go minic, sul a cuireadh Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng ar bun, na hoibreacha so a dhéanamh agus, ar ndóigh, caithfidh mé creidiúint agus moladh a thabhairt d'Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng gur tugadh cluais do na moltaí seo.

Níl mé anois ag dul isteach go mion sa difríocht a bhí idir an tAire agus mé féin i dtaobh cad ba cheart a dhéanamh san Oilean sin. Is leór a rá go dtáinig an tAire, sa deireadh thiar thall, go dtí an tuairim a nocht mise go minic ins an Dáil——

Chuir mé an rud faoi scrúdú.

Fuair sé amach go raibh mise ag insint na fírinne nuair a dúirt mé gur admhaigh innealtóir de chuid Oifig na nOibreacha bPoiblí cad ba cheart a dhéanamh chun £8,000 a chaitheamh ar áit airithe ar an oileán. Ní air sin atá fúm caint anois ach ar cheann eile de na trí moltaí, agus sin é, fánán na gcurrach a dhéanamh ar áit a dtugann siad Poll na gCaorach air ar an oileán. Dúirt mé, agus deirim anseo arís, gurab é ord fiúntais na dtrí cinn a moladh an céibh i dtosach, an fánán a dhéanamh i bPoll na gCaorach san darna h-áit agus san triú h-áit, beagáinín feabhais a dhéanamh ar an áit a dtugann siad Corr-Áit air le cuid de mhóin an Oileáin a chur i dtír i lár an tSamhraidh. Má tá a fhios ag an Aire, cuireadh an tríú ceann sa chéad áit agus bhí ruaille búille i measc na daoine nuair fuaireadar amach é. Chuir mé ceist ar an Aire i dtaobh fánán a dhéanamh i bPoll na gCaorach in ionad £2,000 a chaitheamh ar Chorr Áit.

Bhí mé in Inis Thoir Ó chuir mé ceist ar an Aire agus daingnaíodh an tuairim a nocht mé anseo, gur cheart agus gur chóir fánán ag Poll na gCaorach a chur sa tarna h-áit. Mura bhfuil an obair tosuithe ar an áit a tugann siad Corr Áit air, táim ag iarraidh aris ag an Aire scrúdú nua a dhéanamh ar na tairiscintí seo agus gheobhaidh sé amach gurb fhearr le formhór mhuintir an oileáin an fánán seo a dheanamh ar mhaithe le lucht na gcurrach agus ar mhaithe leis an iascaireacht.

Rinneadh fánán ansin cheana roimh an gcogadh agus cé gur cuireadh fear maith de chuid Comhairle Contae na Gaillimhe isteach ag déanamh na hoibre, fear a raibh sár eolas aige ar obair stroighne agus concréid, ba fear é nach rabh aon chleactadh aige ar oibreacha mara agus cé nach raibh a shárú le fáil le stroighin agus concréid d'obair ar an talamh tirim, ní raibh sé sáthach maith nuair tháinig sé go dtí fánán nó obair mhara a dhéanamh agus, nuair a tháinig gairbhshion an Gheimbridh, scuabadh an fánán a rinneadh ann agus fágadh na daoine gan aon fhánán le na curracha a chur isteach.

Táim a ceapadh go bhfuilim réasúnta agus measartha nuair iarraim anois ar an Aire scrúdú a dhéanamh ar an gceist seo arís agus má cuirtear in iúl dó go mb'fhearr le formhór mhuintir an oileáin dul ar aghaidh fé mar atá leagaithe amach ag an Aire faoi láthair, beidh mé sásta. Ach, tá mé chomh cinnte agus atá mé ag caint annseo, go bhfuil an ceart agam agus go bhfuighidh an tAire amach gur fearr leo leanúint den ord fiúntais a cuireadh faoi bhrághaid Oifig na nOibreacha bPoiblí. Ní mise amháin atá a tarraing an t-ord fiúntais sin amach. Bhí innealtóir as an Roinn Iascaigh san áit agus labhair sé le formhór na daoine ann. Do chur sé tuarascáil isteach—ceapainn go bhfuil cóip den tuarascáil sin in Oifig na Gaeltachta— in Oifig na nOibreacha bPoiblí agus mhol sé fé mar atáim-se ag moladh anois.

Tá dualgas ar Theachta Dála labhairt in am nuair atá airgid á chaithimh ar oibreacha poiblí in a nDáil Cheantair má cheapainn síad gur chóir an t-airgead sin a chaitheamh níos tairbhí. Nílimse ag rá gur airgid amú é, fé mar a ceaptar fé láthair. Déanfaidh sé leas do na trí áiteacha sin. Mar sin féin, ní chuirfidh sé as do na hinnealtóirí nó d'oifigigh Oifig na nOibreacha bPoiblí ná d'Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng athrú do dhéanamh má tá síad sásta go ndéanfadh an t-airgid sin feabhas agus go dtiocfadh i bhfad níos mó tairbhe as an airgead sin chaiteamh ar bhealach eile. Sin é an rud atáim ag iarraidh ar an Aire a dhéanamh, agus nílim thar réasúin im' chuid iarratas faoi sin.

Ar an taobh seo den Teach do rinneamar roint mhaith cainte faoi thionscal min fhéir i nGleann na Muaidhe i gContae Mhuigheo. Níl an oiread sin eolais agam faoi sin is atá ag an Teachta Seán Ó Loingsigh, ach tá an oiread sin faighte amach agam ó cuireadh stop leis an tionscal seo anuraidh gur féidir liom a rá gurb dearmad mór stop a chur leis an obair sin.

Dúirt an tAire Talmhaíochta narbh fhéidir min fhéir a tháirgeadh go tairbheach ar chostas a cuirfeadh ar chumas feirmeorí an mhin fhéir sin a cheannach. Tá ceist le chur agam faoi sin agus seo í an cheist. Conas is féidir le Comhlucht Siúicre Éireann an rud céanna do dhéanamh? Nach mbainfeadh na constaicí agus na deacraí céanna leo siud? Más féidir leis an dream sin an rud seo a tháirgeadh agus é do chur ar an marga i gcoinne an rud a tugtar isteach ó thíortha eile, is féidir linn a rá gur stopadh an scéim go ró-thapaidh agus go raibh an Rialtais seo ró-mhífhoghideach nuair a chur síad stop leis an scéim sin i nGleann na Muaidhe.

Ar ndóigh, tá an méid seo le rá agam —agus níl aon difríocht idir an rud seo agus rudaí eile atá déanta ag an Rialtas céana seo ó thainig siad in oifig dhá bliain ó shoin, tá níos mó fonn orthu an bhlás do bhaint d'aon scéim a cuireadh ar bun ag an sean-Rialtas ná leas a dhéanamh don phobal. Bhí sé sin le sonnrú sa rud a rabhas ag caint faoi ar dtús, obair mhuirí ins na hoileán. Bhí sé le sionnrú freisin i dtaobh scéim báid don Ghaeltacht. Ní dhéanfaidh mé móran cainte fén scéim sin anois mar, fé mar adúirt an tAire Rialtais Aitiúil, baineann sé níos mó leis an Roinn Iascaigh agus beidh caoi againn caint a dhéanamh fé'n scéim sin nuair a thiocfas Meastachán na Roinne Iascaigh os cóir na Dála. Biodh sin mar atá, meabhraíonn sé rud eile dhom.

D'aoinne a raibh cúram air i leith aon chuid den Ghaeltacht, tá fhios aige go raibh deacracht amháin ann i gconaí i dtaobh na hiascaireachta agus do b'é sin nach raibh sé ar chumas mhuintir na Fíor-Ghaeltachta an léar mór airgid a chur le chéile, is gá le bád iascaigh nua a cheannach. Cosnaíonn sé anois £8,000 ar a laghad. Ar ndóigh, tá iallach ar gach iarrthóir 10 per cent. a chur síos mar réamh-íocaíocht. Baineann an deacracht sin le mo Dháil Cheantar féin. Bhí mé ag caint le Teachtaí ó Dún naGall, Ciarraighe agus áiteanna eile mar a bhfuil an fhadhb céanna le sárú acu.

Do cuireadh an fhadhb sin ós cóir an Rúnaí Parlaiminte, an Teachta Seán Ó Loingsigh, agus, ón gciondáil airgid a fuair sé ón Chiste Forbartha Náisiúnta, bhí sé lán-tsásta ar an bpointe aon chabhair a thabhairt a bheadh mar thairbhe don scéim seo agus as sin a tháinig scéim báid don Ghaeltacht. Le déanaí, bhí an tAire Talmhaíochta agus an Rúnaí Parlaiminte ag déanamh gaisce as an scéim ins na Ceallach Beaga.

Ba mhaith liom anois, ós rud é go bhfuil an tAire ar ais in a shuíochán agus go bhfuil an plean i bhfeidhm chun airgead a sholáthair ar mhaith le iascaraí ins an bhFíor-Ghaeltacht, fiafraí dhe an dtiurbhfadh sé cúram do sheirbhís eile maidir le leas mhuintir na Gaeltachta, sé sin, scéim leictreachais a sholáthar le hagaidh ceanntracha bochta, iargcúlta. Tá áiteacha mar an gCeathrú Rua im aigne agam; ní bhéinn i ndon cur síos go mionn ar Thír Chonaill, Muigheo, Ciarraidhe, Corcaigh ná áiteacha mar sin, nó ar céard a theastaíonn uathu. Séard atá mé a iarraidh ar an Aire féachaint isteach ins an gceist seo, agus cuirim ceantar na Ceathrú Rua go háirithe ós a chóir, agus, freisin, na ceantair taobh thiar dí. Ba mhaith liom dá mbeadh sé i ndon scrú éigin a dhéanamh chun scéim leictreachais a sholáthar dóibh annsin.

Tá fhios ag an Aire faoi Scéim Báid na Gaeltachta. Sé an rud atá mé a chur os a chóir anois—agus, bail o Dhia air, bíonn cuma na héifeachtúlachta air amanntaí—go dtiurbhfadh sé cabhair do na ceantair iargcúlta seo le go spáinfear dóibh gur féidir feidhm agus úsáid a bhaint as scéim leictreachais. Tá fhios agam gurab é an chéad fhreagra a gheobhas mé ar mholadh ar bith den tsórt seo ná go bhfuil léictreachas le fáil ag áit ar bith ina dteastaíonn sé óna daoine. Ach tagann rud beag psychology isteach annsin, go mór mhór ins na ceanntair Fíor-Ghaeltachta. Tá fhios agam go bhfuil díombáidh ar na daoine ins na ceanntracha sin anois nuair nár ghlac siad leis an scéim leictreachais seo an chéad uair a cuireadh ar fáil í. Tá an leictreachas ag a gcómharsa anois agus níl sé acu fhéin. Sé an rud a thárla i dtosach go raibh scáth ar na daoine seo roimh rud nua. Ach nuair a spáinfear dóibh nach gcosnaíonn sé an iomarca, agus go bhfuil maitheas ann, glacfaidh siad leis. Tá mé sásta go nglacfaidh muintir an Cheathrú Rua leis an leictreachas anois ós rud é go bhfaca siad ag obair é. Sé sin m'iarratas ar an Aire—go gcuirfidh sé an leictreachas ar fáil do cheanntrecha líonmhara Fíor-Ghaeltachta, mar an Cheathrú Rua. Ní dóigh liom go gcosnódh sompla amháin an iomarca airgid.

Is minic a deirtear go bhfuil níos mó ná easba oibre ag cur as do na daoine seo. Tá sé ráite freisin go dtréigeann siad an obair nuair a cuirtear ar fáil dóibh í agus go mbailíonn siad leo go Sasana. Tá fhios ag an Aire Tailte gur fhág buachaillí agus cailíní fostaíocht a bhí acu faoi'n Roinn sin tar éis cúpla blian agus gur bhailigh siad leo go Sasana. Caithfear an cheist a chur, nuair a thárlaíonn rud mar sin: an gcruthaíonn sé sin nach easba oibre ar fad atá ag cur as dóibh? Tá fhios againn gur daoine óga ar fad beagnach atá i gceist. Caithfear an cheist a chur ansin: an é an fonn a bhí orthu an saol a fheiceál, nó an é an saol siamsach a bhí ag teastail uathu? Tá an tuairim eile ann go gcaithfear na siamsaí a sholáthar dóibh ins na ceanntreacha in a bhfuil cónai orthu.

Tugann sé sin mé go poinnte a 4 ins na rudai a lua an tAire ina ráiteas ag tosnú na díospóireachta—Theatre Schemes. Tá roinnt oibre mar sin déanta i dTír Conaill, ach taobh amuigh de sin ceapaim nach bhfuil mórán déanta in aon Ghaeltacht eile.

Tá súil agam nach mbeidh sé i bhfad anois.

Is maith liom é sin a chloisteál ón Aire. Níor thug sé aon mhíon-tuairiscí dúinn faoi, ach b'fhéidir go dtiurbhfaidh sé dúinn, nuair a bheas sé ag cur deire leis an díospóireacht, mion-tuairiscí faoi céard tá in aigne aige mar gheall ar áiteacha mar Mhuigheo, Conamara, Ciarraidhe, Corcaigh agus Rinn ó gCuanach. An mbeidh airgead le fáil ag na daoine seo chun theatre schemes a shóláthar dóibh? Cén cineál scéimeanna a cuirfear ar fáil dóibh—scéimeanna le haghaidh hallaí damhsa, scéimeanna le haghaidh cinemas, scéimeanna le haghaidh amharclann ina mbeidh dramaí, léachtaí, ranganna, agus mar sin de? Cén chaoi a bhfuil sé beartaithe ag an Aire na hallaí seo a stiúradh. Ba mhaith liom, go mór mhór, eolas a fháil an mbeidh sé mar choinníoll nach mbeidh cabhair ar bith le fáil ag aon cheanntar nach mbeidh coiste fuinniúil aitiúil, i mbun na hallaí seo? Agus má déantar coinníoll den tsórt sin ní féidir le haon Teachta a rá nach coinníoll réasúnta é. Ní dóigh liom gur cheart halla costasach a chur suas in aon áit mura mbíonn dream áirithe a thógfadh cúram an halla sin orra féin.

Má tá aon bhunús leis an tuairim nach leor obair a sholáthar ins na ceanntracha sin ach go gcaithfí, freisin, an saol a dhéanamh níos siamsúla agus más é seo an freagra air, molam a bhfuil molta ag an Aire faoi agus beidh cuidiú le fáil aige agus ag a chuid scéimeanna se bhFíor-Ghaeltacht. Beidh stop leis an gcaint ansin, nuair a soláthrófar siamsa chomh maith le hobair, nach bhfuil saol siamsúil acu. Pé scéal é, tá fhios ag muintir na Gaeltachta go bhfuil deiseanna an lae nua níos fearr anois ná mar a bhíodar, go bhfuil busanna le fáil agus carranaí ag a lán daoine, agus nach bhfuil aon áit sa tir, cibé áit ina bhfuil sé suite, chomh iargcúlta agus a bhí sé blianta ó shoin.

Ní fheicim aon rud nua ar an liosta seo, is cuma cén scéim atá i gceist: "road schemes, piped water schemes, sewerage schemes," agus mar sin de. Bhíodar go léir ann nuair a bhí an Oifig faoi stiúradh Sheáin Ó Loingsigh. Tá sórt mearbhall orainn i dtaobh obair na Gaeltachta. I dtosach, bhí Seirbhísí na Gaeltachta ann. Bhí scéimeanna speisialta fén Roinn Talmhaíochta ann. Bhí scéimeanna speisialta fén Roinn Oideachais agus Ranna Stáit eile ann, a bhain leis an bhFíor-Ghaeltacht. Ansin, cuireadh Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng ar bun le go ndéanfaí cómh oibriú, comhoimiú idir na Seirbhísí seo ar fad. Anois cuireann an Rialtas seo Aireacht na Gaeltachta ar bun. Tá fhios agam nach féidir morán a rá ar an gceist seo ar an Vóta seo, ach is fíor a rá go bhfuil sórt mearbhall ar gach duine sa tír a bhfuil spéis aige sa bhFíor-Ghaeltacht faoin oiread seo Oifigí agus instruimintí atá ag freastal ar an nGaeltacht. Ba mhaith an rud é dá dtagadh an Aireacht seo i bhfeidhm go luath agus dá dtógadh sé faoina sgiathán gach ceann de na Seirbhísí atá luaite agam agus go ndéanfaí comhdhlúthú ar na Seirbhísí seo ar fad. Ní raibh an tAire Oideachais i ndon aon treoir ná aon stiúradh a thabhairt dúinn i dtaobh céard atá ceaptha a dhéanamh fén Aireacht nua. Ní raibh sé i ndon a rá fiú amháin go dtógfaí Seirbhísí na Gaeltachta faoi na sgiathán ná a rá cá raibh an Fhíor-Ghaeltacht nó a dtabharfaí na seacht bparóistí sa bhFíor-Ghaeltacht isteach fén Aireacht nó na ceanntair a bheadh ann, agus d'fág sé fé aineolas faoin gceist ar fad sinn.

Tá an tagairt sa Vóta seo i bhfad níos leithne ná an Ghaeltacht mar tugann sé isteach na Ceantair Chúnga agus teastaíonn uaim treisiú, nuair a labraim i dtaobh na gCeantar gCúng, ar an gcuid sin díobh ina bhfuil an Ghaeilge beo beathach fós. Tá fhios agam gur oibrigh an oifig seo go héifeachtúil agus go croiúil ar mhaithe leis na ceanntair sin. Mar a dúirt Seán Ó Loingsigh, molaimíd na rudaí maithe atá á dhéanamh ag an oifig agus nach raibh fonn ar an Aire éirí as aon scéim i ngeall air gur thosnaigh an sean-Rialtas an scéim sin cé go raibh fonn air blas nua a thabhairt ar an scéim sin, go mór mhór scéim na mbóithre móra ins na ceanntracha sin. Ach chimíd go bhfuil an tsean-scéim a thosnaigh Séan Ó Loingsigh ann go fóill agus táimíd sásta dá bharr sin. Ach, ar an taobh seo den Teach, cáinimíd go dian agus cáinimíd le roinnt searbhúis freisin faoi go bhfuil sé de dhánaíocht sa chéad dul síos, agus go raibh sé de leataobhachas sa tarna áit, stop a chur le scéim mhór an mhin fhéir, scéim nach raibh ach tosnaithe. Ní féidir aon rud a rá faoi sin ach gur mór an náire gur chuireadar stop leis an scéim sin.

Deputies who have contributed to this debate so far on both sides of the House have offered certain criticisms and certain suggestions as to what it is best to do to preserve the Gaeltacht, to further the interests of the people living in the Gaeltacht areas. When Deputy Jack Lynch was appointed to this office, Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng, he visited Mayo and carried out some inquiries and investigations as to what was best to do and what could be done to help the people in that part of the country. I understand that he also visited many other areas. I will give him this credit, that I believe he was quite sincere and in earnest in trying to do something for the people in the congested areas. His work was hampered by lack of money.

I feel that if the new Ministry is established, and I understand that a new Ministry is being established for this purpose, unless vast sums of money are made available for the various schemes, all our talk is only a waste of time. Successive Irish Governments have given very little attention to the congested areas. They have been only nibbling at the problem, and, as Deputy Brennan said here to-day, we now see the results of that. Our population is declining and it is worthy of note that it is from these areas, in the main, that we have so much emigration. It is generally recognised that people who live in those mountainous districts and in those congested areas are a hard-working people. Because of the neglect that went on for such a long number of years, and because of the rates of wages being paid in England and in the U.S.A., these people have got out and it is very doubtful if they will ever come back.

I feel that colossal sums of money would have to be poured into industries of the type mentioned by Deputy Jack Lynch which will give regular employment and well paid employment to these people. The fishing industry has been referred to more than once in this House and I have referred to the neglect of that industry along the western seaboard. Deputy Jack Lynch, in his time, did make some provision for facilities for fishing for the Gaeltacht areas. Our part of the country, however, gained little or nothing at all from that provision.

The Deputy must never have been in or around Achill.

I know that one individual benefited all right.

One individual?

Indirectly, some other individuals benefited through him, but as I see the position there, and I was in Achill over the week-end, it was only the one individual who really benefited. As a result of that, however, some 20 or 30 other people benefited indirectly. There is a lot more to be done and I am sure that Deputy Jack Lynch, when he was in office as Parliamentary Secretary, and if he had plenty of money, would have done many of these things. Successive Ministers for Finance have allowed this situation to continue over a number of years and Deputy Jack Lynch admitted as much in his speech here to-day.

Like the people I represent, I am very suspicious of all this talk about the great attention that is to be devoted to the people of the Gaeltacht areas. Like them, I will wait and see what will be done, but I am afraid that money will not be made available in sufficient amounts to meet this emergency that exists. Throwing our minds back over what has been done in 30 years of native Government, it reminds one of bringing along a fire brigade when a building has been burned out. I certainly hope that, if this new Ministry is established, it will tackle this problem in terms of human beings and what they mean to this country; that they will make up their minds that the people in these areas are intelligent people and cannot be fooled for long.

People in the Gaeltacht areas benefited from housing schemes and other little schemes like that, but the problem was never tackled in the way in which it should have been tackled. The people opposite are very critical to-day, but they had a long time to carry out these schemes and they did not do anything about them.

There was quite a lot done.

Still the Gaeltacht is growing less and less.

There were some things done, but it will be conceded by any reasonably-minded person that the fact that there is so much emigration is proof positive that there still remains a whole lot more to be done. Money was spent on lavish schemes and there was a lot of talk about the grass-meal scheme and criticism of the fact that it was done away with and a new scheme substituted. I know something about these schemes. I have been to Glenamoy on several occasions and, as a businessman, I doubt if it would be possible, with all the goodwill in the world, to make the grass-meal scheme a success. I think that some of the most disgraceful things that ever happened in this country happened in that Glenamoy area.

When Deputy Jack Lynch was speaking here this morning, I asked his permission to put a question. He kindly yielded to me and I asked him what was the price per acre that was paid to the people who owned the blanket bog. He said he was not in a position to give me much information on that subject. He did say, however, that the territory taken over in connection with the grass-meal scheme was an area of something over 2,000 acres of blanket bog. That was handed over by Bord na Móna to Min Fhéir Teoranta. Now, when I say that something disgraceful and something discreditable took place in that area, I want to point out that the land was taken over from the poor people in these congested areas by compulsory measures at as low as 12/6 and 15/- per acre. I wonder if the landlords of old, whom we are so fond of denouncing here, and whom we are so fond of criticising, ever did anything worse than that. I do not think they did.

It may be suggested that one could appeal to another authority if one was not satisfied with the price. An individual came along in his car and interviewed the owner of one of these holdings—a holding of 500 or 600 acres or 1,000 acres of rough mountain. He told that farmer living on the mountainside: "Bord na Móna propose to take up this land and they will pay you 17/6 or £1 per acre. If you do not like that, you can appeal to the Referee or to some other gentleman." Mark you, the other gentleman was probably sitting outside in the car and, if one did appeal, one probably got another 2/6 per acre. It would be interesting for Deputies to take the trouble to inquire into the price that was paid for land so acquired and the disgraceful treatment meted out to those people about whom some Deputies talked so glibly here this morning and in whom we are all supposed to be so interested.

The present Government have done nothing to remedy the situation. This land was acquired compulsorily, in the main, by Bord na Móna under the Fianna Fáil Government. Why it is the present Minister has not done something to compensate those people I do not know. The value of land has increased substantially since the emergency period. The price of stock has increased. Owners of good land have benefited. Similarly, this mountain land has increased in value, particularly when one considers the fuel situation to-day. Turf is becoming more and more valuable. Coal has again increased in price and it seems to me that the people will be obliged to use more and more turf. The price of turf has increased substantially and the value of turf has gone up considerably since the emergency period.

It is a shame that successive native Governments should have treated our Gaelic-speaking people, people about whom we have heard so much all down the years, in such a disgraceful fashion. I doubt very much if this matter has ever been raised before in this House and I propose to deal with it even more fully at a later date. It is sad to think that under foreign rule these people were driven on to the mountainside, that they held on to their faith, the Irish language and Irish culture through years of adversity and they are now treated in this scandalous manner by a native Government. I want to warn the present Government that, unless something is done to remedy the situation, I shall have a lot more to say about it at a later date. The Fianna Fáil Deputies need not laugh. They must take responsibility for their share in this discreditable act. It is very wrong that they should laugh.

They are laughing at the threats. Táim ag gáire ag an Teachta a bheith ag caint agus gan tada a dhéanamh.

Fianna Fáil Deputies must be aware of these things and Deputy Ó Briain should be aware of them, remembering the office he held in the last Government. He did nothing about it and I think he will agree with me that it was grossly unfair to offer these people 17/6 or £1 per acre. That shows very little recognition of the manner in which these people stood by their country in times of trial.

The change-over from grass meal to afforestation at Glenamoy has brought benefits to the area and I do not propose to pay any attention to any scare-mongering that goes on here in relation to that scheme. More people are employed to-day at Glenamoy than at any time during the operation of the grass-meal scheme. I have not got up-to-date figures but I speak from my personal experience. I think the future of that area will be far more secure with a good afforestation programme rather than grass-meal activity. That is the belief of the people themselves. They are delighted to have an afforestation scheme.

It must be appreciated that Bord na Móna have been very active in parts of the Erris country and, when the turbary is cut away, the forestry people will then move in. Bord na Móna will leave the ground in a suitable condition for the forestry people to start planting operations.

The Deputy may not discuss forestry on this Vote.

I do not intend to go into it fully. I mention it briefly because it has, I submit, some bearing on the activities of the grass-meal project and that was referred to at length by other Deputies this morning. I am convinced that the little industries in operation in these Gaeltacht areas have been very beneficial because they bring ready cash weekly into the homes of those who have to try to eke out an existence on small, uneconomic holdings. People on holdings of £2, £3 or £5 valuation cannot sell stock or farm produce every week in the year. It is only once or twice a year they have something to sell and it is impossible for them to provide themselves with the necessaries of life if there is not some regular cash income. Enough has not been done in that direction and not enough attention has been given to these things. Indeed, I think it is true to say that many of the people who engaged in these little industries have left the country and have done better in England and America; it is unlikely they will ever come back because they have very little confidence in native Government so far as proper treatment of the western areas is concerned.

There is, I understand, a day-old chick scheme with special prices——

The Deputy will get an opportunity to raise that subject on another Estimate.

I may. I will bow to your ruling.

The Minister in charge of this Vote has no responsibility for the day-old chick scheme.

I accept your ruling, Sir, but various suggestions have been made here in connection with schemes to bring benefits to the congested areas and the Gaeltacht areas and I thought I might suggest there would be an extension of that. The glasshouse scheme has been referred to by other Deputies. Regardless of what anybody else thinks about it, my personal opinion is that there is room for expansion in that direction.

Hear! Hear!

And if money is spent on the extension and provision of such glasshouses in the Gaeltacht areas, it is my opinion that there is room for more activity there. I would further state that what has been done in that direction has been good and useful. If it has had no other value, it has been of educational value. That is my view and I do not mind who hears it.

I would like to see an extension of the glasshouse scheme. I spent quite a lot of my time in the vicinity of the North Wall and other ports, and I have seen there the thousands of crates of foreign tomatoes imported into this country. We have now very good technical advice. We have had an opportunity of testing this scheme out. Whether it is Fianna Fáil's scheme or anybody else's scheme, if I see any good in it, I would like to commend it to the people. I should like, therefore, to recommend to the new Minister, whoever he may be, that there would be a further expansion of this work. Furthermore, I feel that the tomatoes we grow in this country are of a type superior to any we import, and I believe that, not alone should we supply the requirements of the home market, but we should be able with goodwill and co-operation to have an export market for tomatoes.

I will finish on the note I struck at the outset. I am not satisfied with the treatment meted out of our people— the people who really count in this country, the hard-working people in the rural areas and particularly in the congested areas. They are the descendants of those people who were always in the fight for freedom. They are the descendants of the people who stood by Davitt in the Land League movement. We hear a lot of lip service paid to these people, but when it comes to providing regular work and well-paid employment for these people, we find they are neglected and forgotten. It does not surprise me one bit, therefore, that they have quit the land; and as things are, I do not expect them back.

It is well for this Government to make up its mind that this is an emergency—that little or no attention was paid to this matter by previous Governments. As I said before, I will give credit for anything that has been done, but the proof is that the population is declining, and the number of people who can speak Irish to-day, in these areas at least, is less than it was 20, 30 or 40 years ago. The Government should treat this matter as an emergency, because, as I pointed out, they are dealing with human beings, and the more time that elapses before this matter is treated in the way it should, the greater will be the difficulty of putting it right.

Tháinig an Meastachán seo orainn gan choinne. Níor airíomar go dtí an mhaidin seo go mbeadh sé ar siúl maidin inniu.

Is dóish liom go raibh sé socraithe.

Má bhí, ní raibh a fhios agamsa agus ba chóir go mbeadh a fhios agam.

Is dóigh liom go raibh sé socraithe leis an Teachta Ó Loingsigh.

Thuigeamar go leanfaí le Meastachán na Roinne Tailte go dtí go mbeadh deireadh leis an díospóireacht air agus ansin go leanfaí ar aghaidh le Seirbhísí na Gaeltachta agus go dtógfaí an Meastachán seo ina dhiaidh.

Maidir leis an Meastachán seo, tá £2,830 dá lorg le haghaidh Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng. Is dóigh liom gur airgead amú an tairgead sin. Táim sásta, ón méid aduirt an tAire linn ina ráiteas, nach bhfuil aon obair dá laghad dá dhéanamh san oifig seo. Nílim ag fáil aon locht ar na pearsain atá ag obair ar fhoirinn na hoifige. Ba mhaith liom go dtuigfí é sin go soiléir. Tá an tAire atá freagarthach don Dáil don oifig seo i bhfeighil Aireachta eile atá anthábhachtach ar fad i saol na tíre agus ní bheadh sé ábalta, dá mbeadh fonn air, aon chúram ar fónamh a thabhairt d'obair na hoifige seo. Táimid ar an dtaobh seo den Tigh an mhíshásta toisc go gcreidimíd nach bhfuil aon rud dá laghad dá dhéanamh ag an Aire chun treoir agus stiúradh a thabhairt d'fhoirinn na hoifige seo.

Ní dúirt an tAire aon rud ina ráiteas a chruthódh dúinn go bhfuil aon obair sa bhreis déanta nó beartaithe mar mhaithe leis an nGaeltacht thar mar bhí socair nuair a tháinig an t-athrú Rialtais dhá bhliain ó shoin.

Tá rud beag amháin maidir le hallaí drámaíochta a thógáil sa nGaeltacht agus is dóigh liom nach bhfuil i gceist ach halla amháin i dTír Chonaill atá á chur suas d'aisteoirí Ghaoth Dobhair. Cad mar gheall ar na ceantracha eile? An féidir leis an Aire a rá an bhfuil aon éileamh ar na hallaí sin ós na ceantracha úd agus an bhfuil aon bheartas ullamh dóibh?

Táimid sásta nach bhfuil obair ar bith déanta ag an oifig seo i gcaitheamh na bliana seo caite agus táim féin sásta, freisin, nach bhfuil suim dá laghad ag an Aire féin in obair nár hoifige seo. Thugas fé ndeara nár dhein an tAire tagairt ar bith don Aireacht nua atá bearthaithe a chur ar bun don Ghaeltacht. Ní dhéanfaidh an Aireacht sin an gnó mar leithscéal don Aire nuair a bheidh sé ag freagairt na díospóireachta seo.

Níl a fhios againn cá bhfuilimid nó conas atá an scéal maidir leis an nGaeltacht. Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil a fhios ag an Rialtas féin cá bhfuilid. Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil aon phlean deimbnitheach socair ag an Rialtas. Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil suim ar bith ag an gcuid is mó de lucht an Rialtais sa Ghaeltacht ná in aithbheochaint na Gaeilge. B'fhéidir go bhfuil beirt nó triúr de chomhaltaí an Rialtais go bhfuil suim éigin acu ann. An tAire atá le bheith i bhfeighil Aireacht na Gaeltachta, mar a dúradh linn anseo tamall ó shoin, táim sásta go bhfuil suim aige sin sa scéal agus go ndéanfaidh sé a dhícheall chun na hoibre a chur chun cinn dá bhfaigheadh sé an chaoi agus an t-airgead chuige ón Rialtas. Cé gur thréig sé a lán de na cuspóirí a bhí aige tráth, im thuairmse, táim sásta im aigne go bhfuil an fear san dílis fós do chúis na Gaeilge.

Nílim ag fáil aon locht ar na hoifigigh cliste ábalta atá fostaithe in Oifig na Gaeltachta. Dhéanfaidís san an obair dá bhfaighdís an treoir. Táim ag fáil locht ar an Aire nár thug aon treoir don fhoirinn sin.

Dá bhrí sin, mar adeirim, tá mé míshásta leis an míniú a thug an tAire dúinn. Ní haon mhaitheas dúinn anso bheith ag caint ná bheith ag moladh scéimeanna mar seo ná mar siúd. Ní chreidim, mar leduine amháin, go gcuirfí aon tsuim iontu. Fanfaimid go bhfeicfimid.

Fiafraím den Aire anois an féidir leis insint dúinn, go macánta neamhbhalbh, cathain a bheidh Aireacht na Gaeltachta ag obair, agus cad iad na cúramaí atá beartaithe ag an Rialtas a chur ar an Aire agus ar an Aireacht sin nuair a bheidh sé ag obair.

As I understand it, this Vote is for an office that is simply and solely a co-ordinating office and, as such, can only study plans submitted to it from an inter-departmental committee and, having studied and approved of those plans, can then do no more than urge the relevant Department to proceed with the work planned.

As usual, we are treated from the Opposition Benches to a spate of oratory to the effect that anything that has been done since the advent of this Government has been the result of planning during the previous Government and that no planning at all has been done or implemented since this Government came into office. It is a pity that that kind of political propaganda should be smeared across the effort of a co-ordinating office such as this.

Most of Deputy Lynch's speech on the Estimate was devoted to a renewed and continued caoining about Min Fhéir Teoranta, the grass-meal project in Glenamoy in my constituency. The Government are satisfied, and were satisfied, as a result of full and exhaustive inquiries into the operation of Min Fhéir Teoranta, that it was not a practical proposition.

That was decided by three civil servants who never set foot in Glenamoy.

If Deputy Lynch says that that decision was reached by three civil servants who never set foot in Glenamoy, I refer him to Volume 151 of the Official Report, column 1512, where the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Mr. Norton, replied to a supplementary question by Deputy Calleary as to why adjacent bog was not used for the experiments that were going on in the Glenamoy area. Mr. Norton said:—

"That goes to the whole economic roots of the scheme. An examination by the committee convinced the committee, convinced me and convinced the Government (1) that there is no home market for grass meal——"

Which has proved wrong.

I prefer to take the evidence of Deputy O'Hara who spent a considerable time in his own business trying to persuade people around him and, as far as he could extend his market, to buy grass meal and they would not do it.

Would the Deputy take the evidence of factory results since?

The Minister's reply continues:—

"(2) that there is no evidence of any export market being available——"

Which is also wrong.

"——and (3) that the price at which grass meal could be produced by Min Fhéir Teoranta was so high that the company would start off, at the beginning of its career, with a substantial loss and that it could not hope even to get rid of its products unless by muscling in on other companies which are at present producing grass meal."

The finding was based entirely on erroneous premises.

I have no doubt that the hand-picked directors of Min Fhéir Teoranta, about whose departure, I think, the major portion of this lamentation is concerned, had ample opportunity of coming before this committee. I do not know whether they did or not but I am sure that the committee would not conclude its findings without bringing the directors and such other people as would be interested before them to give evidence. If the result of the finding of the committee on that evidence was to close down or to stay any further work in the production of grass meal, it must be quite clear to any reasonable person that, on the evidence, the directors of Min Fhéir Teoranta failed to convince the committee or the Government that there was any prospect of its successful continuation.

In column 1515 of Volume 151, Deputy Lemass asked:—

"Would the Minister consider consulting the directors of the company and those who have worked on the spot, to see if they agree with the conclusions of the civil servants who condemn them?"

Deputy Norton replied:—

"When I consulted the officials of my Department, asking who was responsible for this scheme in the first instance, I could find no one to stand over it."

I will accept responsibility and I will stand over it.

The natural conclusion to be taken from that reply of Deputy Norton's at that time was that this scheme was proceeded with in spite of expert advice in relation to blanket bog and to blanket bog cultivation.

With expert advice —economic expert advice and proven economic expert advice.

On the question of employment in that particular area, when Min Fhéir Teoranta ceased to function, there were 29 people employed. Under the present scheme there are over 70 people employed and that at a very initial stage of its production, a little over a year, while the grass-meal activity could utilise only up to 29 at the time when they stopped work and at the time when the grass-meal scheme was in operation for over two years——

That is ridiculous.

——practically three years.

It was not in operation 12 months when it was killed. Why do you not talk facts if you talk at all?

Grass meal was not killed. Grass meal, as Deputy Lynch knows, in the Glenamoy area, was situated, against expert advice, between the villages of Aughoos and Glenamoy for the express purpose of bringing those people back into the ranks of the Fianna Fáil Party——

You have lost them now.

——with hand-picked directors who nominated the workers.

Politics were unknown either to me or the directors. The manager's politics were unknown.

I am not concerned with the manager. I am talking about directors. I know them and Deputy Lynch knows them and he used politics.

That is why it was ended—because it was thought Fianna Fáil workers were there. It is obvious now.

Deputy Lynch knows well that that is not the reason.

False figures should not be used.

Deputy Lindsay, without interruption.

I am satisfied that the cessation of the grass-meal scheme was correct and that the present operations going on there at the behest of the Department of Agriculture and the Forestry Division are the correct thing for that particular area. Not alone am I convinced of it but the people are satisfied that it is the correct thing. Once this gets under way, as it will with the passage of time, the people will be further convinced that projects undertaken as a result of careful planning and careful consideration will in the long run be in the best interests of the people amongst whom they are situated rather than projects which are directed there for political purposes and for no other basis in economic or geographical fact.

Most of the work of Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng in detail falls under the headings of other Estimates. Perhaps, when he is replying, the Minister will be able to tell us that Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng will come under the aegis of the new Gaeltacht Ministry when it is put into operation and, as such, will in all probability have a greater co-ordinating effect.

The things in which we are interested in congested areas are greater amenities by way of roads, drainage and forestry in however small a way and even as low as shelter belts. The really big thing with which this office and the new Ministry should preoccupy themselves is the fishing industry. Apart from one project, nothing has happened in the constituency of North Mayo from the time of the institution of this office. People looked for piers and slips. Examinations were carried out. Visits were made. Then there were reexaminations and further visits. They are still there with the exception of about three or four which have moved forward to some extent and which, we hope, will move to a satisfactory conclusion in the shortest possible time.

As I said at the beginning, this is purely a co-ordinating office. As such, I think it is entitled to the best support this House can give it in a nonpolitical way. If Deputies are putting forward a scheme for any area—be it in any constituency from Donegal to Cork—that scheme should be to the benefit of the particular area in which it is proposed to carry it out. Apart from fishing, knitwear has been mentioned but knitwear would more properly arise on the Estimate for Gaeltacht Services, so I will refrain from mentioning that subject now. We all look forward to the incorporation of this office in the new Ministry. If it is not, we hope it will have a close association with the new Ministry and that its work will proceed with somewhat greater speed, if possible, and along sound lines and that it will not in any way be thwarted by political prejudices.

I missed the early part of this debate and the two contributions I have just heard came from two Deputies from the constituency that is very much to the fore in this Estimate here to-day. I am sorry I missed the earlier contributions but I would not have missed the two contributions I have just heard for any money. I would not have missed hearing Deputy Lindsay—or, should I say, the unofficial Minister for External Affairs from North Mayo—elaborate and talk at length to try and convince his constituents that the grass-meal project which the Coalition Government shut down—because, as we have now found out, it was employing labourers who were Fianna Fáil——

No such point was made.

Deputy Lindsay made the statement that the people employed there were hand-picked Fianna Fáil supporters. At another stage he changed his tune somewhat and said that the grass-meal project was started in order to secure Fianna Fáil support in that area. Either way, is it not pretty clear that the main reason for closing down the grass-meal project in North Mayo was on a political basis and a political reason?

I had looked on this development in North Mayo with very much hope that it was going to do, not only for that part of Mayo but for all of the West from Donegal to Cork, something really worth while. I hoped that it would keep people, who must now emigrate, in gainful employment and in happy homes. I have seen this project many times during the short period it was in existence. Looking at the grass plots that were laid down, the different grasses used, the different systems of fertilisation, the manner in which all of these were carried out and the results that are to be seen there even to-day, despite the fact that it has been neglected since this Government came into office, I am thoroughly convinced that this country was backing a winner in backing the development of the grass-meal project in the bogs of the West.

We have heard trotted out here the arguments that were used at an earlier stage by various Ministers justifying the closing down of this project. We have heard it said we could not produce the grass meal at an economic price. That is entirely untrue. According to the estimates and the estimated pricing on a commercial basis carried out by the people responsible for that project down in Mayo, the estimated cost of production per ton was in the region of £23: the then commercial market price here was £33 and later it went up to £34 per ton. We also had the argument used that there was no market at home for more than what we are now producing in our other plants.

Again, it is untrue to say it and there is no evidence whatever to support the statement that the home market could not absorb more than 8,000 odd tons of grass meal per year. That was the position when this matter was being examined and, since then, that argument that the home market was already fully supplied, has been proved wrong. The market since then has expanded and I have no doubt whatever that if grass meal were generally available at lower prices, at the prices at which those people in Mayo could have produced it, we would be using four times 8,000 tons instead of the 8,500 reckoned to be the full potential of the Irish market.

Then we have the other arguments used that we were not concerned with the production of grass meal for the export market or that we did not look for one. That argument was entirely without proof and there were no facts to sustain it. The position, at the time this company was set up and this project got under way, was that we did not have enough grass meal in this country and it was unlikely that we would produce sufficient for the home market for some considerable time. Therefore, it would have been a waste of time at that juncture to look for an export market for something which we could consume here.

The usual procedure with businesses started in this country is, first, to see what the home market can consume, and, having got to that stage of supplying the home market, then to satisfy ourselves as to whether other outlets can be got for the goods and that it will be an economic proposition to export them. That was never necessary in this case, and it would not have been necessary for years to come, but despite that, we had that used as another argument against this proposition by some of the people on the front Government Benches. Three main arguments were used and all three were proved to be groundles and without any proof at all.

The fourth argument came this morning from Deputy Lindsay when he said that it was ended for political reasons. That was the only real argument that has been put up and it is something that the people of North Mayo and the surrounding districts will remember. Apparently, because this was started by Fianna Fáil, it was shot down and that is the only reason why it was stopped. That seems to be the only argument that is being produced by anybody on the Government Benches since the matter came under debate.

It was not suggested by another Deputy from North Mayo, Deputy O'Hara. He did not say it should have been closed down; he did not say it should have been built up, or that it should be continued. He merely took a line which was non-committal and said that forestry had proved a benefit in that scheme. The views of the people in Mayo are quite clear on the matter, as both Deputies O'Hara and Lindsay will know on the occasion of the next general election, when they go back to North Mayo for the votes of the people.

We fought a local election on that issue and we won it.

You did not, because it was not an issue in the local elections at all.

The Deputy often refers to my constituency and the position there.

The Deputy knows what I am talking about.

Perhaps Deputies on both sides of the House will let the Chair say something. What the electors of North Mayo think, or what they will do in a general election, does not arise on this Estimate.

Notice taken that 20 Deputies were not present; House counted, and 20 Deputies being present,

As you have pointed out, a Cheann Comhairle, what the electors of North Mayo will do does not arise on this Estimate, but I am merely referring to what they think on this matter of the grass-meal industry and what a lot of others have thought in similar circumstances in those areas in the Gaeltacht where there are large expanses of bog. It has been said here that the whole setup of this project was brought about and manipulated to the advantage of the Fianna Fáil Party. I want to reiterate what has been interjected by Deputy Lynch when Deputy Lindsay was speaking, that is, that the manager of that project was fully responsible for the recruitment of the labour and his politics were not questioned nor were they known, and I doubt if they are known even yet. Yet we find people like Deputy Lindsay coming in here trying to get himself out of the hole he is in and trying to make a case to the people to whom he must soon return seeking their votes.

The project of growing grass meal, which it was hoped would be of great benefit to the people of that part of North Mayo in the Glenamoy district and which it was hoped would progress and be carried on by the development of more bogs, would have been of great benefit to the people because the land reclaimed would have been handed back to them. That would have been good land when they would get it back. I ask Deputy Lindsay some time, perhaps during the summer vacation, to bring some of the Deputies sitting on the Government Benches down to Glenamoy and the district out as far as Rossport to see some of the lands that have been reclaimed there in the past. The people who reclaimed the land did not have the benefit of modern machinery, nor did they have the benefit of modern science in knowing what fertilisers to use, but by hard work they brought that land back into production.

And you gave them 17/6 an acre for it.

Deputy O'Hara should keep quiet on this subject, because he might find himself sunk in a hole in one of these areas in the next election. Those people, as I said, reclaimed that land, without the aid of modern machinery or modern science, and they have proved that the bogs of Ireland can be reclaimed and be used for production. Just because Fianna Fáil began the work of developing these vast expanses of bog and succeeded in doing it on a worthwhile basis in a very short time and for a small amount of money, the scheme is shot down. But this board, in the short space of its existence, in 12 months' operation, had nearly 200 acres of that 2,400 ready and available for the sowing of grass. In addition, they had finished over two miles of sod-fencing and initial development work had been done on the buildings that were to be constructed. All that was done for a figure of less than £40,000 in a space of less than a year. Let us see what the Department in their wisdom and in the wisdom of the experts who opposed this project which Fianna Fáil instituted notwithstanding that opposition, can do. There were some "crabs" in the Department who believed that this could not be done because they had not thought of it first.

Where is the market?

Will Deputy Donegan, who is so very apt at interrupting, tell us what is the market for grass meal?

I will——

Deputies across the House cannot get away from the fact that this company set up by Fianna Fáil, and as they say now, composed of Fianna Fáil members—I do not agree with that, but let them have their argument—with a Fianna Fáil board of directors, gave us 2,400 acres drained, two miles of sod-fencing done, 200 acres made ready for the sowing of grass, initial preparation made for new buildings to be erected and demonstration plots laid down for vegetables. These things were done within 12 months by people who were allegedly Fianna Fáil, according to Government supporters, for less than £40,000.

Let us now see what the Government has to offer. What are they going to give us? What value will they give the country and the people out of the taxation they are now proceeding to collect? Will they give the same value in return for the people's money which they are going to spend? Will they ever approach the value we got for that £40,000 from the grass-meal company which, in time, would have become an economic unit and would not cost the taxpayers any money?

I am about sick of listening to people from that side of the House, and in particular what galls me is to listen to two Deputies from the constituency who know it well and know the difficulties there and the advantages this scheme would bring.

There are four times as many employed now as under Fianna Fáil.

These Deputies know that this scheme was one for which not only North Mayo has been crying out for generations, but for which the people of the western seaboard and the bogland areas have been hoping, my own county included. That is why I take exception to the closing down of the scheme in North Mayo and that is why I speak of it outside the constituency, as I do. As well as being a scheme for North Mayo, it was also the experimental stage of a scheme that was intended to operate throughout the land. The very people who opposed it are now coming in here, making excuses for themselves to explain away why they did not leave the Government and why they showed so little thought for the benefit of their people as to oppose this scheme which, if it had gone on, would bring back to this country many of those who had left it.

I believed in it; Fianna Fáil believed in it; the people of North Mayo believed in it, and the man in charge of it believed in it. He was not one of those who knew nothing about what he was doing. The manager of that scheme put his heart and soul into it, so much so that he was to be found in a caravan in the heart of this wilderness, and for his office, he used an old bus body. Would you get any civil servants to go down there and live in that manner and give the same service——

Where the civil servants live does not arise on this Estimate.

Very good, Sir. I wanted to refute the suggestion that it was managed by people who did not know anything about it, and I was pointing out that the man who was manager, the sole director of the field work, was a man who knew his job, who had travelled extensively and who had learned all that was to be learned in regard to this matter. He really believed in it and so did a great many others, as we can see now, but, thanks to the Coalition and thanks to their political outlook and manner of weighing things up, not for what good is in them, but for what advantage they may give to Fianna Fáil as the Opposition Party we have this bog closed down. We have closed down a bog of which 2,400 acres had already been drained. On that land to-day, we find roughly 40 head of cattle can get grass of a poor nature, but if the scheme had gone ahead, and had the grass been established as it has been proved it is possible to do, in a few years that land would be capable of maintaining not 40 but roughly 2,000 head of cattle.

Will anybody on the opposite side deny that if that scheme as demonstrated in one bog, were extended through the length and breadth of the land, it would add immensely to the wealth and employment and means of livelihood of the people in congested districts from which the people are at present flying? Surely political considerations should not be allowed to run riot, as has been the case in this instance? Surely trumped up evidence should not be produced in order to condemn something against which the only complaint is that it was started by another political Party? Surely this House has not come to that level, particularly in dealing with the worst-off section of the community? Surely, even yet, we can find men sufficiently interested and sufficiently straightforward on the Government Benches to bring about a change of heart and go ahead with this scheme, in addition to the scheme that all the talk has been made about by Deputy O'Hara this evening? Deputy O'Hara mentioned that there were only 29——

Nineteen, and there are 70 now.

Only 19 workers on the grass-meal project and that there are now 70 working on the new project further down. Does Deputy O'Hara realise that there would be between 100 and 150 men employed on the grass-meal project to-day had this Government not stepped in and blotted it out?

Who said that?

I am saying it—will the Minister deny it?

We are not going to accept your word for it.

I am not a liar, I have not been a liar and I do not intend to be a liar.

I did not call the Deputy a liar, but I am not accepting his word.

Deputy Blaney should be allowed to speak without interruption. If his word is challenged, it may be done only by some other Deputy making a speech later.

Deputy Blaney made a statement and I asked him what authority he had for it. I think that was a very fair question. He said there were 150 men employed on that scheme. I am asking him for his authority for making that statement.

The Minister is entitled to make a speech later and refute Deputy Blaney's statement.

If he is able.

I asked him only for his authority.

Any interruptions, except on points of order, are disorderly.

The Minister did not only ask me where I got my figures. He said he did not accept the figures.

The Deputy will proceed with the discussion on the Estimate.

The Deputy does not wish it to be suggested in this House that he told untruths.

Nobody charged the Deputy with telling lies. What he said was challenged by interruption. The only way the statement of the Deputy can be challenged is through the speech of another Deputy.

It was not just challenged——

The Chair will not allow its statements to be controverted. If a Deputy speaks on his own authority, another Deputy may speak later and refute what was said.

I am afraid I took a different view. However, I shall depart from it. I still maintain that if the grass-meal project had been allowed to continue, not only would there be employment for the 70 men who are there now but there would be employment there for between 100 and 150 men.

Why did the Deputy not think of them before his Party were defeated in the election?

We do not go round promising in one week what we will do in the next week.

Deputy O'Hara has spoken on the Estimate. He might now allow Deputy Blaney to make his statement.

He is unable, because it is very, very sore on him. It is really wiping him out and he is hanging on in that constituency only by the roots of the heather.

You put four Fianna Fáil candidates against me and I beat them all. There were four of you for three seats and I beat you out of it.

You walked in the last time by the skin of your teeth.

There is no skin to our teeth at all.

Four to one and I laid you all out.

Deputy Blaney on the Estimate.

These facts and these figures speak for themselves. If Deputies on the opposite side feel annoyed because these things must be brought to light, that is their hard luck. But it is also the hard luck of the people of that district, 50 or 60 more of whom would be employed to-day were it not for this Government —50 or 60 who would be maintaining their families at home rather than emigrating.

There are 70 now; you had 17.

Seventy as against 100 or 150. Why can we not have both schemes? Why can we not have 150 employed on the grass-meal project and 70 on the other?

Why did the Deputy's Party not think of it before they lost the seat in Mayo?

We cannot put everything right in one day. We do not go round shouting promises and not doing anything. We have no record behind us like this Government have in the short space of time they have been in office, a time during which they should have been doing something for the benefit of the people of the country, particularly those in the congested districts. Let Deputy O'Hara remember that, when he goes back to his constituency. Let him remember it while he is in this House and try to do a little good while he is passing through, because he will never get a chance again.

You had four against me last time and I beat them all.

An old woman with a shawl would beat you.

I can take you all on again——

I am asking Deputy O'Hara to cease interrupting. I shall not ask him again. I have warned Deputy O'Hara and I shall not repeat the warning.

This matter of giving work to the people in the congested and Gaeltacht districts is one about which all Deputies, no matter to what Party they belong, believe something should be done. This grass-meal project was something the extent of which could only be known, the proof of which could only be evidenced, in the years to come. People who knew their business believed in it. There were those who participated in it for the short time it was in existence, who proved by their energy and enthusiasm that they were doing a good job for the West. This Government have proved, by their closing down of this project, that their minds are narrow, that they are corroded in their minds in respect of anything that should be done for the benefit of the people. Their policy in this House is to discredit anything that was started by Fianna Fáil.

The Deputy has said that a half dozen times in different words. He is repeating himself.

Let us leave it for a moment then. Let us leave this grass-meal project and get to the question of providing boats for the Fíor-Ghaeltacht people, to the provision of water and sewerage schemes for the Fíor-Ghaeltacht districts and to those other amenities promised so that the lot of these people might be made a little happier and a little less arduous. Let us consider this scheme for the provision of fishing boats, one of which was launched recently in Killybegs. Another three are, I understand, on the stocks. What I want to know from the Minister is where are these boats going to? Is a second boat coming to the west coast of Donegal, as the Minister reputedly said, or is one going to Galway, one to Cork and one to Kerry?

That would be a matter for the Minister for Agriculture who is responsible for fisheries.

That may be so, but what I am trying to get from the Minister is this: these boats mentioned by the Minister in his opening statement are said to be for the benefit of the people of the Fíor-Ghaeltacht to whom they will pay dividends. I am not disputing that or questioning the fact that they will. What I want to know is if the fishermen of Teelin will get one of the other three boats that are on the stocks? I want to find out where the other three boats will be placed. Will we get a second boat in Donegal? If so, I should like to say something about it. I do not want to say anything about it until I know whether it is so. I have read that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture stated that these three boats will be sent, one each, to Galway, Kerry and Cork. I have also heard that the Minister for Local Government has said one of these boats was going to an island off his own constituency.

I did not say any such thing.

Then Donegal will not get another boat?

None of them is going to Donegal.

Then I have no argument with the Minister in that regard. Fair is fair. We cannot, in Donegal, claim two boats out of four; we have got one already. If there is any possibility of extending this scheme further—I feel sure the Minister will do his bit to see that it will be expanded—I would suggest that more boats be made available to Donegal. Four boats are not enough; they do not constitute even a fair trial of the scheme. I would ask that the Minister would push on with the building of more of these boats so that we might get in Donegal some of the bigger boats that may prove to be the answer to our problem in regard to fishing.

In connection with water supply and sewerage schemes, it is very hard to tie down the Minister responsible for these things. I think the Minister for Local Government is responsible for most of these things, either in his capacity as Minister for Local Government or as the Minister in charge of this Vote. We, in the Donegal County Council, in conjunction with other county councils in Gaeltacht areas, have forwarded, at the request of the Department of Local Government, a number of public amenity schemes for Gaeltacht areas for consideration of the Minister. They were asked for urgently. We were asked to send them in as quickly as possible; in fact we were scarcely given time to formulate our plans. These schemes were forwarded a considerable time ago but, as far as I know, the progress made with them has not been worth talking about. The hurry and haste with which we were asked to submit them is not now evident in the Departments dealing with the plans submitted.

In addition to that, we had, as I mentioned earlier here to the Minister, the question of the definition of the area that will be regarded as Fíor-Ghaeltacht for the purpose of getting these higher grants for water and sewerage. The Minister, although responsible, although carrying out and administering this fund and this scheme, has at the same time washed his hands entirely of deciding what areas will get the grants and what areas will not. I should add that at the outset in regard to this scheme the Minister for Local Government sent to each congested county a list of the electoral divisions or townlands which would be given special consideration by his Department and higher grants for water and sewerage schemes. That list in regard to our county was drawn up, scheduled by the Minister and his Department under his Order or regulation. I take it that at any rate whatever way it came, the present Minister for Local Government had the making of the decision as to which areas were Fíor-Ghaeltacht under this Act and which were not.

My argument with the Minister is that having pointed out to him through our county council that he had omitted one area which is outstandingly Fíor-Ghaeltacht down through the years, we asked him to amend his schedule so as to include this area which we assumed he had overlooked. But after many comings and goings, after questions in the House and letters sent and letters returned, we still have not got that area included in the Minister's scheduled list of areas that are eligible for these increased grants. The result of that may well be that a large regional water scheme which we had hoped to have in operation during the present year will not start this year and cannot start for the reason that although the plans are going ahead and the Minister has indicated that we should prepare the plans and send them up to him, he has not decided whether part of the area which he has not included up to the present will be included in the future, thereby indicating to our council the amount of grant they will get and, in other words, how much money it will cost the ratepayers of Donegal for this scheme.

This regional scheme is in the Fanad peninsula and the area which is regarded by the Minister as non-Fíor-Ghaeltacht is the Fanad West Electoral Division. I have asked him before, and I ask him again, to check with the Department of Education, where he will find all the possible proof of what is Gaeltacht and what is not. He will see beyond doubt that this area of Fanad West is Fíor-Ghaeltacht and as such should be included for the purpose of these additional grants amounting to 66? per cent. of the cost of any of these approved schemes. The Minister did not give this matter fair consideration and I am saying that straight to him, as I have said it elsewhere.

Perhaps the Deputy did not read my reply in concluding the debate on the Estimate for Local Government the other night. I referred to that and replied to the Deputy's question. I said it might be possible to give you the 66? grant when the plans for the scheme were submitted to me.

Will the Minister not agree that the Department of Education has the only useful proof as to what is Gaeltacht and what is not? From the point of view of the educational system in this country, he will have that proof there down through the years in regard to the teachers, the Gaeltacht grants paid out to the children, and so on. All these things will show the Minister that this is a Fíor-Ghaeltacht area and anybody who maintains it is not is regarded as something of an amadán, and the Minister is no amadán as we all know. I feel foolish and ridiculous when I meet people of Fanad West, where the Irish language is still a living language, which it is not in very many other places, and when I tell them or try to tell them that a Department of the Government with a Donegal man at its head, who should know the circumstances and the layout of the county pretty well, is saying their area is not a Fíor-Ghaeltacht area. I often wonder whether they are laughing at me for being codded or whether they are laughing at the Department that has so little knowledge of what is going on in the country. I feel that whatever they are laughing at will not be very funny if these grants are not forthcoming.

For that reason, if for no other reason, I would ask the Minister to get in touch with his colleague in the Department of Education and once and for all find out for himself that this is a Fíor-Ghaeltacht area and not to let his Department officials try to railroad him into giving again the ridiculous decision which he has upheld for a considerable time. I believe he has not got the proper information in this matter and does not know the circumstances; otherwise he could not act in the ridiculous manner in which this thing has been dealt with or be so daft as to take up the position he is taking up at the moment. This scheme is well worth while and I would say the Minister is in favour of and in sympathy with it but it is being knocked on the head for the reason that we do not know how much money it will cost our county council. The Minister can get that information and I would ask him to do so at an early date and save headaches for himself and others in the months to come.

I have drawn attention to these few matters, the schemes in connection with water, sewerage and fishing boats and the grass-meal project. There would, I am sure, be quite a few other matters that could be brought up under this heading but as has been said by somebody else here earlier to-day this seems to be a co-ordinating branch that brings many things together and it is rather difficult to know where it begins and where it ends. It had its beginning under Fianna Fáil and was in the capable hands of the then Parliamentary Secretary, now Deputy Jack Lynch. If we have regard to the manner in which it is being handled, the manner in which it is being strangled in relation to the grass-meal project and other matters, it looks as if, having begun with Fianna Fáil, it will end with the Coalition.

I was very interested in the passionate case that Deputy Blaney tried to put up and the picture he tried to paint in relation to the grass-meal plant in Glenamoy and the inter-Party Government's determination, I think he said, to undo it because it was Fianna Fáil that started it. Were it not for that remark, I would not have intervened in the debate. It is not true to say that this Government changed the whole line of action in that connection because Fianna Fáil started that scheme. The present Government were informed, on very good authority, that it was not an economic proposition. Even in the last Government, the majority of the Deputies were opposed to it on the grounds that it was not possible to make it an economic proposition. Being a practical farmer myself, I fully agree with that view, and I often wondered what Deputy Corry and other members of the Fianna Fáil Party with large farms thought of the project. I often wondered what they thought was good about this project.

Deputy Blaney mentioned some man who believed in it. I am sorry that he did not tell us the name of the man. We know plenty of men who believed sincerely in things. History is full of men who believed in things, but every one of them was daft. In my opinion, it was a good thing these men did not get an opportunity of putting into operation the things they believed in. I know thousands of men who believe in the daftest things in the world, but they are quite sincere in their belief in these things. However, it is very difficult to put a stop to people who believe sincerely in these mad projects, when they get into a high position in the State or in this House. In such circumstances, it is very difficult to keep them from doing great damage by putting these projects into operation.

At the present time, we have an appalling flight from the land in this country. That is something which concerns everybody and which everybody is interested in putting a stop to. Another factor is that this country, by virtue of its position on the edge of the Gulf Stream, is blessed as no other country is blessed, with a climate and a verdure that makes it the best country in the world for growing grass and the best for growing trees. In spite of that fact, we have had a project here for the growing of grass on some of the poorest of our land and for the putting in of expensive machinery for the processing of that grass when it is grown.

Then we have the other side of the picture. We have the people who have the kind of land that will grow grass without any expense and without any aid from them. Yet these people are flying from that land, although they do not have to engage in any expensive process of machinery to convert that grass into food. We have people with good land and all they have to do is to stock that land and the stock will eat the grass without any machining. Nevertheless, these people are flying from that land.

On the other hand, we have an experiment of growing grass in Glenamoy. As a matter of information for the House, I should like to say that the forestry technicians in my Department are doubtful about the possibility of even growing trees on the 20 or 30 acres of that bog that have already been treated. It took a certain amount of urging on my part to get them to deal with it. As good civil servants, they gave me that advice and I believed them. I have been on that ground on several occasions and I find that the top 12 or 14 inches of it are just a mass of undecayed moss such as we would use in our byres. What is going to be done with that, I do not know.

I think the scheme best suited to the development of these blanket bogs is to develop them for fuel or for hydro-electric purposes and then see what can be done towards the utilisation of what remains. That would be a much more sane approach to the problem than the grass-meal project. We have plenty of good land that will grow grass without any expenditure on it.

Deputy Blaney pretended to get all hot and bothered about the number of men that were to be employed on this grass-meal project and he got all hot because I questioned his figures of 150 men. Where did he get that figure? Our information, two years ago, was that at the most 40 men would be employed. When we took over the scheme, only 19 men were employed. Fianna Fáil is now talking about the glorious things that could have been done, but they had the chance to do these things and they did not do them. There is no use now in talking about all these glorious things. With regard to Glenamoy, I want to state here categorically, and to get it on the record, that there was never employment there for any more than 42 men. Yet Deputy Blaney comes along now and thinks he cannot be contradicted and that he can get away with it when he says that that project would give employment to 150 men. That was never intended.

It is a very significant fact that the last time the inter-Party Government was in office, it succeeded in stopping the flight from the land for the first time in 100 years, for the first time since the famine. After Fianna Fáil's three years in office, we had that astonishing drop in the flight from the land completely offset. That was after only three years in office, after the Fianna Fáil Budget of 1952. Deputy Blaney stands up here and is apparently too blind to see that he was backing a Government that forced the people off the land in their thousands and tens of thousands.

Despite the damage done by Fianna Fáil in those three years in which they succeeded in keeping us out of office by a trick; despite the damage done by the 1952 Budget, I hope to see that, in two years' time, that disastrous trend which was brought in by Fianna Fáil, will be brought to an end by this Government. I firmly believe that this Government will be able to stop that trend and in that short time put a stop to the damage done by Deputy Blaney's Government.

Since Deputy Blaney is bragging and boasting about what Fianna Fáil did, perhaps he or some of them some time would tell the country what they did do. They were 19 years in office and, for the life of me, I cannot see what they did in those years. They say that we put an end to the grass-meal project in North Mayo. We did stop the line that was being pursued there and replaced it by a scheme that will serve a much more useful purpose and that will give much more useful employment. Who started the four alcohol factories in this country?

That has nothing whatever to do with the Vote.

One of them, the one in Ballina, is within the Fíor-Ghaeltacht.

There is nothing in this Vote about alcohol factories.

Surely, Sir, the potatoes grown in the Gaeltacht are used in these factories.

If we were to follow that line, we could discuss everything under this Vote.

Very well, Sir. If that is your ruling, I will not go any further with the matter, except to say that three of these four factories are very nearly in the Gaeltacht. That was a daft project and the Government that started it closed it down, without any interference from the inter-Party Government. Who stopped that?

The present Government is a failure anyhow.

We are not a failure. The Deputy will have an awful job trying to explain why it is that, after three years in office, the flight from the land which we had stopped during our period began again and continued with the disastrous results shown in the census returns the other day. I respectfully submit that most of that flight was from the Gaeltacht areas and the greater proportion of the people who went consisted of native Irish speakers. It is something to be thankful for that we have at last got a sensible, democratic outlook on this side of the House at least in this country.

(Interruptions)

I think it was Deputy Lindsay who said that there are now 70 men employed at Glenamoy. That is almost double the numbers employed on the grass-meal project, or the numbers it was intended to employ when the project was in full blast. Deputy Blaney described that original scheme as a vast scheme; he described 2,400 acres of bog growing grass as a vast scheme. Perhaps it is. But I wonder how he would describe 15,000 acres of similar land planted under trees last year by my Department? Exactly six times as much has been planted under trees, most of it in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht; and that comes directly under this Vote. Deputy Blaney talked about the two miles of sod banks down in Glenamoy. But we had two miles of fences in Meath and Kildare and elsewhere. We had 70 miles of road, although Deputy Corry wants the Land Commission to maintain the roads all the time. Two miles of fence around 2,400 acres is a mere token.

Do I understand from the Minister that 15,000 acres of forest were planted in Mayo last year?

Not in Mayo, but all over the country, and most of it in the congested areas. Some of it was in the Deputy's own constituency, but maybe he knows nothing about it.

There will be a separate debate on forestry.

It comes under this Vote, too, because the Minister in charge has direct responsibility for coordination with certain other sections.

There is nothing in the Minister's statement relating to forestry.

I am sorry there is not.

The Minister wants everything he can get to help him.

In the Fíor-Ghaeltacht area, not to speak of the rest of the country, I think that afforestation and the expansion of the forestry programme, the land reclamation project initiated by Deputy Dillon as Minister for Agriculture, the arterial drainage scheme put into operation by this Government and advocated by our Party in this House——

The Minister in charge of this Vote has no responsibility for these things.

——bog development and all these things——

The Minister will have to relate his remarks to the Estimate. These matters do not arise on this Estimate.

I am merely telling the House the things which will help to stop the flight from the land, a flight which this particular office is interested in stopping. I understand that, when this office was first established under the control of Deputy Jack Lynch, it was intended to coordinate forestry, drainage and certain sections of Gaeltacht Services, certain activities of the Land Commission in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht areas. Even though the Minister may not have mentioned it, he is still responsible under the original idea for the co-ordination of all these things. Our present Minister is making a good effort along those lines but it is very difficult for him to do anything really effective because that office was not given any real power or authority at all under the Government which established it. Indeed, I often wondered for what purpose it was there. I remember on one occasion asking Deputy Lynch—he is a very decent Deputy—what he was there for and what he was doing.

We will ask the Minister the same thing about the forestry branch.

Now, the expert on the Gaeltacht speaks up.

The saboteur of housing.

I cannot understand Deputy Briscoe asking what the forestry branch of the Land Commission is doing and I am afraid the time at my disposal would not allow me to educate the Deputy fully on that.

There is a separate Vote for these things.

Deputy Briscoe was anxious to get information on these things. At this stage I cannot give him the information he desires unfortunately. Fianna Fáil's record with regard to the Gaeltacht and this office is one of complete failure and I think it came very badly that Deputy Blaney should come in here to-day and try to put across a complete misstatement, a misstatement that he must have known lacked foundation and was, indeed, miles away from fact. He said that Glenamoy would employ 150 men and our information, when we took office, was that 19 men were then employed and the maximum would be 40 to 42 when it was going full blast. We will employ much more than that on the same ground under trees. We hope to make a success of that project or, at least, go a fair length of the road in the growing of timber on that land instead of grass. I think that was a foolish project, just as foolish as the other ones. Before I sit down I want to ask Fianna Fáil to name one project they initiated which was a success. Perhaps I am dull and stupid, but I cannot see one. I cannot see what they have done for the Gaeltacht.

Bord na Móna.

I do not see what right any Deputy on that side of the House has to come in here and talk about the Gaeltacht except to come in and apologise for the way they have neglected the Gaeltacht and banished the people of the Gaeltacht to England, people over whom they are now weeping salt tears.

41,000 left this country in 1950 and 44,000 in 1949.

The flight from the land which was revealed in the census the other day is the fault of Fianna Fáil. It is a damn shame for you.

I think the Minister is getting into an excited condition.

I am not excited. It would take more than that to excite me.

I do not know why the Minister should get so excited. It is very bad for his blood pressure and we, on this side of the House, are rather anxious about his health. We do not want to see him subjected to any unnecessary strains which might endanger his health since we might then no longer have the privilege of listening to him here and the country might not have the great advantage of having him looking after the affairs of the Gaeltacht and the congested areas.

On a point of order, I would like if the Chair would enlighten me as to how my blood pressure comes into this particular Vote?

Now, the Minister is just after his honeymoon.

The excitement that has crept, perhaps unconsciously, into the Minister's concluding statement wherein he worked himself up into such a frenzy shows that obviously the Minister does not consider the question of emigration, the congested areas or the Gaeltacht as a serious problem that demands the reasoned and deliberate attention of the members of this House. Obviously he thinks it is merely a matter which can be dealt with in the cross-roads fashion in which the deplorable little Clann na Talmhan Party has been indulging for so many years up and down the country.

Clann na Talmhan represents the West and we put a bit of life into the Fianna Fáil anyway.

And they were responsible for driving the people out of this country.

We put a bit of life into Fianna Fáil.

This is the Minister who, on a celebrated occasion that I remember, treated us to the wonderful piece of information that Deputy Blowick, as he then was, had enabled more people, through his influence and his industry presumably, when there were some barriers or restrictions on the movement of people, to get out of this country than any other Deputy in this House. That was the then Deputy Blowick's boast when Fianna Fáil was in office: he, by his own efforts, had got more people out of this country than any other Deputy in this House.

That was the time Fianna Fáil were keeping them at home under a Wages Standstill Order.

This is the gentleman who now tells us we are responsible for driving the people out of this country, the Deputy who boasted that he did more than any other Deputy in this House to enable people to leave this country. And of course the present emigration is due to Fianna Fáil. It is not the position that the people of Mayo have been leaving the country for generations past to work as migratory labourers in England, Scotland and elsewhere. No. Through all this false propaganda and all this false campaign, the Minister and his contemptible little Party got local support and they were able to secure, through their vicious and false propaganda against our Government, that a number of Deputies in a limited locality were elected to this Assembly, and by virtue of the peculiar results of the proportional representation system, the Minister finds himself in a position, which, I am sure, he had never expected, of actually being for the second time a member of the Government and responsible for an important Department of State.

This does not seem to arise on the Vote for the office of the Gaeltacht.

"Force the people off the land". Who forced the people off the land?

Was it not the position that for generations there had to be a special institution, even under the British Government, to try to ameliorate the situation of these people in the West of Ireland? Was it ever suggested that their economy and their conditions were, so to speak, viable and that those people could get a full living, decent employment and a future for themselves and their families in the West of Ireland, in the circumstances which we were acquainted with during the past 50 years?

The Minister has not even looked at the emigration commission report. The great contribution of himself and his colleagues, after all their ranting around this country about emigration for years during our time of office, was to set up a commission on emigration, and we have heard nothing about it since they took up office nearly two years ago. It took the commission several years to produce its recommendations, and it is very significant that, during the past two years, not even when the recent report of the census was published showing the very alarming condition that exists, have we had any statement from the Taoiseach or any member of the Government to show that either the report of the Commission on Emigration and Population or the recent statistics regarding our population has had the slightest effect on them, has had the slightest impact on them or has created the slightest sense of urgency or the slightest feeling that there is any such emergency as Deputy O'Hara, amongst others, would like to get them to believe exists in this matter. We have had not a single word from the Taoiseach or any member of the Government as to what they propose to do in regard to the recommendations of the commission on emigration; not a word about decentralisation; not a word about improving conditions for our families living on the land in the western areas. All we have had is this tripe and bunkum that Fianna Fáil is responsible for driving the people out of the country.

If the Minister can get away with that in the year 1956, then the country is beyond all succour. If the Minister can continue in the position he at present holds and if the administration to which he belongs is able to maintain its position on the strength of this type of effusion we heard from him here to-day, then I am very sorry for our poor country, because our people have reached a very low standard indeed, if they are going to be deceived and led astray by such twaddle.

The Minister knows very well that emigration has been continuing. He has only to look at the figures in the emigration commission report, which he probably has never read, to know that, since the famine, we have had emigration on a large scale, sometimes fluctuating, higher in some periods than in others. According to that report, of the age group between 15 and 19, in respect of whom figures appeared in the census available in 1938, no less than about one-third seem to have left County Mayo and other counties in the ten years following the outbreak of the war, and during the last period, the five-year period which is illustrated by the recent statistics, it is quite clear that the figures have gone up probably, I could say, to half of the young people who, if our circumstances here were as fortunate as we would wish, would be settling down here and rearing families.

The Minister has so little appreciation of the fundamentals of this situation, which has existed for the past century and which has unfortunately existed even since the Irish State was esablished, but which has gained additional momentum and has become very much accentuated since the war, that the only impact that makes on the Minister's mind is that Fianna Fáil were responsible during their three years of office. Fianna Fáil can point to their introduction of the Undeveloped Areas Act as a real and sincere effort to try to induce industrialists to set up in the West of Ireland and to give them some of the advantages which they are getting elsewhere—to give them large grants from the central Exchequer, if they were prepared to set up industries which would give substantial and permanent employment.

The Minister can tell the people of Mayo all the wonderful things that the Land Commission are doing and all the things he is doing; but I remember away back in 1923, when the late Patrick Hogan was Minister for Lands, he told the people of Mayo that the 1923 Act would solve the land problem down there. I have no doubt that the Minister thought it would, but it did not, and the land problem is not solved and is not in sight of being solved in Mayo when we have these 20,000 congests in the western counties we were referring to yesterday and for whom a pool of land is not available, and whatever land may be available is more difficult to secure as time goes on——

Not 20,000; 12,500.

19,800 is what the Minister said.

That is for vesting and all; 12,500 in need of rearranging.

The Minister should give us the number of persons or the number of holdings under £5 valuation in the western counties. I do not know what basis of valuation he takes for his figures of congests, but I know that the vast majority of the holdings of Mayo and some of the other counties are under £5 valuation. We know that the standard that the old Congested Districts Board set up was not even a standard of 20 or 30 acres, but a standard of £10 valuation. It was thought, if they could bring these people up to that standard, we would have accomplished something wonderful. We have not been able to do that. The fact is that these people know that they can get high wages and, as the figures show, not alone the boys but the girls feel that they can get high wages and have better prospects across the water.

It is for that reason that we felt that an effort should be made, through the Undeveloped Areas Act and in other ways, to try to get industries established in the western counties. We shall have an opportunity of discussing these matters in more detail later on. I only refer to the fact that that measure was introduced by us in our term of office and that we are anxious to give the fullest co-operation to this Government, or to whatever Minister may be charged with the administration of it, to try to secure employment that will be comparable in some degree with what these young people think they can get elsewhere.

The burden of the attack of the Minister for Lands was based on statements made here with regard to this grass-meal project. According to statements which have been supplied by the directors of the company which was established to run that enterprise, they expected they would be able to give employment to 100 persons and, later, to 150 persons. Provided they succeeded in their efforts and were able to dispose of their product and provided they were able to get these 2,000 acres of land reclaimed and producing agricultural products, does anybody doubt that very large employment would have been given to the people in that area?

At the present time, we are migrating a small number of families. It was regarded as a tremendous achievement —which I welcome and which I appreciate and give credit for to those concerned—that we were able to bring 100 families up to the Midlands from the West of Ireland this year. It was a tremendous achievement and probably a very costly one. However, here we have many hundreds of people registered as unemployed in one of the poorest areas in this country. They are fine intelligent people. The people of Erris are amongst the most intelligent we have in this country. A great number of them have been going across to England and Scotland for generations. As they are working with the farmers there, nobody can doubt their industry, intelligence or capacity, if given the opportunity, to do as well at home as they do in Lincolnshire, or Greenock, or wherever else they may go to.

The scheme was based on the experience of the Irish Sugar Company which had a project near Ballinasloe and another smaller one near Parknasilla in County Kerry where, according to the reports we received and the recommendations of the general manager of the Irish Sugar Company—I only want to bring his name into it incidentally—it seemed there was a very good promise of cutting short the period between the removal of the peat and the transformation of the bog, either the virgin bog or the cutaway bog, and using it for agricultural puropses. I walked over the bog myself near Ballinasloe. I was amazed that, on the comparatively inexpensive drainage that was carried out, such good results were shown. With the figures at their disposal from that project and with the general anxiety that we had, we decided to go ahead with this scheme. Even if it were only an experiment, even if money were going to be lost upon it, is this country—when it is spending £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 a year on the land reclamation project— going to lose anything when it spends £50,000, £100,000 or even £200,000 on a large scheme of this kind where you have up to 400 or 500 persons to whom you might ultimately be able to give employment, either directly or indirectly, and create a new community in an area where, as in so many other places of the West, the community is dying out because the young people are going and you have not marriages?

The Minister will be telling us about the Gaeltacht industries, I have no doubt. It was found in Donegal that where employment was given of a permanent nature to a young man who would otherwise have emigrated, it meant the foundation of a family. It meant that the girls as well as the boys were kept at home. I have no doubt that if this project had been followed up in the way in which the Irish Sugar Company, for example, could have done it, the local directors with their local interest and their experience as businessmen—allowing for the fact that they were entering a somewhat unknown territory—would ultimately, after the usual trial and error which we might have in these things, have brought the scheme to fruition.

The Minister has at any rate conceded this much, that they could not scrap the scheme entirely, that they have had to replace it by another scheme. The advantage, if it is an advantage, of the other scheme is that we are to have a permanent staff there of people on the Civil Service establishment. It is going to be a research station where everyone will be sure of his job—I hope he will give value to the country for it—and where a certain number of people will be employed, irrespective of commercial considerations.

It is said that this project would not have succeeded from the commercial point of view, that the principles and hypotheses on which it was working were wrong. Why not allow them to show that they were wrong? Why not give them the opportunity? Why scrap the scheme before they even had an opportunity of getting the grass-meal plan going? They had not even their drainage operations completed. The Ministry have shown their doubts and unwisdom in putting up an alternative scheme, a scheme which will not be commercial, but which will remain permanently on the annual Estimate, presumably, of the Department of Agriculture. It will be in the nature of an institution with an established staff rather than an industry in regard to which we could see from year to year whether or not it was paying its way, in regard to which we could have the judgment of an independent body of people outside the Department of Agriculture and in regard to which we could view their reports like the reports of the directors of other State or semi-State concerns and the Minister and the Government could take cognisance accordingly of whether progress was being made or otherwise.

I want to make a comment on some of the contributions that have been made to this debate. Does anyone deny that the census of population report for 1951 showed for the first time in a generation that the population of this country was going up? Does anyone deny that? Does anyone deny that Fianna Fáil resumed office in 1951 and introduced the Budget of 1952 for the purpose, the express purpose, of reducing the standard of living of the people here, on the ground that they were eating too much and living too well?

Does anyone deny that the consequence of that was that the census of 1956 shows that 20,000 people left the country every year since then?

Forty thousand left in 1950.

There could be an argument made from the point of view of certain economists that, if the economy appears to be unsettled, the right way to mend it is to put on the screw and precipitate unemployment. That is the theory of the hard old Manchester school of economics which was the foundation of the 1952 Budget.

What about your own Budget?

This does not arise on the Vote for Oifig na gCeanntar gCúng.

I am told the Fianna Fáil Party have followed that policy of economics, but, when they embarked on that policy, they overlooked the fact that, in our particular economy, you do not get the unemployment the economists want, but you get emigration. You do not drive the people of the West of Ireland into chronic unemployment, but you drive them to emigration. The policy of this Government is to try to keep these people at home. Is this Government wrong or was Fianna Fáil wrong? We think Fianna Fáil was wrong and that is why we are here. Our policy is to provide employment for our own people in our own country, in so far as that is possible.

Notice taken that 20 Deputies were not present; House counted, and 20 Deputies being present,

The trouble with the Fianna Fáil Party is that they think that I am giving them hell, but the truth is that I am telling them the truth and they think it is hell. It really is not hell; it is really just the truth, and it is hard for them to listen to it. The facts are there and they cannot get away from them. I want to warn this House about one thing, and that is that our efforts are devoted towards stopping the trend that was inaugurated by Fianna Fáil, and, if we can do it, we will stop it. Fianna Fáil thinks it is desirable and necessary to resume that trend, but they had better open their eyes to the economic fact that a reimposition of the policy which they set in 1952 will mean a complete disappearance of the population of the ceantair cúnga, because in our circumstances that type of economic policy does not beget the unemployment for which the economists of the Manchester school seek, but begets emigration to the industrial centres of Great Britain.

The next point I want to dwell on is one on which there has been a lot of caterwauling from the Fianna Fáil Benches and that is in regard to the Min Fhéir Teoranta project. That project was as daft as a 6d. watch and anybody who knows anything about it at all knows that it was daft. Can you imagine any country with 12,000,000 acres of arable land, the finest grass growing land not only in Europe but in the whole world, who when they want to grow grass as the raw material of the feeding stuffs of our own farmers, repair to the most remote bogs of Bangor Erris on which to grow it? There are 12,000,000 acres of land in this country, every one of which will grow better grass than any land in Europe, and yet these people, when they wanted to grow grass meal, went to the bogs of Bangor Erris.

We have heard of the groundnuts scheme in which the British Government lost £35,000,000 and they went to produce hens in Rhodesia, in which they lost another £35,000,000, but at least they were able to grow nuts in Africa and they were able to increase the number of hens in Rhodesia. Grass suitable for grass meal, however, never grew on the bogs of Bangor Erris and never would grow there. In a country where we had incomparable acres of grassland, the argument is made that we ought to go to this bog to grow it. We closed that down and we closed it down because it was all cod, and anybody who knows anything about agriculture in this country knows it is cod. Deputies who say that grass was grown there are mistaken. Min Fhéir Teoranta was charged, not with growing grass on cutaway bog, but with growing grass on virgin bog. There is no doubt whatever of the obvious fact that we have in this country vast tracks of virgin bogs. Is there anything wrong with setting up research stations on that virgin bog to determine whether it can be used for any other purpose than the production of fuel?

Mr. Lemass

Or grass.

Grass, my foot.

Mr. Lemass

What are you going to grow on it?

We are going to investigate what it can be used for. We know it would not grow grass, that is, grass for grass meal. Everybody knows that you have to produce the best grass possible for grass-meal, except perhaps people living in the City of Dublin who believe that you could grow grass on the bog. That is Capel Street agriculture, and that is where that agricultural idea was born in the mind of a man who would not know grass from oats or barley from hay.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.