Committee on Finance. - Vote 49—Gaeltacht Services (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following motion:—
That a sum not exceeding £213,160 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1957, for Salaries and Expenses in connection with Gaeltacht Services, including Housing Grants.

When I was speaking in this debate on this Estimate on Thursday last, I was endeavouring to give a summary or sketch of the work of this Department for some years past in the area with which the Vote deals. I said that some 20 years ago I took my courage in my hands in an endeavour to get something effective done to resuscitate these areas which I then considered were in process of rapid decline. Since then no substantial progress has been made with regard to the matter with which the Vote deals. For the past 20 years, I have watched the rapid decline which would ultimately result in the entire depopulation of certain areas involved in this Vote. I am exceedingly sorry that I have to state to-day, without fear of contradiction, that unfortunately that forecast has been borne out. That is a real tragedy, to my mind. During that period we had each year on the appropriate Estimate a plethora of speeches in this House and in the country, appealing particularly to the people of the Gaeltacht to preserve the Irish language, telling them that the fate of the Irish language and Ireland as a nation depended upon the preservation of these areas and on the use of the Irish language by the people therein.

It is elementary that, from the beginning, this problem was, is and will continue to be an economic one. I have no doubt about that. In my opinion, the failure of the economic development of these areas has brought about the position in which we find ourselves to-day.

In this debate speeches have been made by Deputies from whom I expected a greater sense of responsibility. They are coming into the House now on the issue of a new census return. Speaking as if something extraordinary had happened in this country overnight they try, apparently, to use that for political purposes. This should not be a political problem. It is a problem for this House, for everybody in this House and particularly for the people who come from and were born in these areas, whose people have lived there for centuries.

I shall not be here in 25 years' time, I expect, in the normal operations of nature, but I definitely forecast that within that time there will be entire areas and entire parishes in the area covered by this Vote in which there will not be a human being. These are areas where our people have been since the time of the Plantation and the time of the clearances in this country. Our people have been there for 200 and 300 years. Very many people in this House have their roots in those areas. They were reared there; their fathers and their grandfathers were reared there. We love every boghole in them, every piece of reclaimed land. They were part of our lives. They were embedded in our bones.

It is a tragedy to see hundreds of the homes in these areas closed up. The people have left them and it is probable that these homes will never be reoccupied. When I look at them I think of the verse:

" Deserted is my own good hall.

The hearth is desolate.

Wild weeds are gathering on the wall,

My dog howls at the gate."

Within the last 20 years, some 50 homes in my native parish have been abandoned and have been closed down. Imagine the effect in a normal parish of, say, 600 families, of some 50 or 60 homes being closed down for ever. That is a continuing process which will in time produce the condition of affairs that I have already described. Nothing practical has been done to deal with this problem. There has been talk, talk, and talk; there have been speeches, speeches, and speeches. The problem to be solved is an economic problem. Preserve the people and you preserve the language. We did not preserve the people and accordingly we lost the language. The solution consists in solving the economic problem. This House will not be 100 years older when there will be no problem to solve. I am emphasising the economic side of the problem, since it is the only side with which we are faced. If we solve the economic problem, we will solve the whole thing.

There will be nobody left but old people in the Gaeltacht areas and people who will never get married. The result will be that the language will die. We set up a Department to do something and we have done something. What is required is industrial development and there is no industry in these places other than the fishing industry. I am glad to say that an effort has been made to push matters in that respect. I hope that this trend will be energetically pursued, and when I say "energetically," I mean "energetically" in its ordinary connotation.

The important thing is to place in at least every two parishes a factory of some kind which will give employment to the young people when they leave school. What is the use talking about doing this, that and the other thing, while we leave the young people whistling at the cross-roads, with no money in their pockets to buy clothes, to go to the pictures or to attend a sports meeting? There is no use in sticking our heads in the sand and pretending that is not the situation. Deputies come in here and talk about the situation revealed in the census. What is the census but a return of the actual existing state of affairs, and where have those Deputies been living all the time? Did they not see what was taking place in their own constituencies? The whole thing is nothing but claptrap, an effort to get their speeches published in the local papers, while all the time the matter they complain of is getting worse. Something will have to be done about the matter.

In my constituency, the Gaeltacht Department set up a factory. It is an excellent factory and is doing well, but the tragedy is that it is purely local. I suggest to the Minister that there should be fuller development in this connection. Other factories should be opened somewhere else in the Gaeltacht areas in order to give employment and provide a weekly pay-packet for the people concerned.

Even to-day there is on the Order Paper—it is the first question on the Order Paper—a question by Deputy McQuillan: "To ask the Taoiseach whether the Government have given consideration to the serious demographic position revealed by the recent census." Expressions like "The serious demographic position" would make one mad. I want to boil down the problem. It is nothing but an economic one.

In this connection, this Department is now passing from the Minister's hands. This House and the areas involved will expect a lot from the new Minister, General Mulcahy, who is the Minister-designate for the new Department which is about to be set up. We all know the idealism, the enthusiasm and the energy of Deputy Mulcahy, but the House should appreciate that he is now undertaking one of the most serious problems of his life. The House should not expect too much of him. It will be a long and arduous road. Industries should be placed in different areas and two or three parishes combined so that the people living in these areas will have easy access to the factories. As I said, let us not expect too much of the Minister. Let it not be thought that, with his idealism and enthusiasm, he can produce the rabbit out of the hat overnight. That cannot be done.

We are dealing with the Minister for Lands now.

The canker has already gone very far and it can only be cured by long and arduous work and it will take all the idealism, energy and enthusiasm of the new Minister, but, if we lay the foundations on the right basis, we can say we did a good day's work.

Ba mhaith liom cómhgháirdeachas a dhéanamh leis an Roinn agus le hoifigigh na Roinne mar gheall ar an obair mhaith atá déanta acu le cúig bliana fichead anuas. Tá cónaí ormsa sa Ghaeltacht agus tá a fhios agam gur oibrigh na hoifigigh seo go cruaigh, agus rinneadar rudaí maithe mar mhaithe le muintir na Gaeltachta agus muna bhfuil rudaí chomh maith agus ba mhaith linn iad a bheith, ní ar na hoifigigh atá an locht.

Rinneadh cuid mhaith oibre úsáid-each agus éifeachtach ansin le cúig bliana fichead anuas. Is fíor le rá go bhfuil rudaí níos fearr sa Ghaeltacht inniu ná mar a bhí siad san aimsir sin. Le 20 bliain anuas, nó mar sin, do rinne gach Rialtas gach aon rud do b'fhéidir leo don Ghaeltacht agus chun caoi níos fearr a thabhairt do na daoine sna ceantair chúnga ann. Mar sin féin, tá mórán le déanamh fós má táimid chun na daoine óga a choimeád sna ceantair sin. Bliain i ndiaidh bliana, tá siad ag imeacht agus tá níos mó díobh ag imeacht anois, agus le cupla bliain, ná mar d'imigh ag aon am le 100 bliain. Mura bhfaighaimid cabhair gasta ón Rialtas, ní fada go dtí nach mbeidh sa Ghaeltacht ach sean-daoine.

Thug Seirbhísí na Gaeltachta cibé cabhair do b'fhéidir leo ach ní leor é sin. Tchí gach aon duine inniu a chuireas suim sa pháirt sin den tír gur gá go ndéanfadh an Rialtas i bhfad níos mó don Ghaeltacht agus do na ceantair chúnga ann chun na daoine óga sna ceantair sin a choimeád iontu. Is í an Ghaeltacht an chuid sin den tír a choimeád an teanga náisiúnta beo chomh maith le nósanna an phobail Ghaelaigh. Ceapaim, agus dúirt mé an méid seo cheana, nach mór d'aon Rialtas a dhian-dícheall a dhéanamh chun cabhair a thabhairt don chuid sin den tír.

I want to be brief on this very important Estimate. The only reason I intervene is that as this may be the last occasion on which we may get an opportunity for speaking on this Estimate for Gaeltacht Services I, too, should like to express my appreciation of the work done by the officials in that part of the country during the past 20 or 25 years. As I have already said, if the position in the Gaeltacht areas to-day is not all we should like it to be, it certainly is not the fault of the officials of the Gaeltacht Services. They have laboured hard and long all down through the years to build up our little industries there and to make the lot of the people in the Gaeltacht much better than they found it. Much has been done. Every Government that we have had in this country during the past 30 years has certainly improved the lot of the people in the Gaeltacht and the congested areas there. We have to-day, thanks to the generous Government grants that have been given in the past, the best houses, I would say, to be found in any part of rural Ireland. This has brought about a great change in the Gaeltacht. It has also helped the development of the tourist industry in that part of the country.

Our native manufacturers have been helped in every way and to-day we find that the famous Donegal homespun industry is known from one end of the earth, I might say, to the other. The fashion centres of the world to-day are clamouring for the lovely tweeds that are turned out in such perfection under the aegis of the officials of Gaeltacht Services.

We are glad to hear from the Minister that our toy industry is flourishing also. We hope it will continue to flourish. All these things have helped, even in a small way, to keep our people at home. However, sufficient has not yet been done because to-day the trek from the Gaeltacht and the congested areas there continues apace. The young people are leaving daily. In some parts of the Gaeltacht our schools, if they are not closing down, are dispensing with the services of one or two teachers. That is an appalling condition. Is it not sad that, after so many years of native Government, we have to say these things in this House about one of the areas that should be the dearest possession of the nation, that is, the Gaeltacht area? We hope that something will be done very shortly to help the economic position of that area.

I would say that, if the Gaeltacht is to be saved, it will call for a much bolder policy than has been embarked upon in the past. Time is running short and to-morrow may be too late. I would appeal to the Minister and, through him to the Government, to take immediate steps to save the Gaeltacht for the nation before it is too late.

Nílim den tuairim go bhfuil leas na Gaeltachta ag braith ar an Rannóg seo, chor ar bith. Aontaím leis an moladh a thug an Teachta Ua Breisleáin d'oifigigh Sheirbhísí na Gaeltachta as ucht an méid a rinneadar agus an méid atá á dhéanamh acu le leas na Gaeltachta a chur chun cinn. Mar sin féin, ní dóigh liom gur ceart nó gur chóir nó gur fairaílte d'oifigigh Sheirbhísí na Gaeltachta a rá go bhfuil an Ghaeltacht ag braith ar na seirbhísí sin amháin.

Is é mo thuairim féin agus, ar ndoigh is é tuairim gach duine sa Ghaeltacht san Iarthair, pé scéal é, gurb iad seirbhísí na Roinne Leasa Shoisialaigh is fearr a dhéanas leas don Ghaeltacht. Tá mé féin, ag cheapadh nuair a tugadh cuid acu, ar aon chaoi, isteach sa Dáil seo 20 bliain ó shoin, go raibh an Ghaeltacht agus na ceantracha bochta in aigne an Rialtais chomh mór is a bhí na cathracha móra. Mara bhfuil an Ghaeltacht bánaithe ar fad, agus má tá aon Ghaeltacht ann, is é mo thuairim gurb iad seirbhísí na Roinne Leasa Shoisialaigh is ciontach leis sin.

Chualamar dhá tuairim i dtaobh an pháirt atá ag talmhaíocht i saol na Gaeltachta. Chualamar Aire amháin an tseachtain seo caite ag rá gurb é an rud is tábhachtaí agus is fearr a dhéanas fiúntas don Ghaeltacht an talmhaíocht. Ansin chualamar Aire Stáit eile ag rá ar Mheastacháin Sheirbhísí na Gaeltachta nach raibh sa tuairim sin ach amadántacht. Im thuairim, is féidir linn leas áirithe a dhéanamh don Fhíor-Ghaeltacht trí thalmhaíocht ach má tá an Ghaeltacht ag braith ar thalmhaíocht tá mé ag cheapadh gur fánach a bheith ag fánúint le feabhas a theacht as.

Tá feabhas mór tagtha ar shaol mhuintir na Gaeltachta ó tháinig féin-Rialtais don tír seo. Bhí mé ag léamh i bpáipear nuaíochta inné tuarascáil ar chaint a rinneadh nuair a hosclaíodh Feis i lár na tíre. Bhí an cainteóir ag cur síos ar an olagón faoi mheath na Gaeilge agus dúirt nach raibh staid na Gaeilge ag déanamh imní dho. Ní hé an rud céanna é leas na teanga Gaeilge agus leas na Gaeltachta ach, ar ndóigh, tá baint eatorthu. Le cupla bliain anuas, tá saghas reabhlóid ar siúl ins an Ghaeltacht, eaglaisí agus séipéil agus tithe scoile a dtógaint agus cé go bhfuil sé fíor go bhfuil imirce tréan gach bliain 'ta daoine óga ag éirghe aníos níos treise ná sin agus tá blath ar an nGaeltácht thar mar shileanns daoine.

Má fhiafraitear díom cé acu de na seirbhísí go léir atá ag déanamh an maitheas is mó don Ghaeltacht, cuirfhidh mé san gcéad áit an t-oideachas. Ina dhiaidh sin, tiocfaidh seirbhísí sóisialacha agus cuirfidh mé talmhaíocht agus iascaireacht san tríú áit. Maidir le talmhaíocht, muna bhfuilimid sásta dul chun cinn le scéimeanna mar na tithe gloinne, níl fágtha ach féarach na sléibhte.

Fé mar a dúras maidir le seirbhísí Gaeltachta, ba mbaith liom taca a thabhairt don méid adúirt an Teachta Ua Breisleáin mar gheall ar an maitheas a dheanann oifigigh na hOifige sin. Is minic a chluinim daoine, go mór mhór Teachtaí, ag déanamh compráid idir an obair a déantar amhlaidh agus an obair a dhéanfadh private enterprise. Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil aon chothrom ins an gcompráid sin. Do bhí daoine ar an dtaobh seo den tigh á rá seachtain ó shoin—agus daoine ar an dtaobh eile—gur fearr a stiúródh gnólucht phríobháideach na seirbhísí seo. Tá an méid sin ceart go leor chomh fada agus a théann an ráiteas sin ach dá gcuirfí na dualgaisí céanna ar na daoine príobháideacha, ní dóigh liom go mbeadh an rath céanna ag baint leo agus a bhaineann le seirbhísí faoin Stát. Dar ndóigh ba mhaith liom, más féidir é, na tionscail bheaga go léir a bheith fé chúram daoine príobháideacha. Ba mhaith liom rud ar bith a bheith fé private enterprise, in ionad faoin Stát, ach ní dóigh liom gur féidir le héinne dul isteach in Inis Bóifin, cuir i gcás, nó Litir Muláin chun ceann de na tionscail seo do chur ar bun agus dul i gcomórtas le gnath-tráchtáil na tíre. Sin é an deifir.

Ar an ábhar sin, ní bheadh éinne dhá cheapadh go mbeadh cuntas seirbhíse mar sin ar an dul céanna leis an saghas cuntais a bheadh ar fáil ó tionscail suite i lár na tíre nó anseo in Áth Cliath, ach tá locht le fáil agam ar an mbealach inár tugadh an Meastachán seo ós comhair na Dála. Do léigh an tAire ráiteas amach ar dtús ach ní fhuaramar formhór an ráitis sin go dtí go raibh an díospóireacht fé lan tseol. Ba cheart go mbeadh ráiteas den tsaghas sin againn roimh ré san slí céanna ina bhfaighimid explanatory statement nuair a tugtar Bille nua isteach ag cur síos ar cad a bhíonn sa mBille sin. Ba mhaith linn an fhaisnéis a bheith againn roimh ré, cuir i gcás ar cé mhéid oibritheoirí atá fostaithe ag cniotáil, ar bhréidín, agus ar bhréagáin agus uile. D'fhéadfaimís dul níos faide agus cuntas d'fháil ar na ceantracha in a bhfuil siad scapaithe. Sin rud amháin. Ba cheart go mbeadh faisnéis againn ar an díolachán ar an margadh in Éirinn agus san gCoigcrich chomh maith. Ba mhaith an rud é an fhaisnéis sin a bheith againn más féidir leis an Oifig é do sholáthar i dtreo is go bhféadfaimis cur síos ar na rudaí sin nuair a bhéadh an Meastachán seo ós ár gcomhair.

Níl fhios agam an é polasaí na Roinne Tailte, maidir leis na tionscail seo, polasaí réigiúntach, cuir i gcás an bréidín do choimeád i dTir Chonaill, bréagáin do choimeád in áiteacha eile agus an cniotáil in áiteacha eile fós.

Más é sin an polasaí atá ann ní féidir locht a fháil air, ach san am chéanna tá mé ag cheapadh gur cheart tionscal an bhréidín a scaipeadh níos mó ar fuaid an Iarthair. Ar ndóigh tá mé ag caint anois ar mo dháilcheantar. Ba mhaith liom aithbheocaint tionscail bhréidín láimh-fhite a bhunú. Níl a fhios agam an féidir tionscal bréidín lámh-shníofa a bhunú mar tá nós acu san Iarthair a gcuid snáith a chur go dtí na monarchain i nGaillimh. Tá na fiódóirí ag éirí gann san Iarthair anois. Nílim a rá go bhfuil siad imithe ar fad, ach tá siad ag éirí gann. Tá mé ag iarraidh ar an Aire breathnú isteach sa bpoinnte seo—an féidir tionscal an bréidín a scaipeadh go Gaillimh Thiar.

Ar ndóigh, tá rudaí eile nach bhfuil faoi chúraim na Seirbhísí seo agus b'fhéidir go bhféadfaí iad a thabhairt anall faoi na Seirbhísí seo. Tá mé ag cuimhniú anois ar phroiseasú na muiríní. Tá tionscal eile, tá sé i gCill Chiaráin, ag deanamh obair ar shlata mara. Nuair atá an obair déanta ar na slata seo cuirtear thar sáile iad go hAlbain le rudaí éagsúla a dhéanamh leo. Deirtear gur "secret trade" atá san obair sin agus nach féidir é a dhéanamh anseo faoi láthair. Tá freagra agam ar sin. Is é an freagra atá ann go bhfuil dream againn anseo ar a nglaoitear Industrial Research. Níl fhios agam ar cuireadh an cheist seo ós a gcomhair. B'fhéidir go mbeadh an tAire i ndon rud éigin a rá faoi sin nuair a bheas sé ag tabhairt freagra ar an díospóireacht; b'fhéidir go mbeadh sé i ndon a rá cén dul chun chinn atá déanta ag an dream sin. Más rud é nach bhfuil tada déanta faoin gceist seo, b'fhéidir go gcuirfeadh sé ós a gcomhairé. Rud maith a bheith ann dá mba i gCill Chiaráin atá i gceart lár na Gaeltachta, áit a bhfuil na muiríní go sár fairsing a déanfaí an obair ar fad ar na slata mara.

B'fhacthas dom, agus mé ag smaoiniú ar an gceist seo, go mbeadh sé i bhfad níos fearr dá mb'féidir proiseasú na muiríní a dhéanamh i gCill Chiaráin in ionad iad a thabhairt go Gaillimh chun an obair sin a dhéanamh orthu. Cuirtear na sliogáin go Gaillimh chomh maith leis na héisc iad féin. Sin pointe amháin, agus tá mé ag iarraidh ar an Aire dul i gcomhairle leis an Aire Talmhaíochta féachaint an féidir an t-athrú sin a dhéanamh.

Bhí mé ag caint ar thionscal an bhréidín, agus ba mhaith liom anois traoslú agus comhgáirdeachas a dhéanamh le hoifigigh na Roinne i dtaobh an fheabhais atá tagtha sa bhfostaíocht sa tionscail sin le cúig bhliana anuas. In ionad céad fice is cúig, tá 238 daoine fostuí sa tionscal sin anois. Tá an pháigh ardaithe ó £22,300 go £55,690 sa tréimhse chéanna agus tá díolacháin an bhréidín imithe ó £107,800 go £250,600. Creidiúnt mór é sin go lucht stiúrtha Sheirbhísí na Gaeltachta. Ba mhaith linn níos mó den fheabhas sin a fheiceál.

Sin é an fáth go raibh mé ag iarraidh ar an Aire an tionscal sin a scaipeadh leasmuigh de Thir Chonaill, cé nach mór linn an rath atá acu ansin i bhfostaíocht agus in airgead. Tá mé lán-chinnte nach mór dóibh i nDún na nGall dá mbeadh an tionscal bhréidín scaipthe go ceanntracha Gaeltachta eile.

Ní fhéadaim an Meastacháin seo a ligean tharam gan tagairt a dhéanamh do cheist na dtithe. Duírt mé anuraidh, agus mé ag caint ar an Meastachán céanna, go raibh caint acu i gComhairle Chontae na Gaillimhe go gcuirfear stop leis na deontais bhreis-foilíontacha. D'iarr mé féin agus Teachtaí eile ar an taobh seo den Teach ar an Aire níos mó airgid a sholáthar faoin tSeirbhís seo. Dúirt an tAire an t-am sin—agus tá mé a cheapadh go raibh a lán den fhírinne aige,—go raibh sé fógraithe ag Comhairle Chontae na Gaillimhe go raibh orthú stop a chur le tithe nua a chur suas sa nGaeltacht. Ach tá níos mó airgid soláthraithe faoin scéim seo i mbliana. Táim lán-chinnte gur chuir go leor daoine a bhí ag braeth ar thithe nua a dhéanamh deis orthu féin ar fhaitíos na bhfaitíos nach mbeadh aon deontas le fáil agus táim cinnte chomh maith de bhárr on bíobhocha a rinneamar gur chuidíomar go mór leis an scéal a réiteach, agus má chuireamar scannradh ar dhaoine, fiú amháin ar an Aire féin, b'fhuí toradh an scannraidh sin.

Nuair a bhí an Meastachán le haghaidh Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng ar siúl seachtain ó shoin, bhí caint ag Aire eile, agus, ós rud é go bhfuil sé ina Theachta Dála do Dháilcheantar a bhfuil Fíor-Ghaeltacht mhór ann, táim a cheapadh gur ceart a chuid tuairimí ar an gceist seo, tithe sa bhFíor Ghaeltacht, a lua ar an Meastachán seo. Is é atá i gceist agam an tAire Rialtais Aitiúil. Duirt sé, agus é ag caint ar Mheastachán Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng, ag colún 1744, Imleabhar 157, de na Diospóireachta Parlaiminte den 7 Meitheamh 1956:

"It is true some effort was made by Fianna Fáil to give the people of the Gaeltacht better houses under the Gaeltacht (Housing) Acts. But how were those Acts administered? First of all, to qualify for a grant for a new house, an Irish speaker had to undertake to demolish the house in which he was residing. If the son or daughter of that man wanted to get married and take advantage of the Acts, they could not do it because they did not own a house of their own which they could demolish. As a result of that kind of administration, the people were driven out; they were cleared out of the Gaeltacht areas. The Acts should have been amended to permit any Irish speaker to take advantage of the grants to build a home for himself."

Agus derimse tuille den chinéal céanna. Leanann an tAire:—

"At the same time, under the 1933 Land Act, Irish speakers in the Gaeltacht were prohibited from giving a parcel of land as a site for a house to their sons or daughters, simply because it was decided by Fianna Fáil that these holdings were uneconomic and should not be subdivided. Every person who got married in the Gaeltacht had to provide or buy a new house, or else get out. Let me assure the House that, if you amalgamated 20 of these holdings in the Gaeltacht, you would not make an economic holding out of them. In fact, if you amalgamated the whole Gaeltacht, you still would not have an economic holding. A considerable amount of damage to the Gaeltacht was done under the Gaeltacht (Housing) Acts and under the Land Act of 1933."

Cá bhfuilimid anois? Tá an tAire atá i bfeighil na seirbhísí seo sa Teach seo, an tAire Tailte, ag oibriú polasaí i dtaobh cúngacht talún sa bhFíor-Ghaeltacht agus sna ceantracha iartharacha ar fad, agus chun críocha an pholasaí sin tá cosc ag an Aire mar Aire Tailte ar an darna teach a bheith ar aon gabháltas amháin. Tá cuid mhaith céille agus reasúin leis an bpolasaí sin. Anois tagann Aire eile as an Rialtas céanna agus ar cheist atá gar don Mheastachán seo, Meastachán Seirbhísí na Gaeltachta, tá polasaí contráilte ar fad dá oibriú aige. Ba cheart don bheirt aca agus don Rialtas polasaí a shocrú agus cuspóir a aimsiú faoin gceist seo ionas nach mbeidh dhá Aire san Teach seo ag bréagnú a chéile in a thaobh.

Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil díograsóirí na Gaeilge ar fud na tíre ag iarraidh bailtí beaga Gaeilge a bhunú san iarthar. Tá siad ag ceapadh nó ag ligean orthu féin go bhfuil siad a cheapadh gur ag bánú na Gaeltachta atámuid nuair nach ligimid do dhaoine an darna teach a dhéanamh ar aon ghabháltas amháin. Mar atá a fhios ag an Aire Rialtais Aitiúil ós rud é go dtagann sé as Gaeltacht i dTír Chonail, tá i bhfad níos mó ná dhá cheann agus in áiteacha, go mhór mhór thiar i gConamara, cur i gcás, tá suas le chúig theach ar ghabháltas amháin agus is í an cheist is achrannaí agus is casta dá bhfuil le reiteach ag na coimisinéairaí talún. Is fusa go leor dul isteach ar ghabháltas nach bhfuil aon tiononta air agus é a roinnt ach nuair a thagas siad ar gabháltais a bhfuil an oiread sin tionóntaí air tá a fbios acu chomh casta is atá an scéal. Ba cheart don Aire Tailte ceist a chur ar a chomh-Aire agus gan a bheith ag caint mar shórt Delphic Oracle. Sílim go raibh a theanga in a phlúc aige nuair a bhí sé ag caint an lá faoi dheireadh. Ceapaim go bhfuil chuile dhuine sa Teach seo, go mór mhór daoine a bhfuil cead cainte acu san iarthar, ar aonfhocal faoin gceist seo.

Is é atá titim amach san Iarthair, go mór mór i gConamara, go bhfuil siad ag dul amach ar an gcimin agus go bhfuil siad ag tógáil botháin ansin, nach bhfuil deontas ar bith le fáil ina dtaobh agus go bhfuil siad ag cur fúthu ansin—mac tionónta ag pósadh iníon tionónta eile. Ní bheadh fonn ar cheachtar de na tuismitheoirí iad a choic. Cruthaíonn sé sin fírinne dár dhúirt mé nuair a bhí mé ag cur ceann ar an gcaint seo, gurab iad na seirbhísí leasa shóisialaigh is mó a dhéanas leas do mhuintir na Gaeltachta. Sin é an cruthunas is mó, go bhfuil cuid de na daoine óga sásta socrú síos agus muirín a thógáil air agus marach na leasa sósialaigh ní fhéadfaidís pósadh ar aon chor.

Tá mír amháin anseo mhaith liom tagairt a dhéanamh dó, sin é, Mír G. Má tá cuid ar bith den "private enterprise" ag baint le aon chuid den Mheastacháin seo, beidh sé le fáil i Mír G—(1) Loans for purchase of machines and equipment for rural industries; (2) Loans for purchase and repair of turf boats; (3) Loans for purchase of boats, carts and draught animals for use in connection with marine products industries; (4) Loans for purchase of boats for Transport Services; (6) Miscellaneous Loans. Ní fheicim thíos ansan ach bhóta samplach—£5—do chuile ceann acu sin. B'fhéidir go mbreathnódh an tAire isteach i gcuid acu seo. Cuir i gcás (2)—Loans for purchase and repair of turf boats. Tá mé a cheapadh go bhfuil gá leis an tseirbhís sin a chur i bhfeidhm agus iasachtaí a chur ar fáil i gConamara. Deirtear liom go bhfuil an méid bád atá ann le móin iompar ó Ghaillimh ag éirí gann agus fágann sé sin go mbeidh ábhar tine gann ar mhuintir an oileáin agus, ar ndóigh, tá go leor "lorries" ag teacht isteach anois i gConamara agus iad i gcomórtas le lucht na mbád. Ba mhaith liom dá dtabharfaí an oiread cúnaimh do na daoine a bhfuil bád acu agus a theastuíonn deasú uathu a thabhairt dóibh agus iasachtaí a thabhairt do dhaoine nach bhfuil bád ar bith acu ach a bhfuil fúthu ceann a cheannach.

Maidir le (3), ní dóigh liom go bhféadfainn cás mór a dhéanamh faoi ach maidir le uimhir (1), tá mé a cheapadh go bhfuil sé thar a bheith tábhachtach—Loans for purchase of machines and equipment for rural industries. Baineann sé sin go dlúth le tionscal an fíodóireachta agus tionscal na cniotála. Tá cailíní agus, ar ndóigh, mná pósta a bhíodh ag obair sna hionaid chniotala sul ar phósadar, a b'féidir a chur ag obair ina dtithe féin. Ar ndóigh, d'fhéadfaí go leor a dhéanamh le teacht isteach an teallaigh a mhéadú ar an tslí sin, áit a bhfuil cailín stuama ann.

Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil a thuilleadh le rá agam ach d'fhéadfadh duine labhairt go leor rudaí sa Mheastachán seo. Is leor a rá go bhfuilimid, tríd is tríd, sásta go bhfuil a ndicheall dá dhéanamh ag lucht stiúrtha Sheirbhísí na Gaeltachta agus go bhfuil, dá bharr, leas muintir na Fíor-Ghaeltachta dá dhéanamh acu agus mar sin, is leasc liom tagairt a dhéanamh do phointe amháin a ndearna mé tagairt dó anuraidh. B'fhacthas dom nár thaithnigh sé le oifigigh agus lucht stiúrtha na hOifige é a lua anseo i nDáil Éireann ach, ar ndóigh, ní le locht a fháil orthu nó lena seirbhísí nó stiúradh na seirbhísí a cháineadh a rinne mé tagairt dó, agus sin é, méadú a fheiceáil ar an chuid den chaitheamh airgid seo. Tá sé gaibhte suas £6,000 ó anuraidh. Tá an Meastachán le h-aghaidh rural industries gaibhte suas £20,000. Ní chuirfidh mé síos a thuilleadh air sin ach is leor, tá mé ceapadh, a mheabhrú do na daoine, ar fónamh, atá ag stiúradh na seirbhísí—is leor rud ar bith a thaispeáint dóibh, chun go ndéanfaidh siad a ndicheall chun é leigheas. Ní dóigh liom gur ceart locht a fháil orthu ar an ngnáth-chaoi. Má fuaramar locht, má b'fhacthas dóibh go raibh mé ag fáil loicht orthu, bídís cinnte gur mise an duine deireannach sa Teach a gheobhadh locht ar sheirbhísí atá chomh maith agus chomh fiúntach le na seirbhísí seo.

Caithidh mé, ar ndóigh, cuidiú, freisin, leis an Teachta Ó Breisleáin sa méid adúirt sé faoi chomh córtasach agus chomh oibligáideach atá na h-oifigí seo nuair a chuireas duine isteach orthu faoi rud ar bith. Bail ó Dhia orthu agus ar an obair atá ar lámha acu.

This branch of our services has in the course of this debate been referred to by the Minister, in reply to some Deputy or other, as being a social service and not a business enterprise. Whether it is a social service or a business enterprise, surely it must either extend or fail—not remain static. If it is a social service, there must be, if there is to be that element of justice blended with equity in the administration of this service, principles upon which the service is worked and principles the application of which must be general and not reserved for operation in favour of certain individuals or certain sections.

This is a service which, whether it be on a business plane or whether it be a social service, is for the benefit of the community and which must, if it is to follow suit at all from its title, be something that not alone, is expected to but should, foster the development of the language. The Gaeltacht housing services are operated from this section, and while I fully appreciate that the provisions of the Housing Act of 1929, in the award of these grants, were to a very great extent fluid and discretionary and, at the same time, that the Act of 1934 did tighten up and restrict the type of person to whom grants would be allocated, there is still, in my opinion, a discretion residing in the Minister on the allocation of such grants.

As I recently had to say in another place life, happiness and the comfort of families are not to be found in the absolute application of Acts of Parliament or to be found in balance sheets. Progress will be found in all aspects of life and, not alone in Gaeltacht Services, by an approach that has some temper of humanity in it.

On this question of housing services I want to refer to a particular instance of which I have personal knowledge, which personal knowledge and interest give me an opportunity to refer to it here. I am told in relation to a certain application to Gaeltacht Services for a housing grant that because the man of the house does not happen to have Irish, though the woman of the house and their ten children have Irish, they are still precluded from obtaining a grant. The examination conducted on such a high and searching plane by the people responsible for the allocation of grants can tell me that while the woman of the house has Irish she has not got practice in it.

They go on then to a rather startling explanation with regard to the Irish of the children. They say in regard to the children: "Níl ach Gaeilge na scoile ag na bpáistí." The Irish which those children are learning is being taught to them by two teachers who are from a Fíor-Ghaeltacht area, whose language from the cradle has been Irish and the language that they impart to the children concerned is the language of the Fíor-Ghaeltacht.

What is the difference between the language of the Fíor-Ghaeltacht and Gaeilge na scoile? By virtue of what particular specialised learning are officials of Gaeltacht Services enabled to make a distinction between the Irish taught by a native Irish speaker in charge of a school in the Breac-Ghaeltacht, and in an area scheduled under the 1929 Act, and Gaeilge na scoile?

If that is the way in which it is proposed to further the interests of the language I do not see much hope for it. Is an application of this kind to be turned down because it is determined on the highest possible plane of examination that, while the woman of the house has Irish, she has not practised it? All that, apparently, can be decided by a cursory visit to the house. Is it to be decided in the same cursory manner that there is some clear distinction between the Irish taught by a native Irish speaker who is a qualified national teacher and Gaeilge na scoile? When officials of this Department go back to re-examine this matter, and spend considerable time and public money on re-examining it, what business it is of theirs, in their queries with regard to housing needs and the Irish language to make a specific inquiry as to whether I have been recently in that village and that house?

I will pursue this matter both inside and outside the House until justice at least is done and no sour taste is left in the mouths of little children who live in parlous conditions in a house which is almost falling down, just because their Irish is only Gaeilge na scoile though they have learned it from a native speaker and from their mother.

It has been my privilege in the course of the last few years to make representations on behalf of the people I represent with a view to an extension of the services rendered by this Department in certain areas of my constituency. I have been told that the placing of machines for knitwear in houses would not pay; that increasing the number of machines already in the recognised centres would not pay. Now, if this is a purely social service, one must be prepared to lose. If it is not a business enterprise, then I agree with the Deputy who has said that it could not pay, but, if it is a social service, then there must be some expansion, even at the risk of its not paying.

In two areas in my constituency, in Blacksod and Corclough, north-west of Belmullet, two sets of excellent buildings—lighthouse dwellings—are on the market. I happen to know that the centre in Belmullet is at the moment overcrowded. I have been led to believe that it is proposed to build a new centre there. That was the information I was given when I made inquiries recently. I was recommending an extension of the Bellmullet industry out in the Corclough direction. There is a building now available there at a reasonable price and I should like the Minister to give full consideration to the matter. In Blacksod, there is the same type of building available at an equally reasonable price. If the Minister is serious about extending this business, or making this social service fully effective, there are two areas in which he can extend it at a very slight capital cost.

Unlike Deputy Bartley, I do not think the administrative cost of Gaeltacht Services is justified by the results achieved. Neither am I satisfied that the method by which the work is done, the method by which the goods are marketed, the method by which the workers' difficulties are handled, are the correct methods. My view is that headquarters is not alone out of touch with the needs of the community which they are supposed to serve, but they no longer care, so long as a skeleton service is continued, and a not very well articulated skeleton at that. Having regard to my own observation and experience, it is not without reason that I come in here to criticise the workings of this branch of the Department of Lands. I do not think anybody can accuse me of ever having criticised the workings of any Department of State up to this—in fact, I have always given full credit—but in this case I am forced, as a result of observation and experience and particular knowledge, not alone of the administration of Gaeltacht Services, but of its handlings of matters of a more complicated nature, to the conclusion that this branch is, as I have said, not alone out of touch but no longer cares.

On behalf of the people I represent in South Kerry, I ask the Minister to consider the position of the Ballinskelligs Fíor-Ghaeltacht district, in an effort to find out whether or not something can be done towards the development of some little industry in that area. Ballinskelligs is the only Fíor-Ghaeltacht district in South Kerry. There are in it buildings vacated by the British Government and still in the possession of this State. I understand the Board of Works holds them. These buildings would be very suitable for small industries in that area. Down the years, we have been urging different Governments to do something by way of developing some little industry in the Ballinskelligs area. Now that a new Ministry is being established for the Gaeltacht, I think it is opportune to raise the matter on this Estimate, so that the Minister can take some steps towards the setting up of some industry there when the new Ministry comes into operation.

The only other matter to which I wish to refer is that of Gaeltacht housing. Down our way, certain applicants have a grievance. Time and again, they have been turned down because all the members of the family are not Irish speakers. Indeed, we had a case recently where all the family, with the exception of one were Irish speakers; a grant was refused on that ground. Whilst not suggesting that exceptions should be made, I think the matter should be reconsidered. I know that a speaking knowledge of Irish is, as a matter of principle, an essential qualification: Irish must be spoken and practised in the home. That has been laid down in legislation. Nevertheless, I think it is somewhat invidious to debar people who are urgently in need of housing, simply because one member of the family does not have a fluent speaking knowledge of Irish. I urge the Minister to reconsider his attitude in that regard. We will be very grateful if anything can be done, because this problem has come up time and again in my constituency.

The debate on this Estimate has been most constructive and most helpful. I was glad of the note struck by many Deputies who congratulated the officials of Gaeltacht Services on the work they have done throughout the years, particularly when it is now the intention that Gaeltacht Services will become merged in the new Gaeltacht Ministry about to be set up.

I would like to take this opportunity of congratulating the officials of the section on the work they have done all down through the years. There is a good deal yet to be done and, while it is a fact that there is a flight from the land in the Gaeltacht areas, I do not think that the fault can be laid to the door of this particular body of officials. I hold that they have done a good job of work; I shall give a brief outline of it to show the work they have been doing. If anybody has been at fault it was not the officials; rather was it the fault of the House itself because of the fact that legislation was not passed or ideas put into operation to help to stop the flight from the Gaeltacht areas.

If we go back to the beginning, the work of what is now known as the Gaeltacht Services began with the Congested Districts Board many years ago. That work took the form of small cottage industries, handicrafts, beekeeping and better means of production on the land. Some aspects of that are being attempted to-day on a much improved scale by the various county committees of agriculture. That work went ahead up to the first World War. Certain aspects of the work being done, particularly the handwoven tweed industry, experienced a boom during the years of the first World War and, just as surely, it experienced a catastrophic depression in the years immediately following.

It was during those years immediately following the first World War that this House was set up and the country got its independence. In those years, the depression had hit the Gaeltacht Services, or what has since become known as Gaeltacht Services, with the result that the total output of tweeds towards the end of the year 1930 had dropped to £30,000. It was then that the Government established a Gaeltacht Commission of Inquiry and one of the first results of that was the Gaeltacht Housing Act of 1929. The commission also recommended that, where possible, the few weavers who had the tradition left to them should be put to work and the tweed industry expanded. From the figures I shall give, it will be quite clear that the officials of the Gaeltacht Services have certainly done the work well. I am not exaggerating when I say that when the Gaeltacht Commission of Inquiry was sitting in 1926, 1927 and 1928 there were not more than a dozen real traditional weavers left in the country. There were two or three in Galway, two or three in Mayo and half a dozen in Donegal. The others had emigrated or had taken up other means of livelihood.

In 1929, 1930, 1931 and 1932, the Government got to work and put the industry on its feet with the result that the tweed industry alone has given a very satisfactory return. About 1930 or 1931, unfortunately I have not got accurate figures with me, the sales of tweed amounted to about £10,000 a year. That amount has grown steadily down through the years to quite a remarkable extent. Not alone has there been that significant expansion but the trade has changed so much that the homespun tweed is now a very small proportion of the output of the service. Instead, there is a tweed of first class quality millspun and handwoven commanding a ready sale in the United States, Germany, Sweden, and as far away as Italy and Spain. In all these countries it enjoys a very high reputation.

This year the total sales of tweed amounted to £250,675. The total sales of machine knitwear, hand knitwear and gloves amounted to £130,648 and the total sales of toys, shopping bags and various other small things amounted to £68,163. The total sales were nearly £500,000 this year as compared with £30,000 in 1928 or 1929. Some Deputies seem to be under the impression that there was a recession in the amount of work done and that there was no improvement. On the contrary, there has been a very steady and heartening improvement, particularly in tweed, all down through the years. Since 1948 the amount paid in wages increased from £8,315 to £55,690 and the number employed from 141 to 238 in the same period.

Deputy Derrig was anxious for information with regard to new machinery in the Kilcar factory. It might not be out of place to mention that machinery to the value of £70,000 has been installed. The machinery bought and installed last year includes a Spenstead wool blending system costing £2,680; a cloth raising machine costing £2,592; a new fancy twisting machine, costing £2,204; a loose wool dyeing machine, costing £1,948; an extension to wool drying machine at £1,400; a piece scouring machine, costing £767; a piece shearing machine, costing £753; a piece rolling machine, at £125; two Universal winding machines, at £120 and a Flake motion, attached to carding machine, at £131.

Deputy Derrig might like to know that, in that regard, the machinery installed during the years replaces to a great extent the second-hand machinery which was the only type available in 1943 when that mill at Kilcar was first turned over to spinning and all the processes of wool-cleaning, such as scouring, drying, carding, dyeing and everything that happens to the raw fleece until it becomes the finished yarn that goes out to the weavers. New machinery to be bought during the coming year includes a rapid bobbin winder at £850; a Knop-dyeing machine at £740; an electric examining machine, at £600; a piece doubling frame, at £550; a cloth-brushing machine, at £450; a pattern-cutting machine, at £300; a truck at £180, and 25 looms, at £1,380. The total amount involved is £5,050. That, I think, will make the Kilcar factory one of the most modern, not alone in County Donegal but in the whole country.

Marketing was mentioned by some Deputies. I want to say that, on the sales side, a complete network of sales organisation was set up at home and in many countries abroad, notably the United States of America, Canada, Switzerland, West Germany, France and Great Britain. Resident agents have been appointed in these countries and competent selling agents also operate on the home market. Their efforts are supported by judicious advertising and promotion of special displays at international fairs such as Frankfurt, Hanover, Munich, Toronto and New York.

This sales campaign has yielded remarkable results. Ten years ago, in 1945-46, sales of tweed were £64,000. By 1952-53 they had virtually doubled at £110,502. Last year, 1955-56, they had more than doubled again and realised just £250,000. And of this £250,000, £125,000, or half, was sold on export markets. This hand-woven tweed produced over 100,000 dollars last year. I think that is a very good record for the tweed section of the Department.

Knitwear has shown a fairly spectacular expansion. It is not quite as spectacular perhaps as that which tweed has shown, but nevertheless sales have been maintained at between £120,000 and £130,000 per year, and steady employment has been given to about 300 girls. In addition, some 600 to 700 are being given a most useful source of additional income from part-time work. The wages bill in the knitwear industry has risen from £38,761 in 1945-46 to £52,058 in 1955-56.

That is no increase. What is the value of the £?

The wages bill has risen from £38,000 in 1945-46 to £52,000. There is no doubt about that. Deputy McQuillan will probably be able to convert that.

Might I ask a question on the marketing? Supposing a business man here in Dublin, through his business connections in America, is in a position to sell a large amount of tweed, will he be allowed to carry on direct negotiations with the Department, or must the business transaction be carried out through the accredited agent in New York?

It must be carried on through our accredited agent in New York. It is obvious you could not have a system whereby everybody could ask for this, that or the other thing. The agent is only too glad to effect any sales and to help out in any way. Such a person would get every help and facility from that agent, just as much as if he came here and dealt directly with headquarters.

In connection with housing, I have some figures in regard to the number of houses that have been built. Deputy Derrig asked for the actual number in each county. I have the figures from the commencement giving the numbers down through the years.

Donegal, 897 new houses built, 1,051 reconstructed, total amount of grants paid, £191,000; Mayo, 727 new houses, 292 reconstructed, total amount of grants paid, £103,000; Galway, 1,172 new houses built, 514 reconstructed, total amount of grants paid, £196,000; Clare, 46 new houses built, 24 reconstructed, total amount of grants paid, £5,700; Kerry, 1,344 new houses, 983 reconstructed, total amount of grants paid, £245,000—incidentally, the highest for all the congested counties; Cork, 342 new houses, 612 reconstructed, total grants paid, £71,000; Waterford, 144 new houses, 109 reconstructed, and total amount of grants paid, £19,600. Altogether, the housing section of Gaeltacht Services built 4,672 new houses, reconstructed 3,585 and the total amount of grants paid was £832,358. Loans in respect of the same houses were advanced to a total of £203,082. I think that the fact that, since the 1929 Act was passed, 4,672 new houses were built, together with 3,585 reconstructed and almost £1,000,000 in grants has certainly contributed very much to the improvement of housing conditions in the Gaeltacht area.

From the little travels I have had abroad, I believe that the new houses in these areas compare more than favourably with similar houses in other countries I have seen. They compare favourably with Scotland and some other countries as well. While some Deputies might think they are not up to the mark, I hold that they are a good, substantial, snug house. They are not too large. It is not too difficult or too costly to keep them heated, and nowadays, since water and sanitation and electricity supplies have become available, they compare more than favourably with similar houses in other countries—countries which have not perhaps the same urgent housing need as we have in this country.

Some Deputies—I think Deputy Bartley, Deputy Lindsay and Deputy Brennan—mentioned that the question of Irish is being taken too seriously by the officials——

The Minister will have to leave me out of that.

I thought the Deputy mentioned that and also the fact that houses will not be given except to replace the old ones. The Deputy mentioned that?

I was quoting the Minister for Local Government.

I know Deputy Bartley's mind on that aspect of housing and I am all with him, because I doubt the wisdom of the statutory condition which prevents the Minister for Lands making a grant available in the Gaeltacht except to replace an existing house. That restriction was put there for a very obvious reason, and, no doubt, a good reason, but there are times when I doubt the wisdom of it. I doubt it when I see the flight from the land, and I ask myself, when I see somebody leaving the Gaeltacht who might have settled down and built a house there, but for that restriction, if the restriction is having the effect of adding more people to the flight from the land which we all deplore so much. I am all the way with Deputy Bartley in that.

To come back to the case of Irish, it is definitely laid down that Irish must be the spoken language of the home. That is a statutory condition. I think Deputy Lindsay mentioned that the Minister had discretion. The Minister has no discretion when the statute lays down very clearly that such and such conditions or qualifications must apply. The Minister has no discretion in that case. It may come as a surprise to those Deputies who criticise the officials of the Department that, if the officials err at all, they err on the side of leniency. In every case where it could possibly be done, the grant is made available to these people.

Deputy Lindsay in particular had one case in mind. He seems to think, because he had an interest in it, that that is the reason the person was denied the grant. That is an exaggeration. In fact, it is more. I think it makes a charge against the officials that is not founded in fact. The truth of the matter is that the housing inspector carries out an investigation to find out exactly the type of house that is going to be built, what the plans are, and so on. So long as it is laid down as a statutory condition in the Housing Acts, he must be satisfied that Irish is the spoken language as otherwise he would be leaving himself open to a lot of trouble. He must be satisfied that Irish is the spoken language. The Housing Act says so.

In all cases?

Yes. It does not leave any discretion to the Minister or the officials. Every single one of us comes up against borderline cases.

Eleven-twelfths of a household is not a borderline case.

The inspector makes his inquiries. He has the terms of the Act before him and he must furnish a report. If he furnished a report to the effect that the family had not Irish, he would be leaving himself open to disciplinary action and possible dismissal. It would be serious to deny some poor family the benefits of the Act passed for their benefit. If the inspector worded the report in such a way as to deny that person the grant, it would be very serious. I can assure the Deputy that such an inspector would get short shrift.

Disciplinary action in these circumstances must have been remarkably restrained.

I think I know the case the Deputy has in mind. Since he brought the matter to my notice, I have asked for a more careful investigation to ascertain whether the inspector overlooked anything. If there is any doubt, the benefit of it will go in favour of the applicant for the grant. I can assure the Deputy of that. I meet several such cases. I can own constituency and Deputies come to me with borderline cases. I can assure Deputy Lindsay and the other Deputies from the Gaeltacht areas that their cases will be carefully scrutinised.

Another useful branch in which there has been very pleasing expansion is the branch which has come to be known as the marine products section. Inquiries in this connection started in 1947. I will give the figures in regard to the tonnage and the amount paid to gatherers and Deputies will see the expansion for themselves. In 1947-48, 2,514 tons of searods were purchased at a cost of £8,913; in 1948-49, 2,801 tons were purchased at a cost of £11,372; in 1949-50, 3,296 tons were purchased and the amount paid was £15,392; in 1950-51, the amount purchased was 2,558 tons and the amount paid £12,155; in 1951-52, 3,338 tons and the amount paid was £16,678; in 1952-53, the tonnage dropped to 1,518 and the amount paid was £7,048; in 1953-54, the tonnage was 1,557 and £7,630 was paid to gatherers; in 1954-55, the tonnage was 1,034 and the amount paid was £5,106; in 1955-56, 2,716 tons were purchased and the amount paid was £14,890.

Deputies may wonder why the same amount of searods has not been gathered and paid for each year. It all depends upon the weather and the storms which root up that type of seaweed from its hold on the rocks and on the floor of the ocean to throw it upon the shore. The fluctuations are due to the type of autumn which is experienced and which influences the particular harvest for gatherers. Last year, the weight of searods had jumped to almost the highest figure ever, 2,716 tons. That is due to the weather more than to anything else.

Another useful branch which has only been started is concerned with carrageen. In 1953-54, 14½ tons were collected and purchased from gatherers. Last year, there were eight tons and this year there are 143 tons and a total of £10,000 paid to gatherers. That is an aspect of the work done by Gaeltacht Services which is not adverted to by many Deputies. If we take £14,890 for searods and £10,000 for carrageen, making a total of almost £25,000 paid to gatherers along the western coast, it can be seen that it forms a very useful source of profit during the idle time to most of the gatherers. That branch was pushed as hard as possible.

Every ton of searods that can possibly be secured the Department is only too willing to take. The price paid in 1947 was £4 10s. Last year, £5 5s. per ton was paid to the gatherers and this year it will be increased to £5 10s. in order to induce people to take an interest in case any searods may go to waste. Much of the gathering of searods is done in Galway, Donegal, Mayo and Clare. It does not extend further south or east than the mouth of the Shannon, but in case searods should be thrown up on the coasts of Limerick, Kerry, West Cork or Waterford, we are inducing people to gather and collect them. We could easily handle almost double the tonnage that is coming in at the present time. As a market is guaranteed for that type of seaweed, there is no question at all of being afraid to handle the job. We could do with much more than we are getting.

In the matter of housing, searods, tweeds, knitwear and toys, very pleasing expansion has been effected by the Gaeltacht Services officials down through the years. The record I have given of their work is one to be proud of, and, if there is still a flight from the land in these areas, it is not due to the officials of the Department. They have done their work well. The number of girls and people employed is increasing yearly.

I do not agree with Deputy Brennan of Donegal who seems to think that private enterprise could handle this matter better than Gaeltacht Services. Private enterprise would not be coming to the Exchequer with a loss of £110,000 a year, the loss which the section suffers at the present time. How would that affect the economy? In my opinion, it would affect it by closing down all the scattered industries from Malin Head to Cape Clear at the present time that are so useful and placing them, perhaps, under one or two or three roofs where one supervisor might replace five or ten that we have at present. There would be no employment in the country districts. It would be one more piece of centralisation that all of us deplore. I am certain it would mean the withdrawal of the very useful employment that is being given in the outlying backward districts at the present time. There is no other view to take of it. Deputy Brennan seems to think we should hand it over to private industry. I do not agree.

It should not be forgotten that, except for the sheep that grows the wool, Gaeltacht Services produce every single part of the finished tweed. If my information is correct, the private industries do not spin the yarn or dye the wool or card it or give the same employment. They buy the yarn already spun and then proceed to weave it and sell the cloth. They do not give quarter the employment which Gaeltacht Services give. I think I am correct in saying that they give it in towns, where there is always a chance of some employment. They do not give it at the back of God's speed, where the Gaeltacht Services division gives it.

I think Deputy Brennan is doing a very serious disservice to the people of the Gaeltacht by suggesting that these industries should all be gathered under one roof or handed over to private industry. I do not believe private industry would make half as good a job of it as Gaeltacht Services did. I am not saying that just because I am the Minister in charge of that Department and I am not saying it just to please the officials. I want to show my appreciation of what I think is a job of work very well done and better done than by anybody else.

The total amount of privately produced handwoven tweed in the country at the present time is only half the amount which Gaeltacht Services are producing under greater difficulty. They produce everything but the sheep. They buy the wool from the farmers. Then they wash it, scour it, dye it, card it, dip and spin it into yarn. The yarn goes to the weavers in the cottages or weaving marts. Gaeltarra Eireann take the tweed and sell it. As anybody will admit who has been abroad and attended exhibitions at which Gaeltacht tweeds were shown, the quality of the tweed can compare with the best in the world. That is a revolution in such a short space of time. We should not forget that, during the war, cloth of any kind was very valuable. That induced a rapid manufacture and output and, as a result, in some instances the quality suffered. All that has been completely overhauled and changed. The quality and the designs of the tweed are as good as you will get in any part of the world. The fact that we have been deluged with demands for the cloth rather than having to try and push the sales is surely a tribute to its high quality.

I want to refer to a matter that is taxing the mind of any serious person in the country, that is, the flight from the land and particularly from the poorer areas. I think that if I mention another section of the Department of Lands now it will not be out of place. I believe, and I have said it here before, that while Gaeltacht Services, tweeds, toys, knitwear, and the marine products industries are doing a magnificent job of work in their own sphere, something bigger than Gaeltacht Services or than what the new Gaeltacht Department was designed for will have to be brought to bear on these areas if we are to save the remnants of our Irish-speaking people. I believe that that is the aim of every Deputy and of every decent and broad-minded person. The Geological Survey tells us that we have little or no minerals, particularly in those areas where the land is poor. I firmly believe that afforestation is one of the best means of bringing employment on a large scale into those areas. At Question Time to-day, the Taoiseach said that increased production is the key to all this problem. That is very true, but increased production and increased employment go hand in hand. They are two opposite points in the same circle. It is the old story of which came first, the hen or the egg. I submit to the House that, while the Gaeltacht Services people have done a magnificent job of work, nevertheless the new Gaeltacht Ministry should not be asked to assume responsibility for a job that it, in its turn, is surely not fitted to do, namely, to bring employment on the scale which afforestation can into places like the West where the land is poorest. The flight from the land is greatest from that type of area. This is the most appropriate Estimate, of the whole 71 Estimates in the Book of Estimates, to speak on this subject. I know it is engaging the attention of all Deputies.

Seeing that we have no minerals, such as other countries appear to be blessed with, and that we have nothing under the surface of our land, we can only make the best possible use of the surface of our land. From that unfortunate surface, the people are flying. The only other way of attracting our people to stay in this country is to push afforestation and make the best possible use of it. We purchase a lot of foreign timber each year. Even the youngest of us will scarcely live to see the trees we are planting now come to maturity but if we start now it will give a proper utilisation of the poor land, stabilise a certain population there, give healthy and useful employment and it will help to redress the serious position in the balance of payments, some fine day. With the rising trend of markets all over the world, it would be only reasonable to expect that the cost of materials which we import will increase rather than diminish. An adverse trade balance will have the effect of increasing rather than diminishing—that is, unless we step up our own production here, and afforestation is one of the ways to do that.

It is unfair of Deputies to criticise the Gaeltacht Services Division for not being better. I think the figures I have quoted, showing the expansion down the years, are a credit to that Division. It is the general intention of the Government that the Gaeltacht Services Division should change hands and go over to the new Ministry for the Gaeltacht. When they are going, we will give them a clap on the back and wish them God speed. I think the House should thank them very sincerely for the work they have done. If what they have done for the past number of years under the Department of Lands is any indication of what they are capable of doing under the new Ministry then, when this Division comes under the new Ministry, the new Minister for the Gaeltacht will have a very creditable and praiseworthy tale to tell this House this time next year.

I asked if the Minister could tell us in his reply what progress, if any, is being made in the research into the use of searods.

There has not been a lot of research, to be quite truthful about it. As I am sure the Deputy is aware, searods are taken in, dried, ground into meal and sold. Most of the processing is done according to a secret formula that we do not know anything about. Approximately 243 tons of carrageen were taken last year and cleaned and dried. That, in its own way, is very creditable. There was an experiment last year to fulfil a certain order. Ascophyllum or bladder weed was manufactured and turned into cattle meal—roughly 100 tons of it—but the market for that seems to have petered out. There is no research worth talking about going on.

I forgot to mention that Deputy Derrig asked where the new knitting centre in the South would be established. It will be established at Ballingeary, County Cork, and will be opened in a few weeks' time. It will give employment to about 15 girls when it is opened.

Has this matter been put before our own scientists? Have we not an institute dealing with matters of this sort? Has this particular matter been put before it, before the industrial research scientists?

Does the Deputy mean the processing of searods or the broad general question of research?

The broad general question—sea weed in general and searods in particular.

The processing of searods is a secret process and we have not got the know-how. There is no research facility available except the university here where research can be carried out on a small scale. There is no section of the Department devoted to research.

But is there not a separate institute for industrial research generally?

That may come.

I asked the Minister if there was a possibility of the extension of the Gaeltacht industries to Ballinskelligs.

I have not that information just at the moment, but I will write to the Deputy in the course of a few days.

Vote put and agreed to.