Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Tóstal Council's Losses.

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will ascertain from Bord Fáilte Éireann whether they have any arrangements for recouping losses incurred by Tóstal councils in organising the activities of An Tóstal on behalf of An Bord; and, in particular, whether they propose to recoup Wexford Tóstal council in respect of the heavy loss which they have incurred, bearing in mind that legal action may be taken against the council by various traders for recovery of debt.

The Deputy will appreciate that the organisation of An Tóstal is a matter for Bord Fáilte Éireann and that I do not intervene in the details of the arrangements made by the Board in discharge of this function.

However, I am informed that it is the policy of the Board that the organisation of An Tóstal must be based on local initiative, effort and financial support. Responsibility for the organisation and presentation of local programmes rests with the local Tóstal councils or other groups concerned. The Board correlates and publicises the programmes so organised and, as an incentive to local effort, is prepared to entertain applications by local groups for financial sponsorship in certain cases. Such sponsorship, where given, takes the form of grants or guarantees.

I understand that, in the case of Wexford, the local Tóstal council committed itself to the holding of an International Boxing event before it requested the Board to sponsor the project financially. The council was informed that the Board did not consider the event worthy of the support sought; but, on special consideration, the Board agreed to give a financial guarantee up to a certain limit. In doing so, the Board made it abundantly clear that the amount of the guarantee would not be exceeded in any circumstances. The council accepted, in writing, the terms of the guarantee and decided to proceed with the organisation of the event. It must, therefore, accept responsibility for any loss incurred on the event in excess of the sum guaranteed by the Board.