asked the Minister for Transport and Power whether in view of the widespread complaints of exploitation of young hotel workers who are semi-trained under the present six-month training course scheme and the general dissatisfaction with the scheme he will consider setting up a national training college for catering workers with a national curriculum.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Training College for Catering Workers.
I am aware that some dissatisfaction has been expressed but I have no evidence that the position is as implied in the question. On this point I would refer the Deputy to a reply given by the Minister for Industry and Commerce in Dáil Éireann, 29th June, 1961.
I am informed by Bord Fáilte that the whole question of hotel staff training is under examination by a Working Group of which the Deputy is a member. This Group, which was set up by Bord Fáilte, is representative of trade union, hotel and educational interests. The Group will report shortly to Bord Fáilte who will then consider the formulation of comprehensive proposals on staff training and recruitment.
Does the Minister's reference to the Working Group mean that he will endorse or approve of the recommendations of the Working Group, in particular in relation to the working conditions?
That is a matter for future examination.
Is the Minister aware that countless numbers of Irish catering workers have left this country as a result of the horrible conditions under which they are expected to work?
Again, the information from Bord Fáilte is that, although there could be an improvement, the number of complaints received is comparatively limited. I think the Deputy is well aware from his own position that everything is being done to improve this position and that undesirable propaganda suggesting that the situation is worse than it is will not help the Deputy in his part on the Committee in ensuring that we have a better set of conditions, better training and that the whole of the business proceeds in a more satisfactory manner.
I would ask the Minister to advert to the protests that have been made by vocational education committees throughout the country who must be regarded as being in a position to give proper information in connection with this matter.
In reply to the Deputy, I have not said there were not complaints. What I can say is that it is as much in the interests of the workers as of the employers and all others concerned in the tourist industry if an examination is made into this matter and intelligent decisions arrived at rather than tending to exaggerate whatever deficiencies there may be at the moment.