Committee on Finance. - Vote 8—Office of Public Works.

I move:

That a sum not exceeding £400,900 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, 1963, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of Public Works (1 & 2 Will. 4, c. 33, secs. 5 and 6; 5 & 6 Vict., c. 89, secs. 1 and 2; 9 & 10 Vict., c. 86, secs. 2, 7 and 9; etc.).

I propose to follow the usual practice by taking Votes 8 and 9 together.

Vote 8 covers the salaries and incidental expenses of the various staffs needed to deal with the services for which provision is made in Vote 9. I may mention that a certain amount of reorganisation of staff has recently been carried out with a view to increasing efficiency. The increase of £79,200 over last year's provision is due almost entirely to the pay increases recently granted to all classes of civil servants.

The increase in Vote 9 of £1,331,000 over last year's provision is mainly due to an expansion of activities and, to some extent, to wage increases. The services covered by this Vote are numerous and varied. They comprise the erection and maintenance of State buildings, the care of other State property such as harbours, parks and national monuments, the erection and improvement of primary schools, the execution of arterial drainage schemes and many minor miscellaneous services. The services can be divided into two main classes, architectural works and engineering works.

The two main classes of services are covered by two major subheads of the Vote, viz. subheads B and J. 2. Subhead B, which totals £3,320,000 contains the provision for the erection, reconstruction and improvement of public buildings and for engineering works other than arterial drainage. Subhead J. 2, which totals just over £1,000,000, contains the provision for arterial drainage construction works. These are paralleled by the next two largest subheads—Subhead C, amounting to £720,000, which covers the maintenance of State property, and Subhead K, amounting to £518,000, which covers the provision and maintenance of the machinery required for the engineering services. Most of the remaining subheads relate to what may be regarded as the ordinary "housekeeping" activities of the Office of Public Works—furnishing, heating, lighting and cleaning of the various State properties, and the payment of rents, rates and postal and telephone charges.

About half the total of Subhead A —Purchase of Sites and Buildings— relates to the purchase of sites and buildings for the Garda Síochána. As was mentioned by my predecessor last year, a comprehensive programme for the erection of new Garda Stations has been undertaken.

Deputies have already been furnished with a statement setting out the particulars making up the bulk provision for Subhead B and it is not, I think, necessary for me to go into the details. A few items, however, merit special mention.

Provision has been made for expenditure on the extension to Leinster House, which is so badly needed for Ministers and the members and staff of the Houses of the Oireachtas, and also for members of the Press Gallery. The plans are well advanced; tenders will be invited this month and it is reasonable to expect that building operations will commence in June.

Work on the construction of the Garden of Remembrance at Parnell Square is making good progress. The original proposal for the Memorial Sculpture was for a central feature comprising a monument representing Éire guarded by four warriors of the provinces with a background of patriots in bas-relief, but consideration is now being given to an alternative which has been suggested by the sculptor, namely, the metamorphosis of the Children of Lir, which may provide a more appropriate feature for the setting of the Garden.

As Deputies are aware, new headquarter offices for the Department of Health and Social Welfare are to be erected on a portion of the former Beggar's Bush Barracks at Haddington Road. Aras Mhic Dhiarmada, the present headquarters of the Department of Social Welfare, will be handed back to Córas Iompair Éireann when the new building is ready for occupation.

The planning of the new structure, which will be 20 storeys in height, is proceeding, and it is hoped to have tenders invited for its construction before the end of the year.

As was pointed out last year, many of the buildings at Dublin Castle which are being used as Government offices are in a critical condition and the stage has long ago been reached when the provision of new buildings was essential. Work on the rebuilding of the cross block between the Upper and Lower Castle yards is proceeding and good progress has been made on the preparation of plans for a new Stamping Branch. Deputies are aware that some very interesting archaeological discoveries were made during building operations on the cross block site and I have arranged for a full report to be prepared. I hope to have this by 1st June.

Extensive improvements have already been completed at Dún Laoghaire mail boat pier, and still further works are being done. These include the erection of a permanent shelter at the side of the east approach road with a sailing ticket kiosk, the provision of cranes for handling cars on the mail boat pier, the erection of a left luggage office, new toilet accommodation, improvement of the approach roads, the extension on the west side of the upper deck of the pier, duplication at the west side entrance of the facilities already provided on the east side. A sum of £90,000 is provided for a car-ferry terminal which the Minister for Transport and Power hopes to arrange for. If the present plans mature the scheme will involve interference with direct access to the sea by the National Yacht Club. The Commissioners of Public Works have had discussions with the club and will do what they can to meet the club's requirements.

The amount being provided for improved accommodation for the Garda Síochána is substantial. Satisfactory progress is being made with the new training centre for Garda recruits at Templemore which is expected to be completed about the middle of 1963. Progress on the erection of new Garda stations and improvement of existing stations also continues and will be reflected in increased building operations in the current year.

In Dublin, a substantial improvement scheme has been completed at the Bridewell station; work is in progress on the erection of a new station at Cabra; while tenders for a new divisional headquarters at Crumlin will be invited in about 4 months' time. In addition, the planning of new stations at Clondalkin, Raheny and Rathmines is in progress.

In the provinces a new divisional headquarters was completed at Roscommon last year, and a new district headquarters is being erected at Bantry, Co. Cork. Plans for a new district headquarters at Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan, have been completed. New stations are being built at Grangemockler, Co. Tipperary, Glynn, Co. Wexford, Enfield, Co. Meath, Cloone, Co. Leitrim, and Collooney, Co. Sligo, and work is expected to commence shortly at Banagher, Co. Offaly; Kingscourt and Killeshandra, Co. Cavan; Strokestown, Co. Roscommon; Castle-bellingham, Co. Louth; Clontibret, Co. Monaghan; Portumna and Ahascragh, Co. Galway; Castlefin and Burtonport, Co. Donegal, and Killala, Co. Mayo. Several other cases are in various stages of development. The total programme covers the erection of some 200 new stations, each of which will include living accommodation for at least one married Garda.

Under Irish Governments, over 1,500 new schools have been built and a large number of improvement schemes have been carried out. The total cost to the State is nearly £18 million to date. In the past nine years, there has been a marked acceleration in the building programme. In that period, 616 new schools with accommodation for 100,000 pupils, and 334 major improvement schemes affecting 78,000 pupils were completed at a cost to the State of £11½ million. As a matter of interest I give the record for each decade since 1920-21 inclusive:



Yearly average



1920-21 to 1929-30



1930-31 to 1939-40



1940-41 to 1949-50



1950-51 to 1959-60









A record figure for State expenditure was reached in the year ended 31st March, 1962 when £1.7 million was spent, 81 new schools, with accommodation for 11,680 pupils, and 50 major improvement schemes affecting some 9,000 pupils being completed. Ninety-eight new schools and 65 major improvement schemes are under construction at present, and it is hoped that some 130 new contracts will be placed this year. In order to meet this programme, a sum of £1.9 million is being provided for 1962/63. This is the highest amount ever provided for the service.

In recent years, people have become more school conscious and the proposals for new schools are now very great indeed. The available information indicates that some 750 schools are in need of replacement and over 300 others need to be improved by major works. All the time, of course, there will be schools reaching the state when they must be replaced to the extent of about 40 a year. Allowing for this, to clear the arrears will take at least ten or 12 years, and a State expenditure of up to £20 million, at present prices, will be incurred.

I have given quite a deal of time and thought to the entire question of primary school buildings. Our present planning regulations were introduced in 1935, to replace those of 1908, but since then dramatic changes have taken place in the available forms of construction, planning standards and educational methods, and I regret to say that it is apparent to me anyway that this country has not kept up with these developments.

At the present time in Ireland there is a growing demand for school buildings, and while it is true to state that this year a record expenditure has been made on national schools, we must not forget, also, that the annual wastage rate is around 50 per cent. of the number completed. I am satisfied that a complete reappraisal of the position must be made, and certain far-reaching decisions must also be arrived at.

Recently a party consisting of members of the staffs of the Office of Public Works and the Department of Education with a representative of the Managers' Association and an independent chartered quantity surveyor visited Great Britain to see some of the prefabricated structures erected and being erected. Great strides have been made there in the past few years and a number of independent systems have been highly developed. Much use of these has been made in school building under the aegis of the Ministry of Education. I understand that in speed of erection there are definite advantages and that the buildings can be aesthetically attractive. Whether the prefabrication method could be successfully and economically applied to school building here is being thoroughly examined.

A provision of £140,000 has been made for the major fishery harbours project which envisages large scale improvements at a number of centres recommended for development by the Swedish engineering expert, Mr. Bjuke, who was commissioned by the Government to advise on various aspects of the fishing industry. Preparatory works in the nature of boring surveys, soil sampling, and model investigations are under way and it is hoped to commence construction works at two sites, namely, Killybegs and Castletownbere, before the end of the current financial year.

A sum of £50,000 has been provided for improvement works in fishery interests at other small harbours around the coast as follows: Ballinacarta, Burtonport, Greencastle and Portaleen, County Donegal; Clogherhead, County Louth; Enniscrone, County Sligo; and Ballyhack and Cahore, County Wexford. Provision is also included for a model investigation in connection with proposed improvement works at Kilmore Quay, County Wexford.

A large amount of building work in agricultural interests is in hands and in the planning stage and improvement works are under way or due to start during the year at several centres including the agricultural schools at Athenry, Ballyhaise and Clonakilty and at the Veterinary College, Ballsbridge Abbotstown Farm and the Munster Institute.

Almost £¼ million is being provided for new works for the Department of Posts and Telegraphs at various places throughout the country, the largest single item being for the proposed new central sorting office in Dublin, on which work has now commenced.

The second largest Subhead, J.2 deals with arterial drainage construction works and the other J. Subheads cover associated services. The accelerated arterial drainage programme approved a few years ago is proceeding. Works are in hands on four major catchments — Corrib-Clare benefiting parts of Counties Galway, Mayo and Roscommon; Inny in Counties Cavan, Longford, Meath and Westmeath; Maine in County Kerry; Moy in Counties Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo; on one minor catchment — Broadmeadow benefiting portions of Counties Dublin and Meath; and on two embankment units —the Fergus estuary in County Clare and the Shannon estuary (Coonagh section) protecting lands in Counties Limerick and Clare. Two schemes— Ballyteigue and Kilmore in County Wexford, and the Deele and Swillyburn in County Donegal—were completed during the year. The total cost of all works completed and in hand amounts to £14½ million benefiting an area of 290,000 acres of agricultural land and opening up about 826,000 acres of bog for development.

It is expected to commence works in the Killimor, Galway, minor catchment shortly and later in the year on the major Deel Catchment in Counties Limerick and Cork. Survey and design work will continue on the Boyne affecting Counties Louth, Meath, Cavan, Westmeath, Offaly and Kildare; the Erne in Counties Cavan, Leitrim, Longford, and Monaghan; the Suir in Counties Tipperary and Waterford; the Maigue in Counties Limerick and Tipperary; and CorribMask catchments affecting Counties Galway and Mayo, and on the rest of the Shannon estuary embankments protecting lands in Clare and Limerick.

The extension of the main arterial drainage programme to deal with intermediate rivers, that is, small independent catchments, was slow in the initial stages. Work on one scheme, the Swilly embankments in County Donegal, has been commenced; a tender has been accepted for the Owvane in County Cork, the first 1945 Act scheme to be carried out by contract; the Duff in Sligo and Leitrim will be advertised for contract very soon and later in the year the Matt or Ring River in County Dublin, the Brickey in County Waterford and the Abbey in Donegal will also be advertised. Design work is proceeding on schemes for the Abbey, Donegal, the Assaly, Wexford and the Carrigahorig, Tipperary, and surveys will be done this year on the Glenamoy, Mayo, Knockcroghery or Ballyglass, Roscommon, and the Creegh, Clare. The target of having four separate schemes at the works stage each year will soon be reached.

During last year, the engineers of the Office of Public Works and the Electricity Supply Board presented their joint report on a first stage of investigations into the River Shannon flood problem in the light of the Rydell report. The Government have decided that the detailed engineering surveys etc., recommended in the report will be undertaken as soon as the necessary staff can be made available for the purpose. A comprehensive statement on this matter will be made shortly.

Perhaps it would be well to recount briefly the various stages in the development of a drainage scheme. The catchment has to be surveyed, the data obtained, plotted and studied, and a design of works evolved. This work must be carefully done by skilled men and the time consumed on it is unavoidable to get good results without wasteful expenditure. A formal scheme is then prepared. This is a comprehensive document embodying detailed maps and showing the works proposed to be carried out and proposed interference with properties. The scheme has to go on exhibition locally and notices must be served on the persons whose property will be interfered with. Persons affected may lodge observations within a month. The local authority has three months in which to lodge observations. All observations have to be considered by the Commissioners who then have to consult with certain other Government Departments. Finally the scheme is submitted to the Minister for Finance for confirmation. All these steps can take several years for a large scheme and even for the small intermediate schemes, up to two years are needed. The reason I go into detail in this connection is that, first, I had to obtain this information for my own benefit and, secondly, I appreciate the fact that there are many new Deputies here to whom this explanatory statement may be of assistance.

Deputies are aware that there are priority lists for the major and minor catchments. When the Act was passed it was necessary to have such lists to avoid complete chaos. These were prepared on the best information available. In the early years slight modifications were made but latterly it has been decided by successive Governments that these lists would be adhered to and it is not proposed to depart from them now when we are roughly half way through the programme.

There has been considerable attention focussed recently on flooding arising from breached embankments and storm damage, and many seem to think that the Commissioners of Public Works are responsible for making good the damage and for the upkeep of embankments. That is not so. The Commissioners' responsibility begins only when what is termed an "existing embankment" has been formally transferred to them by Order under Section 31 of the Arterial Drainage Act of 1945. An "existing embankment" as defined in the Act is one which protects lands that are, or have been, the subject of proceedings under the Land Purchase Acts. Only an existing embankment can be transferred and the transfer order is not made until the Commissioners are in a position to commence works. The Department of Lands have some powers in relation to the maintenance of a limited number of embankments in respect of which the Land Commission administers trust funds, but the responsibility for embankments rests primarily on the landowners.

It is well that this should be clearly understood and I would strongly urge the farmers concerned to carry out themselves repairs which are often within their competence in the early stages and not to be waiting until the damage is so great that they have to be calling on local county councillors and Deputies to make representations to the State to come to their aid when the initial repairs have been neglected.

It has been indicated in reply to questions in this House that a Coast Protection Bill will be introduced this year. This Bill will deal with coast erosion as such, that is, encroachment by the sea that is a continuing process causing progressive damage and not occasional flooding caused by storms or other abnormal occurrences.

The remaining subheads of the Vote do not I think call for any special comment but Deputies will not that there is an increase of £41,000 in Subhead C, Maintenance and Supplies, which bears the cost of maintaining State buildings, parks, harbours and national monuments.

My predecessor made mention here last year how shortage of staff was hampering progress with our work on the preservation of national monuments in State care. I am very conscious of the importance of our ancient monuments from both the national and the tourist point of view and I share the view of many others that perhaps we have not done enough to preserve our heritage of monuments and to make them attractive and instructive for our own people and for visitors to our country. Within the past few months, we have succeeded in getting two additional clerks of works and have got approval for the recruitment of an additional assistant inspector. There is an increased provision in Subhead C this year for work on the preservation of the monuments in State care and I have recently been discussing with the National Monuments Council the whole question of the future policy in regard to the Monuments service and I hope that we can look forward to a considerable increase over what has been done in the past in regard to this small but important service.

Before I conclude, there is one item to which I would like to draw particular attention, even though it does not appear in either Vote 8 or Vote 9. This is the restoration of Kilmainham Jail. As Deputies will remember, the building was handed over in May, 1960, to a voluntary body which had been set up with the object of having the premises restored. Although less than two years have since elapsed and although the project is being carried out only as a spare-time activity by those engaged on it, a considerable part of the scheme has been already completed—and this notwithstanding an outbreak of fire last January which damaged some of the work already done. It gives me great pleasure to pay tribute here to those responsible. The trustees, the committee of management and the large body of voluntary workers are all giving of their time, energy and talents most generously and certainly deserve great credit. I am sure all here will join with me in paying this well deserved tribute for what has been done to date and in expressing the hope that the efforts of the Committee and voluntary workers will reach a successful conclusion.

"The Board of Works" which is the usual expression to describe my Office often comes in for more criticism than many Government Departments combined. A certain amount of this is perhaps deserved but in all Government Departments the world over, "the Ministry of Works" inevitably has to endure such censure. In the main, we are the executing agent for most Departments of State and our task is an unenviable one at times. I can assure the members of the House, however, that we shall continue to be as co-operative as possible, and if any member has any particular problem, I will be only too pleased to discuss the matter with him, personally, at any time.

I move:

"That the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration."

At the outset, I should like to thank the Parliamentary Secretary for affording me a copy of his brief. I also want to wish him well as this is his first Estimate. I have some remarks to make about it and some faults to find in it. I always commence my address on any Estimate by referring to my own constituency. That has been pressed upon me continuously by various Fianna Fáil Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries. When an Estimate comes out and I get the opportunity of skimming through it, I discover that large sums of money, millions of money in some cases, are being spent in various parts of the country and that very little of it or none at all, finds its way into my constituency.

In the reconstruction of Leinster House, I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will draw the attention of his Department to the necessity for providing rooms that will be smaller than the existing Committee rooms, rooms in which Deputies could meet Ministers.

There is provision for three such rooms.

I am grateful to the Parliamentary Secretary and I compliment him. I do not want to labour that but every Deputy knows the difficulty he has when his constituents or members of his county council come to Leinster House, that they have to stand around in corridors because there is no fixed place for them to go to meet a Minister. That is a great improvement.

I also suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that the ventilation in this House is something to which attention should be given. I am sure he has the matter in hand. This was an old house and it must have been quite a problem for the Board of Works to take it over and make it suitable for its present function. If the conditions which obtain here obtained in offices and factories outside—I have said this before—the owners of such premises would be prosecuted under the Factories Act. The atmosphere here is certainly not healthy.

With regard to the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square, it is good to know that progress is being made. Perhaps it is just as well that, instead of having a whole group of statuary, there will be just the Children of Lir. Certainly that would be more symbolical.

I note the proposal to construct new Government offices on portion of Beggar's Bush Barracks in Haddington Road. When these offices are completed, the intention is to move the staffs of the Department of Social Welfare at present housed in Busarás out to Beggar's Bush. I should like to know for what purpose Córas Iompair Éireann require the offices now occupied by the staffs of the Department of Social Welfare. Córas Iompair Éireann is shrinking every year. It is now only a matter of the scrap-iron men scrapping the railways. When that is finished, there will only be the bus transport. I am sure they have enough offices to cope with that. They have very fine offices in Kings-bridge and on the Quays. This whole question should be re-examined. The possibility is that the new offices at Beggar's Bush could be used for some purposes other than housing the staffs of the Department of Social Welfare.

Civil servants in Dublin Castle are working under the most dreadful conditions. The offices are unsafe. If there is to be any evacuation to Haddington Road, it is the staffs in Dublin Castle who should be sent out there. Even if the buildings in Dublin Castle are made safe, there will still be a grave problem of overcrowding. Indeed, the whole premises are somewhat antediluvian.

I do not criticise this outlay of £90,000 for a car ferry terminal at Dún Laoghaire. It is an important port. However, I am sure I shall be excused if I ask why money is always being pumped into Dún Laoghaire? Rosslare is an entry port. It has not been plugged by British Railways for some reason or other, but it is able to deal with traffic with much more dispatch than Dún Laoghaire, especially in the peak periods. These moneys are being justified on the ground of the enormous rush that comes at Dún Laoghaire. I know the Parliamentary Secretary has no responsibility but why, in the name of heaven, do they not divert some of the traffic to some other ports?

We merely carry out certain works.

I said the Parliamentary Secretary has no responsibility. I understand the position. With regard to Garda barracks, I see that in counties Dublin, Cork, Roscommon, Wexford, Leitrim, Sligo, Offaly, Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Galway and Mayo, all sorts of activities are going on, improving and building Garda barracks. There is not one barracks listed in my constituency.

Peaceful citizens.

It is about time someone thought of paying that tribute. When the emergency came, the Garda in Waterford were then housed in the military barracks. That is now empty. The Garda were removed from that central position—incidentally, the military barracks had been modernised— down to the old County Club at Adelphi Terrace on the edge of the city. They have been there ever since. The old County Club is a most unsuitable building. It is draughty; it is holed; it is out of date. If any new barracks are to be built, or new accommodation to be provided for the Garda, then Waterford city has a claim.

With regard to schools, the Parliamentary Secretary referred to the planning regulations introduced in 1935 to replace those of 1890. He said we have not caught up with developments. I compliment him on that approach because there is nothing like making advances. I should like to make a suggestion. Perhaps the architects and engineers in the Office of Public Works will not like this, but I do not make the suggestion with any intention of criticising them. I was at the opening of two new schools recently. The layout has improved considerably in recent years, but it is imperative that we should keep up with developments abroad. I suggest that the Minister should hold a public competition for a school to seat 600 pupils, 200 pupils, and so on.

In one of the new schools I saw opened recently, there is a limestone mural portraying the saint to whom the school is dedicated. I think that is an excellent idea. I suggest that in the competition I commend to the Minister's attention, there should be included in the specifications and plans a piece of sculpture, or a painting, or a mural of some kind, so that the Office of Public Works might act as a patron of the arts, so to speak, as well as providing the accommodation.

I defer to the Office of Public Works in the matter because they deserve to be complimented on the manner in which they furnish offices. Whoever plans the furnishing certainly knows his job. These things do not just happen by accident; there has to be planning. As far as furnishing goes, the Office of Public Works are doing a splendid job. I hope they will continue that wholly commendable work. I am not being old-fashioned in this regard. I have seen some of the modern offices and they are not as nice as some of the older ones. That is a matter which, I am sure, the Parliamentary Secretary will take up with his officers. I would commend to him what I have suggested about having a competition for the plans of schools and even public buildings occasionally.

Now, here is an old bone of contention with me—fishery harbours. This is one of the principal mysteries of Government administration that I cannot fully understand. I took the Parliamentary Secretary's predecessor to task the year before last and last year because he had spent £100,000 on a port, Greencastle, in County Donegal.

I went to the trouble to find out how much fish was landed at Greencastle last year. I discovered that they landed 4,000 boxes of fish. For ten years I have been saying that the port of Dunmore East in County Waterford lands more fish than all the other fishing ports in Ireland put together.

There is provision for a sum of £140,000 for fishing harbours this year—Killybegs and Castletownbere. A fish factory was opened at Killybegs a couple of years ago and a sum of £250,000 was lost. There were three trawlers which should have been called the Pinta, the Nina and the Santa Maria. I do not know what their names were but they were responsible for a big loss. They were based at Killybegs at the commencement of what was called a noble enterprise which cost the taxpayers £250,000.

I do not know how far the Parliamentary Secretary can go in answering all these points. I should like him to know that the money diverted to fishing harbours for years past has been devoted to fishing harbours which do not catch the amount of fish that Dunmore East catches and which do not justify the present expenditure on them.

There is a famous fish factory in Galway and another in Castletownbere. Of course there was the wonderful one in Killybegs that lost all the money. Then we had the miserable one that was built in Dunmore East which would not be big enough to deal with lollipops not to talk of the huge fish catches that come into it. These small ports catch 4,000 boxes of fish in the year, 7,000 boxes or 70,000 boxes. Just now we hear of Killybegs with 100,000 boxes. It may be said to me that the £140,000 is money well spent. At Dunmore East we landed 300,000 boxes of fish last year and the year before and the year before that again.

We do not know where we stand as regards the Bjuke Report. We were told that a great fishing port was about to be constructed at a cost of £250,000 at Passage East, County Waterford. We then heard that the river at Passage East runs too fast for a port to be built there and that whatever borings were going on there—and "borings" is the right word — had ceased. Nobody knows—or maybe it has been kept a secret—whether a fishing port will be built at Passage East or whether the Department will relent and go to Dunmore.

The Department of Lands recalled Mr. Bjuke in the light of certain matters which arose such as velocity and turbulence. They are awaiting his report.

He has not reported even yet? I am grateful to the Parliamentary Secretary for that information. This £140,000 will be spent on Killybegs and Castletownbere and a further sum of £50,000 will be spent in County Donegal. I am not a Donegal man but I have spent many a happy day in Donegal. However, they must have some kind of magnet in the mountains in Donegal which can draw all this money to it. In the South of Ireland we are catching much more fish but we cannot get a financial break at all. A small work will be done in the river at Ballyhack. That is all we shall get out of it.

A sum of £250,000 is being provided for post offices. There are to be two central sorting offices in Dublin. We need all these things. I now come to arterial drainage, the second largest subhead. The total cost of all works completed and in hands amounts to £14½ millions benefiting an area of 290,000 acres of agricultural land and opening up about 86,000 acres of bog development. Arterial drainage is rather wonderful as is the reclamation of land. However, I have seen much land reclaimed when it would have been better to allow the water to stay on it. I have seen much waste, rocks and unpassable swamps after so-called drainage works.

Where would that be?

I saw it in the West of Ireland and I thought to myself that the money could have been better spent there on something that would be of more lasting benefit to the people. When we have this list of arterial drainage work before us and when we read of an expenditure of £14½ millions we wonder if that expenditure is for the purpose of improving the land or merely to give hand-outs. At that rate, it would be better to carry out work in an area and then finish with it in the same way as they used to build piers in fields and erect a statue of some person.

It is economically justified.

The Parliamentary Secretary is the first person to say that. I asked his two predecessors about it and they did not say that. I had an idea the Parliamentary Secretary did not think it economically justifiable because he switched moneys. He started to repair embankments in the Shannon in County Limerick. Limerick land is very good land and the expenditure would be far more justifiable there. I thought to myself that the Parliamentary Secretary from Limerick, apart from doing anything for Limerick, knows the Limerick land. He has probably seen so much money pumped into draining the land that is not so good or is practically useless that he has come along to this as a kind of justification.

We did not switch any money to the Shannon embankment.

The Parliamentary Secretary will excuse me—the money was provided. I did not mean that it was switched.

I appreciate that but, again, we are executing agents for the Department of Lands and the Land Commission.

I shall give the Parliamentary Secretary credit for having some influence——

The Deputy would not suggest that we committed ourselves before sanction was conveyed from the Department of Finance? That would be very serious.

I should commend you if you did. Still on the subject of arterial drainage, it is said in the Minister's statement:

It is expected to commence works in the Killimor, Galway, minor catchment shortly and later in the year on the major Deel Catchment in Counties Limerick and Cork. Survey and design work will continue on the Boyne affecting Counties Louth, Meath, Cavan, Westmeath, Offaly and Kildare; the Erne in Counties Cavan, Leitrim, Longford, and Monaghan——

and here comes the poor Suir, like the favourite at the Curragh yesterday:

the Suir in Counties Tipperary and Waterford; the Maigue in Counties Limerick and Tipperary; and CorribMask catchments affecting Counties Galway and Mayo, and on the rest of the Shannon estuary embankments protecting lands in Clare and Limerick.

I have here the priority list given to me by the Parliamentary Secretary's predecessor and I note that the Suir is No. 15. I say to the Parliamentary Secretary that the land behind the embankments in the Portlaw area, around Fiddown and further up into Tipperary is of first class quality. Some of it when dry in summer is fine fattening land and some of it, believe it or not, is highly rated land. That scheme should be brought forward. Not only would it be of national benefit to have this land drained but it would be doubly beneficial to have land of such good quality brought into production. We have here also all these intermediate rivers and, again, I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to bring Waterford a little forward.

I have an idea how a fishery harbour is drawn to the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary but how does one bring coast erosion to his attention? I know that a Bill dealing with the matter is being introduced but how does coast erosion become the child of the Office of Public Works?

Deputy Donnellan, when Parliamentary Secretary, expressed the opinion that the Office of Public Works was the servant of all other Government Departments.

The Minister for Finance was able to "pull a fast one" and get money for Rosslare before any Bill came along. I have seen the fine strand of Tramore with the tide flowing right through all the embankments to the Back Strand. Nobody would assist us. The county council put up some barriers and fenced the tide back for a bit but last year it came through again. I put down some Parliamentary Questions about it but nobody would come to our aid. The county council made some use of the railway sleepers that the Minister for Transport and Power was peddling down there. They bought some and put them along the strand in an attempt to keep the water back. Now there have been breaches of that barrier also. I have heard appeals here by Deputy Esmonde and Deputy Corish and they did not fall on ears that were deaf in the case of the Minister for Finance as far as Rosslare was concerned. The Parliamentary Secretary should think of the great strand, Tráigh Mhór, and what is likely to happen in another bad season.

Very good work has been done by the National Monuments Council, as exemplified by the job they did at Jerpoint Abbey, near Thomastown. It was a wonderful job. A big portion of the walls of Waterford still stand and the Corporation, in clearing houses, have helped to expose these walls which are in very good condition. Some day I hope to have the Parliamentary Secretary in Waterford so that he may seen them. Great towers stand on these walls and with the co-operation of the Board of Works and the Tourist Board they could be made a tourist attraction. I shall send the Parliamentary Secretary a copy of a talk given on the walls by Mr. Carroll, borough surveyor to the Old Waterford Society.

I should be glad if the Minister would send me the names of the members of the National Monuments Advisory Council. I hope it is representative of all areas as that would be a good thing. I suggest that a council like that should meet in various centres throughout the country during the year and report to the Parliamentary Secretary. It would be well for them to visit his own city of Limerick and also Cork, Galway, Waterford, Kilkenny, Wexford——

I understand there are seasonal expeditions to such centres——

Are these not undertaken by the military history people?

Perhaps, but many of the Monuments Council members attend.

I should like these visits to be official and more people to know the visitors are coming. I shall make it my business to have them invited to Waterford at the earliest possible date.

I do not think there is even an application yet made to the National Monuments Advisory Council to have the old walls of Waterford restored. That would be the first step.

I agree that would be the first step but I thought it would be a good idea if the people who had the function of advising the Parliamentary Secretary and the Board of Works were brought there and shown these walls just as I hope I shall be able to show them to the Parliamentary Secretary. Many of these historical things have disappeared. They have been used as quarries. It would be a shame if fine stretches of wall, some half-a-mile or three-quarters of a mile long, still standing with turrets and towers on them, were to suffer the same fate.

Again, I sincerely wish the Parliamentary Secretary a successful term of office. He knows I do. I hope he will continue to answer Parliamentary Questions in his customary manner. I would commend that manner of answering to the Leader of his Party, the Taoiseach, and to the rest of the Fianna Fáil Ministers.

Further consideration of the Vote postponed. (Deputy Tully).