Committee on Finance. - Vóta 42—Roinn na Gaeltachta (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following motion:
Go ndeonófar suim fhorlíontach nach mó ná £10 chun íoctha an mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31ú lá de Mhárta, 1963, le haghaidh Tuarastail agus Costais Roinn na Gaeltachta, maille le Deontais le haghaidh Tithe agus Ildeontais-i-gCabhair.—(Aire na Gaeltachta.)

There are only a few further matters to which I should like to refer. As I told the Minister when I reported progress, some of them are parochial. The Minister should pay particular attention to harbours in the Gaeltacht area. Most of our Gaeltacht is situated in isolated areas on the sea coast. Some of the harbours may not be located in Fíor-Ghaeltacht areas but they are used by fishermen and others from the Fíor-Ghaeltacht areas. The Minister would be facilitating these, and providing an amenity for them, by improving the harbours. One such harbour comes to mind and I am glad the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister is here because the one which comes to mind is the harbour at Burtonport; I think he has seen this harbour at low water and when the fleet is in.

I appeal to the Minister to use his influence with the Minister for Finance, to call upon himself as Minister for Fisheries to support himself as Minister for the Gaeltacht in making representations for improvement at Burtonport. Within the last week, or fortnight, departmental inspectors had the opportunity of viewing this harbour. It is not in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht, but it is frequented by fishermen from the Fíor-Ghaeltacht. I appeal to him to ensure that the necessary dredging operations are carried out and the necessary shelter provided for boats fishing there.

There is another matter to which I should like to refer. I quote from the Minister:

We have arranged to extend to all Gaeltacht areas the land rehabilitation scheme, at present known as the Connemara Scheme. The Department of the Gaeltacht will defray the extra costs involved in this extension.

I wonder if Fianna Fáil members remember when Deputy Dillon, as Minister, introduced the Connemara scheme. Do they remember the fun that was poked at him about rolling the rocks round rugged Connemara into the sea? We do not forget it. We told you at that time that here was a method whereby you could give employment in a place sadly needing employment, a place sadly neglected. We told you that here was an opportunity of trying to cultivate the small uneconomic plots in the Gaeltacht area. I remember Deputy Ó Briain laughing at us and trying to paint a picture of Deputy Dillon rolling the rocks round rugged Connemara into the Atlantic. It took eight years for Fianna Fáil to see the wisdom and sanity of the Connemara scheme. If they had pushed ahead with the scheme, as introduced by Deputy Dillon some eight years ago, that scheme would now have extended to every Gaeltacht and the uneconomic holdings would have been made more economic or less uneconomic.

It is good even at this late hour to see that Fianna Fáil appreciate the scheme introduced by the inter-Party Government. I hope that in the future we will not hear any fun poked at the Connemara scheme by Galway Deputies or any other Deputies. It was an excellent scheme which gave employment where it was badly needed. At the same time, it was an endeavour to rehabilitate uneconomic holdings where land was very scarce, indeed.

At £300 an acre.

Possibly the Deputy is asleep.

He is not; he is wide awake.

Possibly, he did not understand the Minister's Irish. The Minister thinks so much of Deputy Dillon's scheme that I am going to quote from his speech for the benefit of the Deputy from Cavan. This is what the Minister said:

We have arranged to extend to all Gaeltacht areas the Land Rehabilitation Scheme, at present known as the Connemara Scheme.

It was named the Connemara scheme by Deputy Dillon. Let me quote again:

The Department of the Gaeltacht will defray the extra costs involved this extension.

Does Deputy Dolan disagree with that? He does not answer. I think he is mute of malice. He interjected some remark and then when he was pulled up and the veracity of what I said was pointed out to him, he immediately crawled back into his shell and we heard no more from him. Deputy Dillon's scheme has now been accepted and endorsed by the Minister eight years too late.

I had a question on the Order Paper today—Question No. 28—addressed to the Minister. During the past week, the Minister received a deputation from the Gaeltacht island of Arranmore. He received a petition from the spokesman, the local Catholic curate on Arranmore. The curate, in consultation with the islanders, particularly the fishermen, made certain recommendations to the Minister which are contained in Question No. 28 on today's Order Paper.

The first is a request for the erection of hand-winches at four different ports on the island. The reason for that is this: when boats come alongside, particularly in a heavy ground swell, there is no hope of beaching the boats. These boats have to be brought ashore by hand-winch. I refer to the smaller type of boat. In regard to the bigger type of boat, at low water, a hand-winch is very useful for discharging the cargo. No very great cost would be involved. I am certain that the local authority would be only too anxious to take over maintenance if the Minister provided these winches. The cost would be very low indeed.

The spokesman for the islanders also requested the provision of a derrick or small crane on the piers at Leabgarrow and Burtonport. I was referring really to the derrick or crane. What I meant by the hand-winch is this. When boats are brought in at low water, it is difficult to secure sufficient men to haul them up particularly on a stormy night. A hand-winch to haul them up is essential. The derrick or crane will be used to discharge the cargo of these boats. That is also very essential; otherwise, it means the manual hauling up alongside the pier of the ship's cargo. If the Minister can see his way to do these things for the people of Arranmore and give them those amenities and facilities at their island ports, he will be doing a good day's work.

They also request the erection of lights on the pier at Chapel Strand, Arranmore. That is an historic spot. It is the spot where the famous Arranmore disaster occurred almost 30 years ago. It is the spot where, had there been a light on it that night, there would have been no disaster. It is a spot where many islanders land during the day-time and the nighttime. As they come from the approaches of the western fishing grounds, a light situated here is essential.

I want to thank the Minister for having provided lights in another part of the island. I am asking him to do the same for the third landing place at Chapel Strand. He will be facilitating the islanders whose spokesman is the curate on the island—a gentleman who knows what he is talking about when he requests these things to be done. In his reply today the Minister said that this request had been received and that he will consider it. I ask him to give it careful consideration. If he does so, I am sure he will accede to the request of the curate.

The other matter is to make available a special grant for the repair of roads on the island. In his reply, the Minister told me what was spent last year and the year before that but he did not tell me what would be spent in future years. It would not be a great undertaking for the Minister to ensure that, until the 15 miles of the roads on Arranmore island are rolled and tarred, a small allocation be made available each year to the local authority to roll and tar these roads.

Arranmore is now the site of a very progressive Irish college. It also has considerable tourist potentialities but, unfortunately, the condition of the roads debars tourist from taking advantage of the modern amenities and transport through the island. The Minister says that they cannot say what we will get in the future. I am satisfied that if the Minister gives his word that he will give an allocation each year to Arranmore island until the roads are rolled and tarred, which should take about three or four years no matter who his successor is, he will not go back on that promise. Perhaps he could see his way to do that. If he did, he would receive my thanks and the thanks of the islanders on this rugged, bleak outpost of civilisation.

I conclude by dealing with one other matter, that is, the deontas paid to Irish-speaking children or children in Irish-speaking homes. I notice that the grant this year is as it has been down through the years. There is no change. This is one of the tests. No additional families have been found who have become Irish speakers. The same this year as last year: the same down through the years. Then we are told the language is progressing. There is one of the tests but I shall not go into that now. I shall go into its administration, however.

It is a peculiar scheme. It is a scheme administered in this way. A school inspector makes inquiries not as to whether a child speaks Irish or the children of a household speak Irish, but as to whether Irish is the spoken language of the house. How does he go about it? He sneaks the information from the neighbours. Very often, a bad neighbour will put in a bad word against an applicant for the deontas. No person would be in a better position to know whether or not a household is Irish-speaking than the local teacher or the local manager of the school. An occasional visit from an inspector once a year or once every two years is not a proper test of whether Irish is the spoken language.

One thing the people of the Gaeltacht suffer from is faiteas — natural shyness. Immediately children of immature age are spoken to by a stranger in a dialect which is not too familiar to them, they shut up and will not talk. Then they are classified as non-Irish speakers and are refused the deontas.

There is one family I visit three or four times a year. During my visits to that house, in the Kilcar district, I have never spoken a word of English. They were turned down the last two years for the deontas, although they received it up to then. I made representations to the Minister and asked him to appoint an independent inspector to investigate this case. The reply I got back was that if they worked hard enough at the Irish language during the coming 12 months they might become Irish speakers by that time.

Why not write to the parish priest, who will give you his word as to whether or not they are Irish speakers, whether Irish is the spoken language of the house? Why not write to the local schoolteacher and inquire? Why not get some other inspector to call on the household?

We have another gentleman in the Gaeltacht who is most unpopular, another sneaky little gentleman known as the investigation officer. His job is to inquire into the means, the number of hens people in the Gaeltacht have, and, depending on the number of hens they have, the amount of their unemployment assistance is assessed.

The Minister for the Gaeltacht would not have responsibility for that.

Very often, when the cigire, the school inspector, calls, he is mistaken for this sneaky little gentleman, the investigation officer, and the parents immediately clamp down. Again, the local Garda should be consulted as to whether people are Irish speakers or otherwise. The Garda know. I appeal to the Minister to be liberal and generous in his investigations—I do not say in his administration of the scheme but in his investigations—as to whether Irish is the spoken language of these families.

There is another matter to which I wish to refer and the investigation officer is brought into mind. The Minister is the Minister in charge of fisheries and fishermen in the Gaeltacht areas. This year and last year, Gael Linn acquired a very valuable fishery in Teelin, County Donegal. They issue licences to skippers of boats to fish for salmon during the drift net salmon season or the draft net salmon season, as the case may be.

Would that point not arise on another Estimate?

With respect, I do not think so. I pointed out that the Minister for the Gaeltacht is in a peculiar position. He is a co-ordinating Minister between all other Ministers. He is not a spending Minister in the sense that his is not a spending Department. He siphons money from various Departments and generally passes it through the office of Public Works or the Department of Local Government for expenditure. As such, he is a co-ordinating Minister. He could and should do something for the poor unfortunate fishermen of the Gaeltacht who are losing what they call their "dole" or unemployment assistance as a result of their activities in the fishing industry.

It is a most peculiar system. I am telling the Minister this now, as Minister for the Gaeltacht. A man living in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht can go over to Scotland for three months of the year where he may earn as much as £40 per week danger money in the tunnels or the underground mines. After three or four months, he can come back here with a couple of hundred pounds. When the Department of Social Welfare come to assess his means for unemployment assistance, that money which he earned is not taken into account at all.

If a fisherman in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht goes out for a night's fishing and earns, say, £30 or £40 or £50 during the week, that £50 is taken into account in assessing his means for unemployment assistance. It is most peculiar that a fisherman's earnings, as such, are taken into account in assessing his means, whereas a migrant's or an emigrant's earnings are not.

The Donegal County Council, say, may employ an unemployed man for three months and pay him £6 or £6.10 per week. Then his employment ceases. Supposing he wants to draw unemployment assistance. He may do so and his earnings with the Donegal County Council are not taken into account. Supposing that that same man, instead of working for the Donegal County Council, fished either herrings or any other type of fish for one month. The amount of that is taken into account in assessing his means and his unemployment benefit grows smaller.

These things may seem strange and may sound peculiar here. We have a very sparsely-populated House at the moment. I know most people are not interested but every family in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht is interested in the dole, where there is no employment for them. I trust the Minister for the Gaeltacht will prod his various colleagues in Government to see that the Fíor-Ghaeltacht gets cothrom na Féinne and that, in the distribution of the State's gifts, the law is a little more liberal and generously administered when dealing with people who are the sole and last custodians of our Irish language.

Nil mé ag brath labhairt ach ar ghné amháin d'obair na Roinne seo, sé sin, an gné a bhaineann leis na coláistí Gaeilge. Sul a labharfadh mé ar sin, ba mhaith liom tagairt a dhéanamh do dhá rud adúirt an Teachta Ó Dómhnaill—ceann acu nach aontaím leis agus an cheann eile ar a bhfuil mé ar an intinn chéana leis an Teachta ach gurb é mo bharúil nach féidir é a dhéanamh, sé sin, nach bhfuil sé practiciúil.

Sa chéad dhul síos, dúirt sé go raibh sé ag caint leis an Teachta Diolún faoi na daoine sa tSualainn agus tíortha eile go bhfuil an Béarla go maith acu. Do chuir an Teachta Ó Dómhnaill é sin i gcomparáid leis an méid a deineadh leis an Gaeilge anseo, fén gcóras atá againn, ar a thug sé córas éigeantach. Ní féidir an dá rud a chur i gcomparáid lena chéile mar, ó thaobh na daoine sa tSualainn atá ag foghluim an Bhéarla, tá dhá rud i gceist, (a) go bhfuil siad comhgarach do thíortha ina bhfuil teangacha éagsúla (b) gur ceist eacnamaíochta atá ann.

Tá Éire suite idir dhá thír móra— Sasana ar láimh amháin agus Meiriceá ar an láimh eile. Dá bhrí sin, shíl cuid dár ndaoine nach raibh aon teanga eile seachas an Béarla ar fáil. San Eoraip tá na daoine in a gcónaí láimh le tíortha mar an Ghearmáin, an Danmhairg agus Sasana. Deineann siad a gcuid gnótha leis na tíortha seo agus dá bhrí sin is fiú dóibh ó thaobh eacnamaíochta dhe na teangacha sin a fhoghluim. Tá fhios acu go bhfuil an Béarla úsáideach dóibh in a nghnóithe agus mar gheall air sin tá fáth eacnamaíochta acu len í a fhoghluim ach ní hionann sin is a rá go gcaitheann siad a dteanga féin i leathtaobh.

Ar an dara dul síos, ba mhaith liom tagairt gairid a dhéanamh do na páistí a théann go dtí an Ghaeltacht gach bliain. Deir an Teachta Ó Dómhnaill go mba cheart laghdú a dhéanamh ar an líon páistí a théann go dtí an Ghaeltacht i rith an tSamhraidh agus gur ceart dúinn líon beag páistí a chur ann i rith na bliana. D'aontóinn leis an méid sin ach a bé na constaicí a bhaineann leis. Bheadh sé i bhfad ní bhfearr dá dtiocfadh linn na scoláirí seo a chur go dtí an Ghaeltacht tríd an bhliain ar fad ach níl sé indéanta. Cé bheadh ann chun aire a thabhairt dóibh? Cé hiad na daoine a bheadh ábalta fanacht sa Ghaeltacht i rith na bliana le haire a thabhairt do na páistí? Ins an Choláiste a bhfuil baint agam léi, Rann na Feirste, tá fhios agam nach féidir é sin a dhéanamh i rith na bliana ar fad. Is féidir é sin a dhéanamh ar feadh cúpla mí sa Samhradh ach tá sé dodhéanta i rith na bliana ar fad.

Cúpla focal anois i dtaobh na gcoláistí Gaelige. Tá daoine ann a cheapann gur féidir linn an teanga a athbheochaint gan an Ghaeltacht a shábháil. Ní aontaím leis sin. Má chaillimíd an Ghaeltacht ní bheimíd i ndán an teanga a shábháil.

Aontaím leis sin, ar aon nós.

Tá dualgas orainn an Ghaeltacht a shábháil má táimíd chun an teanga a athbheochaint. Bá mhaith liom anois labhairt ar gné amháin de obair na Roinne—an cuidiú a thugann siad do na Coláistí Gaelacha agus an baint atá acu leo. Ar an gcéad dul síos, ba mhaith liom cúpla focal a rá ar Choisde na bPáistí agus an obair atá déanta ag an Roinn le feabhas a chur ar an scéim sin. Tá moladh mór ag dul don Roinn as ucht na hoibre atá déanta acu. Bhí cosc mór ar an scéim sin in am amháin mar gheall ar aoiseanna na bpáistí—go dtí cúpla bliain ó shoin. Níor bhain an scéim sin ach le páistí idir 11 agus 14 bliain d'aois. D'ardaíodh an aois seo go 18 bliana agus ní amháin go dtugann sé sin cuidiú dúinn níos mó scoláirí a chur go dtí an Ghaeltacht ach tugann sé cabhair do na páistí sna Sé Condae fosta. Is beag Gaeilge atá ag páistí na Sé gCondae faoi 14 bliana, ach tá Gaeilge mhaith i gcuid des na meán scoileanna. Ós rud é go bhfuil na h-aoiseanna árdaithe, is féidir leis na scoileanna sin úsáid a bhaint as an scéim.

Ba mhaith liom an Roinn a mholadh fosta mar gheall ar an chabhair a thugann siad leis na Choláistí Gaelacha a fheabhsú. Thug siad cuidiú breá don Choláiste i Rann na Feirsde agus sílim gur beag Coláiste ar fúd na tíre a bhfuil crut chomh maith uirthi agus atá ar an cheann san anois. Is cúis bróid do mhuintir Rann na Feirsde coláiste dá leithéid a bheith acu. Tá fhios agam go bhfuil a lán rudaí a dhíth i gceantair na Gaeltachta—tá déantúisí ag teastáil uathu agus tá rudaí eile eacnamaíochta in easnamh —ach tá fhios agam fosta go gcuidíonn na Coláistí Gaeilge go mór leis na daoine sa Ghaeltacht. Is mór an trua, ar an ábhar sin amháin, nach féidir linn leathnú ar líon na gColáistí seo. I láthair na huaire díolann na coláistí a lán airgid i rith an dá mhí a bhfuil na Coláistí sin ar obair. Chómh maith leis sin, caitheann na scoláirí féin mórchuid arigid ins na ceantair sin.

Rinne muid iarracht i mbliana a fháil amach cé mhéid airgid a chaith na scoláirí. Fuair muid amach i rang in a raibh 30 páistí, meán rang a bhí ann, gur chaith siad trí phunntaí an duine ar an mheán sa mhí, agus ós rud é go raibh breis is míle dóibh ann is mór an méid airgid é sin—agus bhí sé sin taobh amuigh ar fad den mhéid airgid a fuair muintir na dtithe ón Choláiste ar son a gcuid oibre.

Ní shílim go bhfuil mórán eile le rá agam ar an Meastachán seo. Tá i bhfad níos mó eolais ag Teachtaí eile ar na rudaí atá a dhíth sa Ghaeltacht ná mar atá agam ach ba mhaith liom mar focal scoir a rá gur ceart dúinn iarracht mór a dhéanamh páipéar nuaíochta Gaeilge a chur ar fáil ag muintir na Gaeltachta. Taobh amuigh de pháipéar amháin, níl le fáil sa Ghaeltacht i láthair na huaire ach nuachtáin Bhéarla agus is mór an trua é sin. Dá mbeadh páipéar maith Gaeilge le fáil, tá fhios agam féin go léadh muintir na Gaeltachta é. Tá nuachtán Gaeilge ann ach cionn is nach bhfuil go leor airgid Stáit á fháil aige tá sá doiligh air freastal seart a dhéanamh ar mhuintir na Gaeltachta.

Bá mhaith liom cúpla focal a rá ar an Meastachán seo. Tá an dualgas orainn ár ndícheall a dhéanamh chun an Ghaeilge d'athbheochaint agus cultúr na tíre seo a thabhairt ar ais go hÉireann mar is chóir. Tá an dualgas orainn ár ndícheall a dhéanamh ins na slithe sin. Iarraim ar an Aire, freisin, a dhícheall a dhéanamh chun muintir na Gaeltachta a spreagadh agus deireadh a chur leis an aineolas atá dhá scaipeadh ar fud na tíre i dtaobh ceist na Gaelige. Cathfimíd córas Críostúil a chur ar fáil. Is maith is eól dom an méid atá á dhéanamh ag an Aire ar son muintir na Gaeltachta agus tá rian a chuid oibre le feiscint ins na ceantrachta Gaeltachta. Ach is mór an trua go bhfuil muintir na Gaeltachta ag imeacht i gcéin, go Sasana agus Meiriceá agus críocha eile ar fud an domhain. Níl a ndóthain obair le fáil acu sa bhaile agus imíonn siad le fáin.

Molaim Gael Linn, Conradh na Gaeilge, Coiste na bPáistí agus na gluaiseachtaí eile atá ag obair go dian chun an Gaeilge a choimeád beo agus ba chóir go mbeadh gach Gaeilgeoir in Éirinn buíoch dóibh. Guím rath ar an obair seo.

I note there is an increase of £7,250 in this Estimate. I should like to know what percentage of that increase has reached the Gaeltacht. Has it all been eaten up in salaries in the Department? These people are entitled to these increases; I do not see why they should not get what is going but when there is talk of an increase I would say the percentage that has reached the people of the Gaeltacht is very small. What struck me most was the way the speech on this Estimate was rushed through by the Minister. He spoke so fast that I do not know how anyone could keep up with him. It was like something the Minister wanted to get rid of quickly. That seems to be the approach of his Department towards the Gaeltacht.

Mention was made of the glasshouses. People are beginning to see through a lot of these glasshouses because the Minister has turned his back on the people in regard to the glasshouses that were damaged by the storm last year. Does the Minister recall having told the people to cut more turf so as to heat these glasshouses? That turf has been cut but it has not been burned in the glasshouses. We all remember the storm last year—"Debbie" it was called. I do not think the people of Dublin knew the facts of what did happen in the West. The damage to glasshouses there has been immense and the failure of the Minister and his Party to see that these glasshouses were put into proper repair is one that called for the strictest—the term I should like to use would not be Parliamentary—censure. Glass has been scattered all over the countryside creating a hazard to stock. Glasshouses are standing like ghosts, most of them just twisted frames. The Minister says here: "I regret that I am unable to say when the scheme will be completed." His regrets will not go very far and the people to whom I have spoken along the coast are disgusted with the attitude in this regard.

I should like to know what is the Department's policy in regard to the division of work on the island of Aran. When I say work I mean something permanent, not just a stop-gap. I would remind the Minister these people pay their share of taxes although they have no ESB, no CIE and, of course, they will have no TV either. The Minister may say to us these people have got bottled gas but that is a poor substitute for the service for which they pay their share. Would the Minister turn his attention to helping to see that the little home industries are both developed and protected? I have said in this House before, one has only to go down some of the streets of this city to see the famous Aran crioses being sold having been made in back rooms in Dublin. What protection has the Minister or his Department given these people to guard against the activities of those cashing in on industries that were built up by these people over the years? I have said that before and I shall continue to repeat it in this House until we get some form of protection for these people. They have a genuine article but it is being substituted and certain elements are cashing in on it.

The Minister is also responsible for fisheries. Deputy O'Donnell has suggested that the Minister should have a co-ordinating effect on fisheries, so far as the West is concerned. Government policy in regard to fisheries off the western coast has come to the surface in the past couple of days. The Minister is abandoning—and "abandoning" is the word—the fish plant in Galway. I should like to remind him of a statement made by his predecessor. He said:

I am informed that the minimum operating capacity to enable it to operate economically is 25 tons.

That is our fishery plant in Galway. He continued:—

At the moment twenty tons are being brought ashore to be processed. We hope to reach the figure of the extra five tons shortly when the plant will prove to be of economic value.

Nach bhfuil sé sin taobh amuigh de limistéar an Mheastacháin seo?

Dúirt mé é sin cheana leis an dTeachta.

I am talking about the policy of the Government in regard to the men of the west.

The matter would relevantly arise on the Fisheries Estimate which we discussed this morning.

I pinched the Minister there.

Is cuma liom.

That was one he did not like especially since a few months ago, he stated his policy in regard to the people depending on fishing off the west coast. I am talking of Government policy and the policy of the Department he represents. No matter what Estimate he is presenting to the House, he is still the Minister in charge of the Gaeltacht and Fisheries. The Minister is trying to pass the buck with his Pontius Pilate act. He is trying to wash his hands of the responsibility for the people who depend on fishing for their livelihood off the west coast. The city of Galway has done a lot to train fishermen but, of course, the people can judge the Minister's attitude in that respect.

I should like to know what steps the Minister proposes to take—or is he abandoning it like the fish plant in Galway—to decentralise his Department and place it in the West. We heard all the pious statements made by the Minister and his predecessor about having the Department of the Gaeltacht in the West. Of course, the Minister has got into the groove that holds that Dublin is the be-all and the end-all, so far as his Department is concerned. The entertainment halls are very laudable but, hand in hand with them, should go the development of little industries. It would take a lot of entertainment to fill an empty stomach or stop an emigrant from leaving the West.

The Minister might tell us what progress has been made in regard to the national language, either in or outside the Gaeltacht. Can we hear the children in the streets speaking Irish? If you speak to children coming from school in the Irish language, they look at you as if you are a "square." I would be a square in the circle that is being created nowadays——

B'fhéidir go bhfuil an ceart ag an dTeachta.

Ba cheart go mbeadh náire ar an Aire. While the £5 deontas is a good thing, I feel that the time has come when the child from an English-speaking home who speaks Irish should be considered because that child is at a greater disadvantage than the child who has been reared in the Gaeltacht.

Entertainment halls in the Gaeltacht are to be recommended and handball alleys are also being provided. I should like to draw the attention of the Minister to the fact that one in Barna was badly damaged by storms last year and needs replacement. Barna is an Irish-speaking area. Possibly the Department might be able to consider giving a grant to have it replaced.

I should also like to draw the attention of the Minister to the need for providing more slips for boats fishing off the west coast. There is a great need now that they are engaging in lobster fishing as well as other fishing, and facilities should be provided to help to make the lives of the fishermen worth living.

The Minister did not ask me—he did not want to hear it—for the source of the quotation I gave earlier. I quoted from the Galway Observer of June 14th, 1958. I should like the Minister, in his dual capacity, to read what his predecessor said in regard to the fish plant for which he says he is not responsible today but for which he will be responsible tomorrow, and for which, so far as I am concerned, he is responsible all the time. I should also like the Minister to take note of replies given to me in the House on June 14th, 1958.

Ní thagann mise ón Ghaeltacht ach ní h-ionann sin agus a rá nach bhfuil spéis mhóir agam ins an Meastachán seo agus in gach aon rud a théann chun tairbhe agus socair na ndaoine sin. Sílim gur Meastachán an-thábhachtach ar fad é seo de bhrí gur sa Ghaeltacht is mó atá teanga, ceol, nósanna agus macsamhail mhuintir na hÉireann leis na céadta bliain anuas agus gur cheart, agus gur cóir agus gur riachtanach an rud é an méid is féidir a dhéanamh leis an gcóras beatha agus an teanga a shábháil ionas go mbéidhmíd ábalta an náisiún féin a shábháil.

Cuireann sé déistin orm éisteach leis an Teachta Ó Cúgáin thall ansan ag labhairt i mBérla go mór mhór nuair is eól dom go bhfuil an Ghaeilge aige. Cheap mise go mbéadh seans againn cathair na Gaillimhe a bhunú mar cathair fíor-Ghaeilge na Gaeltachta agus measaim go n-éireodh le muintir na Gaillimhe é sin a dhéanamh ós rud é go bhfuil an Teachta Ó Cúgáin anois in a Iar-Mhaoir mar ní dóigh liom gur labhair sé focal Gaeilge le strainséirí nó le daoine áitiúla an fhad agus a bhí an oifig ársa sin aige. Is maith an rud é don tír agus don chontae agus don Ghaeltacht go háirithe nach bhfuil sé mar mhaoir na cathrach anois. Ach fágfaidh mé sin mar atá sé.

Is maith ar fad í an scéim sin atá ag an Aire maidir le páisdí ón Ghalltacht a chur chun na Gaeltachta. Ní hamháin go gcabhraíonn sé le feabhas a chur ar teanga mhuintir na Galltachta ach cabhraíonn sé chomh maith le saidhbhreas agus tionscail sa Ghaeltacht féin. In a theannta sin, cabhraíonn an scéim go mór le coistí feiseanna ar fud na tíre.

Ba mhaith an rud é fosta dá bhféadfadh an tAire cabhair a thabhairt do pháisdí na Gaeltachta dul abhaile chun cónaí i dtíthe na bpáisdí ón Ghalltacht i rith an gheimhridh. Bheadh seans níos fearr ansin go leanfadh na páisdí ón Ghalltacht le labhairt Gaeilge agus fosta bhéadh sórt cáirdeachais idir an dá theaghlach uaidh sin amach.

Ba mhaith liom fosta tagairt dos na páipéirí nuachta, go mór mhór na páipéirí i nGaeilge. Sílim gur cóir don Rialtas cabhrú leis sin. Dá mbeadh na páipéirí i nGaeilge, is cinnte go léifeadh muintir na Gaeltachta iad. Ba mhaith an rud é chun an teanga a shábháil. Níl slí is fearr leis an nGaeilge a shábháil ná an focal scríofa a fheiceál agus sé an tslí is tairbhe chun an focal scríofa a fheicheál ná é a fheiceál ins na páipéirí nuachta. Tá páipéiri ann agus táid scríofa i nGaeilge ar fad, fógraí, nuacht, agus mar sin de. Is fiú go mór deontas agus cabhair a thabhairt dos na daoine atá i bhfeidhil na hoibre sin. Go fóill ar aon chaoi, níl a lán léitheóirí aca, ach beidh an líon ag dul i méid. Idir an dá linn seo, is ceart gach cabhair is féidir a thabhairt dóibh.

Ba cheart freisin go mbeadh ainmneacha na n-earraí atá le díol ag na siopadóirí scríofa as Gaeilge, go mór mhór cártaí agus uile. Chomh maith leis sin ba mhaith an rud é dá n-iarradh an tAire ar an Aire Rialtais Áitiúil na comharthaí bóithre a chur i nGaeilge amháin sa Ghaeltacht. Ní dóigh liom go ndéanfadh muintir ar bith in aon tír eile aistriúchán ar na comharthaí bóithre chun cabhrú le daoine a théann thar lear go dtí a dtír ach amháin muintir na hÉireann.

Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil na tithe go maith sa Ghaeltacht agus go bhfuil siad go glan agus go néata, go bhfuil na daoine ann flaithiúil agus go ndéanfadh sé maitheas don a lán de mhuintir na tíre tamall a chaitheamh sa Gaeltacht. Tá sár-obair á déanamh ag na daoine a théann go dtí na coláistí sin agus a bhíonn ag teagasc iontu. Tá sár-obair á déanamh freisin ag na sagairt agus na h-oidi scoile chun cabhrú le muintir na Gaeltachta.

Is fiú fosta focal molta a rá anseo maidir leis an obair iontach a dheineann na Gaeil ins na Sé Chontae ar son na teangan. Molaim go mór iad. Molaim Gael-Linn, Coisde na bPáisdí agus coistí feise ar fud na tíre fosta. Tá a fhios agam fosta go gcreideann an Rialtas agus an tAire i muintir na Gaeltachta agus nach bhfuil dabht in a n-aigne go bhfuil an Gaeilge ag dul chun cinn i bhfad níos fearr ná mar a bhí riamh agus go bhfuil muintir na tíre go bhfuil Gaeilge aca brodúil as. Nuair a théimid isteach san ComhMhargadh, beidh spéis ag daoine i dteangacha iasachta agus beidh níos mó measa ag daoine ar a dteangan féin ansin. Sílim féin go rachaidh eolas ar an nGaeilge chun socair go mór leo teanga iasachta a fhoghluim agus gur mar sin a bhéas an scéal.

Molaim an tAire as ucht na hoibre atá ag déanamh aige agus tá súil agam go leanfaidh sé leis.

Bíodh is nach bhfuil aon bhaint agam leis an Ghaeltacht, ar son na tíre, ar son na teangan agus ar son ár gcúltúr, is mian liom labhairt ar an Meastachán seo.

The saving of the Gaeltacht is a matter for the Government of the day, no matter what Government are in power. There are fewer people now in the Gaeltacht areas than were there during the British regime. Therefore, during 40 years, the various Governments in this country have done very little to keep the Irish-speaking people in the Gaeltacht. Every area has shrunk and if we want to be sensible, we must realise that the only two parts of the country which are really Gaeltacht areas today are Galway and Donegal.

The other parts of the country which people call Gaeltacht areas are not Gaeltacht areas at all. Nobody should know that better than Ministers of State, the people who represent those areas, and every Deputy who comes into this House. The most unfortunate part of the whole business is that even in those Gaeltacht areas young people do not speak Irish and they are not anxious to speak Irish. That is one of the great troubles in trying to bring back the Irish language and preserve it.

The Minister on his own cannot do it. You want three or four different Departments working in conjunction to do the work. Only on Monday or Tuesday night, I read in the Evening Herald that a gentleman from our Development Authority—I have not got the cutting with me unfortunately— was speaking in London in connection with the great advantages we have in this country to induce industrialists to come over. But even though the Government are anxious to give grants to people to start industries here, they do not direct them to a particular area. The people themselves can decide in what area they will set up their industry. I do not think that is the correct attitude to adopt. We should have a comprehensive attitude adopted in such a way that if the taxpayers' money is to be given to any industrialist who comes in the Government will be in a position to place the industry in whatever area they decide.

Why have industries, small ones if you like, not been placed in the Gaeltacht to give work to the people and keep them there speaking the Irish language? I cannot understand it. There is no use praising the Minister about this thing or that thing. He cannot of himself, with his Department do the work. He will require the help of the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Minister for Education. As I say, it is a Government responsibility and the Government should see that the three or four Departments involved should come together if we are serious about saving the Gaeltacht. One thing that has been done in the Gaeltacht areas, and in the west generally, has been the planting of forests which have proved to be of a productive nature, are giving employment and keeping the people in the areas as well as paying their way in a small way. The timber can be sold after a certain time and in that way some of the money which has been spent can be recouped.

If we examine the imports of woollen goods and the money we spend on them it is difficult to understand why we could not have such industries established in the Gaeltacht areas to keep the people working there. I suggest to the Minister, in regard to trying to retain those people who are still in the Gaeltacht, that he should confer with the Minister for Industry and Commerce, the Minister for Education and any other Minister who would be helpful to him, in order to get State industries going which would provide employment and keep them there speaking the Irish language.

I am confident there is no hope of keeping the Gaeltacht, or expanding it, unless we can provide for the people there a standard of living comparable with that available to the people in the Common Market countries and provide access to entertainments and to such facilities to doctors and dentists as are available in any of our county towns. It is sad to find in the Minister's speech that it has been again necessary to provide £100,000 for the losses on Gaeltarra Éireann. It is also sad to find the Minister taking solace from the fact that the losses this year have been reduced by £32,000. I would have preferred if the Minister had gone into greater detail on the operations of Gaeltarra Éireann this year, but he chose not to do so.

The Minister seeks solace from the fact that the losses are £32,000 less; yet he found it necessary to give them another £100,000 to keep them running as well as £70,000 for capital expenditure. As long as that continues, the people will have no belief in the Gaeltacht and no belief in themselves. For £10 they can get a first-class ticket to Liverpool, get all the amenities I have spoken of, have the attractions of the bright lights and all the rest. I do not suggest that we can have an O'Connell Street in the middle of Donegal but unless we can give these people profitable employment, with the prospect of continuity in it, unless we can provide them with the money in their pockets to have these services and amenities, to have their cinemas and enjoy their TV programmes, we are throwing our money to the winds.

In view of the criticism of Gaeltarra Éireann over the past few years, which I do not wish to reiterate here, if the Government were serious in the matter they would have ensured by capital investment that, at least in the years to come, Gaeltarra Éireann would be able to show a profit. Instead, they have accepted failure. I do not accept that the standard of work in the Gaeltacht areas, where Gaeltarra Éireann operates, is low. From what I know of these people, they are decent people and good workers. If Gaeltarra Éireann is trading in the wrong type of goods, if the knitted garments they make are not the ones that sell best, I would be happy to see the Minister putting in a large sum for capital expenditure to put things right. Instead of that, he is putting in £70,000 capital expenditure to fill a hole somewhere and £100,000 to fill the hole of operating losses.

How can you expect anybody in the Gaeltacht to have faith in the future of the Gaeltacht if the very place providing them with employment, providing them with their bread money, is subsidised by the Government to the extent of £100,000? Perhaps the popular thing to do would be to let this expenditure through without saying anything, but that is not any good to these people. It is far better that we should draw attention to the fact that there is "something rotten in the state of Denmark," that something has been rotten over the past ten years and that it has not been put right. There is no evidence in the Minister's statement that he intends to do anything about it. This will continue if these people are content to live on these small charities from Dublin.

It is rather like the time when the first Vote of the Parliament here 100 years ago provided that any hungry person in the West of Ireland could go to the local police station and get a stone of maize to keep him from death. That is no good to anybody. As a business man first and a politician last I say the Minister and his Department ought to be ashamed of themselves if they support such a policy. I would prefer to wind up Gaeltarra Éireann altogether, start another company and employ the people. I would tell the people the whole thing is a fraud. I would not continue to produce £100,000 a year, because the people will not stay here on that basis. They know that Gaeltarra Éireann is operating on the basis of being a depreciating asset and even the trade place Gaeltarra Éireann in the position of being somebody's poor relation. That will not wash in business to-day.

It is questionable whether the Minister will be allowed to continue to produce £100,000 for Gaeltarra Éireann when we enter the Common Market. As I understand the provisions of the Rome Treaty, he will not be allowed to do it. He might be allowed —I am open to correction here—to make available £500,000 for capital expenditure, providing there is an arrangement for repayment. That would be sensible. When that time arrives we are going to have faster emigration.

All through the Minister's speech you find references to things like the provision of £10,000 for an entertainment hall. If we had done anything to keep up the population of the Gaeltacht areas since 1922 by providing them with work, private enterprise would have provided all these other amenities. On political business in Ennis last week, I was in a private enterprise hall, which accommodates 1,200 or 1,300 people at a dance. If the people are provided with a decent standard of living, they will be able to purchase the tickets to go to the dances, the cinemas and everything else. It is an admission of our failure that we can provide only a mere £10,000, hardly sufficient to build three good houses at the moment. The entertainment hall, even if it is only one a year, will then only compare very unfavourably with the sort of place they will see if they come up the east coast or with the type of hall they will see 50 miles from a Gaeltacht area. You may forget this business of trying to produce an artificial situation. Nobody lives on an island. Travel is becoming relatively cheap——

Surely it is all done in the name of preserving the language?

Yes, but why can we not get an industry there that will pay? If none will move there, can we not put one there and having done that, will the people from their earnings in the area not provide the purchasing power that will mean that private enterprise will set up a hall? Is that not the basis on which you want to put the Gaeltacht, if it is to be the showplace of the nation that the Government and everybody wishes it to be? Must we not have a natural situation rather than a completely unnatural one in which the main industry which has been put in there, after all sorts of scandals that we have had over several years, still has to get £100,000?

How would Deputy Corish like to be working in that industry and to be sitting in the gallery now, if he were on holidays in Dublin and listening to this? Would he feel that he was in an expanding thriving industry and getting ahead? Would he feel that as it expanded, there was a chance of promotion for him, of being in charge of six or seven others, and perhaps getting a few pounds extra? Or, would he feel this was going to damp him down and that this charity from Dublin was just what it is, something to keep him there, existing almost at the will of the politicians?

I do not know why the Deputy should say this. If he had listened to me, he would have heard me say that it was a question of why there should be such populations in the West where they were never meant to be.

There is no point in getting into an argument but if we are to change the policy completely and make the West a sort of game preserve, that is completely contrary as far as I know to the policy of the Government and to our policy on this side of the House. If a policy to depopulate the Gaeltacht is adumbrated, that is a horse of a different colour—

These areas used to be described as congested districts.

Perhaps, but is it not the policy to employ people there? Are we not voting £100,000 for that purpose? My point is that it should not be voted in that way and that we should face the fact that Gaeltarra Éireann has failed and that we should do something about it, by changing its production or forming a new company and putting up a much larger sum for capital expenditure, or doing something that will indicate that we are getting out of the wood so that the unfortunate workers in Gaeltarra Éireann will have some hope, if it is wound up—if it were private business, it would have been wound up long ago—and re-floated on a new basis of expansion, of better prospects and constant employment, not dependent on the vote of any politician? Nobody should be dependent on us and our whims and fancies for anything. The Gaeltacht workers would probably agree with me on that.

Perhaps I am hypercritical, but I find that much of this Vote is just a joke. For instance, we see £14,000 for marine works in the Gaeltacht area. In my constituency, we are now spending £375,000 on the port of Drogheda but, for all these Gaeltacht harbours, bits and pieces here and there, a figure of £14,000 each year is provided. The cost of removing one cubic yard of mud is something that might be considered by the Minister.

That is not the full picture.

If the Deputy wishes, he can refer to page 181 of the Book of Estimates and he will find there £14,000 provided, as I stated, or if he refers to page 3 of the issued version of the Minister's speech, he will find in paragraph 2:

The provision of £14,000 for marine works is the same as that of last year. The Office of Public Works usually executes these works on behalf of the Department.

That is the sum total.

What about Killybegs?

If fisheries are to be one of the big developments in the Gaeltacht area, that is what they are getting, £14,000 a year. It is a nice sum on paper and it gives employment to a few people, but there is nothing progressive or expanding about it. It will not do any good for many years to come.

If the Deputy only knew, this is simply for small slips to accommodate currachs.

Yes, but it is a very small sum.

The Deputy might find out what it is for before he pontificates upon it.

A sum of £42,000 is provided for two secondary schools. What are we doing with these people but educating them to export them, unless we do something practical towards providing work for them? The one industry we have provided has to get £100,000 per year to keep it running. We have two secondary schools in which the children will get the benefit of secondary education but unless the whims of politicians favour pouring out £100,000 year after year, these children are educated for export.

If we are to do anything for the Gaeltacht, we must take the natural step of providing decent employment and living standards for these people. Let me not be taken as opposing the provision of two secondary schools— they must be provided—but these things are subsidiary to the material, economic consideration of employment for the people on a profitable basis when they leave the schools. Nothing else will do any good; nothing produced by the civil servants in Dublin or the policies of Ministers will be of benefit. What the worker in industry wants to know is that the industry is making money. As soon as he sees a drop in sales, in quality or in the quantity of production, he begins to slip. If you wish, you can blame him for that but really what is responsible is that his vision of the future is obscured.

I am quite seriously concerned with that aspect of this problem. If we are to do anything worthwhile, we must either wind up Gaeltarra Éireann or reorganise it. We must spend a lot of money on producing something to give these people employment gainful not only to them but also to the Government or the industrialists concerned if we can introduce them. When we have done that, when we have produced decent employment in the Gaeltacht at a level that will enable people to live on a decent standard, if they will stay there for a great number of the boys and girls coming to the age at which they need work, then we shall have a Gaeltacht. Otherwise, things will merely become worse and the years to come will prove that, when we shall have no Gaeltacht.

Ceist an-thábhachtach í seo. Dá bhféadfadh an tAire gníomh fónta a dhéanamh i leith na Gaeltachta, bheadh clú agus cáil tuilte aige i measc laochra Éireann agus mhairfeadh a ainm go deo chomh fada is a bheadh Gael in Éirinn beo. Níor mhór le h-éinne dhó an clú is an cáil, ach is beag comhartha ná deimhniú atá againn go dtí seo go bhfuil aon mhachnamh doimhin déanta ag an Aire ná aghaidh thréan tabhartha aige ar na fadhbanna agus na deacrachtaí nach féidir a sheachaint.

Tá daoine ann a déarfadh gur sa Ghaeilge ba chóir an cheist seo a phlé ach tá an-chuid de mhuintir na hÉireann a bhfuil suim aca i gceist na Gaeltachta agus nach bhfuil an teanga chó laidir sin aca gur féidir leo gach rud a deirtear sa Ghaeilge a thuiscint. Is baol liom, uaireannta, go n-úsáidtear an Ghaeilge chun saghas cló draíochta a thógaint ós cionn na ceiste. Mar sin, ba mhian liomsa cúpla focal a rá i mBéarla agus na tuairimí atá agam a nochtadh.

When the Ministry of the Gaeltacht was set up, it had certain aims which were placed before the House at that time. A little later, in Seanad Éireann, a motion was introduced to the effect that the proper way to save the Gaeltacht was by setting up a Board. The debate on the motion is reported in Volume 45 of the Seanad Debates, for Wednesday, 2nd November, 1955. An Seanadóir Mac Aodha a chur an cheist seo ós cóir an tSeanaid an uair sin. His aim was, as he said, to enable the Gaeltacht, not alone to survive, but to better itself both economically and in the interests of the Irish language.

Speakers from both political Parties took part in the debate. They disagreed with the idea of a board because they felt a Ministry which would coordinate the aspects of Government in the various Departments which have a part in the administration of affairs in so far as the Gaeltacht is concerned was the proper means for promoting the Irish language and the economic welfare of the people in the Gaeltacht.

On that occasion, Senator Hayes set out the position as he saw it. The language is a very precious national inheritance and we should try to ensure that the purity of the language is maintained in the Gaeltacht but the people in the Gaeltacht do not speak the Irish language for the sake of obtaining any grants; they speak the Irish language because it is the natural mode for them from an cliabháin. We do not want the Gaeltacht to disappear and that requires that the people of the Gaeltacht should find it economically possible not only to maintain themselves there but to increase. At column 483 of the Official Report, Senator Hayes said:

That is to say you require to achieve economic improvement but economic improvement which will not injure the position of the Irish language. As I said at column 612 of the Official Report for the 4th March, 1954:—

"The problem is how can we preserve Irish-speaking communities in their present situation,"

and not as migrants.

The argument then for the setting up of the Ministry was that a Government Minister sitting among his colleagues could influence the Government and the various Ministries and could influence this House and the people to use their efforts to co-ordinate the various arms of the State for the welfare of the Gaeltacht and could initiate schemes which he considered wise in the interests of the Gaeltacht and of its people. It was for that reason that a Ministry was preferred to a board.

Now the Ministry is so many years old. It is still young, of course, but having regard to the high hopes that were held out for it, looking at it at this stage, can we say that the results are inspired? Reference has been made already to the dwindling population of the Gaeltacht. It is not implied that any Ministry can keep people in the Gaeltacht.

A Deputy has referred to the economics of the situation for the people concerned. The difficulties are recognised by the Minister, the House and the country, but is sufficient effort being made to overcome these difficulties? That is the kernel of the situation. It is fundamental that there must be favoured persons treatment for the people of the Gaeltacht. I suggest that that is not sufficient, that there should be favoured persons treatment for those in the Gaeltacht and the BreachGhaeltacht. It should not be confined to the Gaeltacht. Such treatment should be available to people in the Breach-Ghaeltacht who speak the Irish language, because it is from that point that the spread of the language must be encouraged so that eventually there may be a linking up of Gaeltacht and Breach-Ghaeltacht.

If the Gaeltacht dries up, the effort is in vain. The work of the teachers and pupils will go for nothing. The preference which is available for Irish in regard to positions will become illusory if the Gaeltacht shrinks and the number of Irish-speakers in the Gaeltacht diminishes year by year.

I do not believe that migration is the solution for this problem. I mentioned this matter here in previous years in regard to the policy of the Land Commission. I would suggest to the Minister, who has a dual capacity at the present time, that the Gaeltacht ought to grow outward and that it is not serving the interests of the Gaeltacht to bring families out of the Gaeltacht and transfer them as entities to other parts of the country.

When the Sasanach was planted here at the time of the Statutes of Kilkenny, he was absorbed into the culture of the neighbourhood about him and became, as the Statutes of Kilkenny were designed to achieve, more Irish than the Irish themselves. Is the Minister satisfied that the families from the Gaeltacht who have been taken principally from the western seaboard and have been settled elsewhere have remained chomh Gaolach is a bhíodar? Or is their culture and their language being absorbed into the surrounding countryside? Is it making its impact on the habits that prevail in these areas to which these people have been migrated?

Why is it that we cannot devise a policy whereby, if we want to move these people and provide them with an economic holding—in these areas in the west an economic holding would constitute a much larger tract of land —we could not move people from, say, east Galway, people who are perhaps themselves at this stage English-speaking, thereby making land available immediately contiguous to the Gaeltacht and, in that way, allowing the Gaeltacht to expand from within itself into these adjacent areas? It seems to me that that would be a policy which might—I do not say it would—produce better results than have been produced by taking these people and transferring them away from their natural contact with their neighbours. It is by contact with neighbours that the Gaeltacht lives and thrives. Anybody who has been to the Gaeltacht knows that the Gaeltacht survives in the scoraíochtha, rinncí and tigheas, the moving about the home country, family meetings and people moving in and out freely in the homes of their neighbours.

That is the ground on which the language, and all that it means, can best be preserved as the medium of communication between the people and the families in the Gaeltacht. In that way one keeps the people, too, in their natural environment, with their ordinary commercial undertakings, be they agricultural or industrial. That is the way in which you keep them in contact with their neighbours, with those with whom they grew up. Instead of portions of the Gaeltacht being, as it were, picked up and transplanted elsewhere in the hope that it will thereby grow and thrive, you keep the Gaeltacht together as a homogeneous whole, giving it a chance to live, and to maintain its contacts with its other roots.

The economic development of the Gaeltacht is not, in my opinion, a question of spending more money. Spending more money might seem to some people an admirable way of doing things; it may seem to be the proper thing to do but, to my mind, it is not a question of spending more money but rather a question of spending the money wisely and spending it on a properly planned basis. Connemara is at the moment the strongest and largest Gaeltacht in the country. The Minister ought to take that area and, for a start, see what can be done in it. He should concentrate on that area to see if, on his own initiative and with the ideas of others, he may not be able to formulate a policy which will enable that Gaeltacht to grow and expand. If the Minister succeeds in enlarging the Gaeltacht in Connemara, then the remedy successfully applied there can be equally successfully applied in other Gaeltachta because it will have proved itself. There is a road policy in regard to the Gaeltacht. There is a policy for developing strands and building chalets, for providing fishing gear, and so on.

How is this policy getting on in Connemara? Do those who formulated it believe it has succeeded in doing what it was hoped it would do, not alone in relation to the economic life of the Gaeltacht but also in relation to the actual enlargement of the Gaeltacht, to the preservation, utilisation and the spread of the Irish language in the Gaeltacht itself because the people there were made economically better off by this policy of the Government in providing help for them?

The Minister, when he comes to reply, might tell us what progress has been made. I am sure he will not take it amiss if I ask him at this stage if he has any plan of his own for the Gaeltacht. Or is he waiting to administer and implement the ideas that come to him from the officials of his Department and from various people who make suggestions? I am sure the Minister has received suggestions. Are these suggestions considered with the care and attention that ought to be given to them to see whether they might be adopted, in whole or in part, and used for the benefit both of the people and of the language in the Gaeltacht?

What is least desired in the Gaeltacht is a hand-to-mouth existence. If we merely look at the Gaeltacht as something to which this House is merely committed at this time and leave it to somebody else to deal with it at some other time, then we are stultifying policy completely insofar as the Gaeltacht is concerned. The people in these areas would prefer to live in the Gaeltacht, to live there their own natural lives, as their people lived them before them, but feeling that they can do so economically. Now, when I say economically, I do not mean in a saving fashion; I mean it would be just as well for them to live in that area rather than leave the area to find a living elsewhere.

There is something inconsistent in life if a person finds that remaining in the Gaeltacht and speaking the Irish language means he must wear the badge of poverty. There is something inconsistent in life if the people of the Gaeltacht feel that it is just a matter of the Government of the day, or a particular Minister, giving them handouts to enable them to survive from month to month, from year to year, or from gloom to gloom. If that is our approach to the Gaeltacht, and to the salvation of the Gaeltacht, then I suggest to the Minister that we lack a proper, coherent policy. No matter how many glasshouses we provide, no matter how many fishing boats we provide, if the people who live there do not feel their lives can be as fully, as well and as economically lived as they could be elsewhere, then the tendency will be for the youth growing up there to look afar.

We all know that faraway cows have long horns, but it is not always healthy for these youths from the Gaeltacht to plant themselves elsewhere. They may, perhaps, find themselves earning more money than they could earn in the Gaeltacht, but that should not be the yardstick. Indeed, I hope it would not be the yardstick of what life for them means. I know a good deal of hard thinking is needed in regard to the Gaeltacht. This is not a matter that can be postponed forever. Sadly, we have to admit that the census figures show, as previous census figures have shown, go bhfuil líon na Gaeltachta ag dul i laghad in ionad bheith ag dul i méid.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.