Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 5 May 1966

Vol. 222 No. 8

Industrial Grants (Amendment) Bill, 1966: Second Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time".

Before Question Time, I was making the point that the services of professional people in the west of Ireland should be availed of when large schemes are being built in the west of Ireland. I could give an instance of a young man setting out on his career. After getting his leaving certificate and his matriculation he decides to become an engineer or an architect. He may come from a well off family or from a very poor family because we have excellent educational facilities in the West, and education is denied to no one living in the city because the university is so near. He chooses which career he wants to follow, qualifies, probably gets some experience abroad, and then has to decide where he will set up in Ireland. At the moment he would be a fool to set up west of the Shannon, because these jobs are always given to professionally qualified people who have set themselves up on the east coast.

I have to travel 132 miles to attend the Dáil. One gets the impression that some of the people in this House feel that Ireland ends at Chapelizod. It does not. When I am there, I have still 130 miles to travel before I get to Galway. My reason for making this case, and for probably labouring it, is due in some way to the difficulties that have arisen already over the industrial estate in Galway. I refer to the difficulty in siting it. An outside firm has been appointed which must travel 132 miles to see the site for the first time. If we had a local man he would know it without leaving his office.

Now they have decided that the ground where they were asked to try to put it is not suitable; that it is uneven. To anyone in the city of Galway, that is a ridiculous statement, and especially in view of the heavy earth-moving machinery that is available, it is no obstacle whatever. The worst feature is that a road passing through this site is also being given as an excuse for not availing of this site at Mervue. Everyone in the city of Galway knows that this road is not important and should be taken away if it is interfering with the development of this site as an industrial estate. As well as that, they are now going to the Headford Road side of the town which will bring the estate a mile away from the biggest housing estate, and heavy road or rail traffic to and from this proposed estate will have to go across the city and interfere with city traffic.

These things would never have arisen if a person who knew the environment had been dealing with the matter. They could be thrashed out in one day. Now letters have to go up and down between Galway and Dublin, and things are held up for weeks and weeks. We badly need industrial employment in the city. We feel it is a shame that our young people have to go away. We do not want that situation to continue. We welcome this move. The Government cannot solve every problem, and they are going a long way towards solving this, but we would be much further on the way to solving it if local people were employed on this scheme. At no time has their competence been questioned.

I should also like to welcome the extension of the time limit for the adaptation grants up to 31st December, 1967. I wholeheartedly agree with the Minister's statement that many people did not take this too seriously, but with the signing of the Free Trade Area Agreement between Ireland and Britain they began to see things more clearly. I hope this will spur them on to avail of the adaptation grants despite some remarks made by another Deputy from the city of Galway of a different political persuasion from mine, that firms in Galway turned down adaptation grants. I wish to say that this is not the true position. I have spoken with those people. Their only complaint is the difficulty in negotiating the grants. A great amount of time-wasting procedure goes on before the grant is sanctioned. If this could in some way be speeded up, it would eventually improve our production and create more employment in the country. There is a great wastage of time in Government offices which causes a great wastage of time and money at factory floor level.

I would like to repeat something which I said on the main Estimate, that is, that special emphasis must be laid on raw materials when people are being enticed to set up factories in Ireland. I can give the case of somebody coming in here to make pots and pans out of aluminium. They must import sheet aluminium and the only employment is in the factory itself. We should use raw materials which we have in our own country, particularly agricultural products. This would give greater employment in the country itself because you would have employment once the seed goes into the ground. This would then double the employment for the same export figures. This is very essential but it has not been emphasised enough. It does not seem to have been recognised so far.

Another aspect of industrialisation to be considered, particularly in view of the fact that an industrial estate is to be set up in Galway, is the tremendous importance which should be attached to the fishing industry. Anybody who has made a study of the fishing industry knows that the biggest section of employment is not out in the boats catching fish; it is in the factory on the land where the fish is processed. We have at the moment 15 boats operating from the harbour of Galway. Most of them just come in to deliver their fish. We have a fish factory on the shore which employs well over 70 boys and girls. The employment in that factory is twice the employment on the sea. If emphasis could be laid on developing those products which we can produce here in Ireland, particularly agricultural products, greater employment would be given. It is employment which counts as far as everybody is concerned. It is only fair to say that.

I know the Minister is anxious to increase employment through industrialisation. There was a small point mentioned by Deputy Coogan and I would like to say something about it. He referred to the setting up of the industrial estate on the west bank. He must have missed the whole point. In an industrial estate, all the factory buildings are grouped together for good reasons and not scattered all over the place. We do not want the industrial estate on the west side of the Corrib because we have a far greater industry there. We have the tourist industry in Salthill on the west side of the Corrib. I would like the Minister to forget about the suggestion made by Deputy Coogan.

I was not greatly influenced.

I should like to thank the Minister for introducing this Bill. We are very pleased with it and I can assure him that he will get every cooperation from Galway, and also from Waterford, even though Waterford Deputies were not here to speak on the Bill.

There is not a lot I can say which has not been dealt with already.

What about Deputy Coogan's problem about the west bank?

He was talking about the Corrib.

Deputy Donegan raised the point as to why retrospection which was in the original scheme for adaptation grants is not now included. The answer is that retrospection was necessary because the announcement about retrospection was made some time before it was possible to have legislation passed. Since it was urgent to encourage manufacturers in industry generally to start at once, retrospection was included in the legislation to allow for work done before the legislation came in. No such condition exists now. Everybody should be aware that 31st March was the last date for applications and the fact that we have extended it for some applications of retrospection makes it difficult in deciding, especially when the work is finished a long time ago, what the adaptations are for normal renewal.

I think the House is generally agreed on the value of premises for renting. I am quite convinced that this is an added incentive to industry.

Deputy Molloy has some worry with regard to whether local professional men will be employed by the industrial estate in Galway. There may be other industrial estates and it is natural that the general overall planning should be the central function. The people locally are already aware that what work can be given locally will be given. I do not think the Deputy would expect to have all this type of work decentralised, especially when it is part of a major scheme. As I say, any work that can be given to the people locally will be given.

Deputy Molloy said that industries in Galway were being handicapped, with regard to grants, by red tape. If the Deputy has any examples of some unnecessary red tape, I should be glad to hear of them. We must have some regulations in law with regard to those matters. I am sure the Deputy will, on reflection, realise that most of the limitations we put on imports are for the benefit of employment here at home and for the protection of native industries and native employment. All the Deputies who spoke referred to the use of native raw material and about the amount of grants given. An Foras Tionscal has regard to the amount of employment given and the use given to raw materials. I would like to say that Deputies speak sometimes as if we are rejecting factories based on raw materials, as if we are selecting factories solely on the basis of imported raw materials. This is not so. We select factories which have a good chance of success, particularly based on raw materials. I think this covers most of the points raised.

I should like to ask the Minister, in relation to section 4, if the setting up of industrial estates is related to any particular part of the country? Can the estates be set up in any part of the country?

A survey is being carried out by the Minister for Local Government and when that has dealt with the different regions, development centres will be identified with these regions.

Does this permissive legislation allow the setting up of industrial estates anywhere?

There can be a private industrial estate anywhere.

Question put and agreed to.
Agreed to take remaining Stages today.