Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Lough Allen Power Station.


asked the Minister for Transport and Power if, having regard to the unsettled situation in the Middle East and in Nigeria and the likelihood that the price of oil from America will increase, he will request his Department, the ESB and the coal mine owners in the Arigna area to review the proposition for extending the coal burning power station at Lough Allen.

I would refer the Deputy to my reply to a similar question on 21st October, 1965, when I set out in considerable detail the findings of the investigation into the economics of utilising the reserves of "crow" coal in the Arigna area for the generation of electricity. I have re-examined this matter in the light of the present oil situation but I find that there is little likelihood of any increase in the price of oil to an extent which would significantly affect the conclusions reached in that investigation.

Does the Parliamentary Secretary adhere to that optimistic statement, in the light of the fact that petrol and all other oils have gone up by 2d a gallon since yesterday and could he now, in the light of his reply, tell us how long he expects that increase to be levied upon us? Or are we to assume it is a short-term increase only and that the alternative method suggested by Deputy Gibbons is, therefore, unworthy of consideration?

I said in my reply that, in view of the present oil situation, the amount of the increase in the price of oil at the moment does not materially change the recommendation made at that time. Deputy Dillon is, I think, the fortune teller of this House. I certainly would not endeavour to give any impression of the length of time the temporary increase in the price of oil will last.

Has the Parliamentary Secretary any guarantee, to begin with, that there will not be another increase in the price of oil or has he any indication to give as to how long the present increase is likely to apply? Surely that is very relevant?

Agreed, but what I am saying is that there would want to be a significant increase——

Twopence a gallon is not bad, to be going on with. It is £2 million a year.

As I say, it would have to be a significant increase.

Is there any danger of an increase in passenger fares by CIE?

That is an entirely different matter.

Any fortune telling that was done with regard to the Arigna power station was done by the Fianna Fáil Party in the by-election there.

We have a power station there against the wishes of the Opposition.

An extra generating station was promised by the Parliamentary Secretary's Party.

But for this Party, there would not be a power station there at all.

But for us—look up the facts.