Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Extension of Monaghan Golf Course.

56.

asked the Minister for Lands whether he has received representation from Rossmore golf club in Monaghan for land on Rossmore estate to extend the golf course to provide an 18 hole course; and whether he can accede to their request to lease or buy the necessary land.

I have received a request on behalf of the Rossmore Golf Club, Monaghan, for land on the former Rossmore estate. The request could not be acceded to as the lands were required for the Department's own purposes. In fact, most of the area in question had already been planted when the request was received.

Is the Minister aware that Bord Fáilte are pressing our Regional Development Association as to the desirability of including golf courses in areas where other natural amenities are not readily accessible? In view of the fact that Monaghan would fall within that category, even though elementary planting has been done on the relatively small area required to extend the golf course, would the Minister not reconsider this situation with a view to improving the tourist amenity of this area and making it a fishing and golfing centre?

I am afraid that in the present circumstances there is nothing I can do about it. I agree that amenities such as golf courses are worthwhile tourist amenities in areas like this, but we hope to create other types of amenities in this particular area. In fact, this is one of the reasons why we needed to hold on to this particular piece of land. I hope that when these amenities are developed they will contribute to the tourist potential of the area. However, I am afraid there is nothing I can do about the golf course.

Even if the local people were prepared to recoup the Department for whatever expense they had been put to in planting this restricted area required to complete the existing golf course, would the Minister then consider leasing or selling it to them?

I do not think this is the problem. I am informed by the Forestry Division that their problem is the proper management of the whole forestry area there. This is an integral part of the forest and for the proper management of the whole forestry area it is essential that we should retain this.

Does the Minister know Rossmore estate?

I do. I was in it.

Will he have another look at it?

I am afraid there is nothing I can do about it. There is no use making promises to the Deputy.