Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Drainage Schemes.

52.

asked the Minister for Finance what progress has been made concerning the drainage of the River Shannon.

The detailed engineering investigation of the River Shannon is in progress with a view to the preparation of a drainage scheme. An essential preliminary part of this is to find out the nature of the materials in the bed of the main river and a boring survey of the stretch from Meelick to Lough Forbes has recently been completed and the results are now being studied. The hydrometric and topographical surveys will be continued.

Unfortunately, I was unable to hear the reply but could the Parliamentary Secretary give an approximate date as to when drainage of the Shannon will commence? We were told during the by-election that the work would start the following week. It still has not commenced.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that a week before the election in 1964, theIrish Press carried a speech of Deputy Brian Lenihan, the great promiser, stating that the work was to start the following week? What has happened to the promise that was made in Castlerea a week before the by-election, that work on the drainage of the Shannon was to start the following week? What has happened to that election gimmick?

That is the by-election when all the letters were supposed to have been sent out.

Could I ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether the delay is not at least in part due to the fact that the Government owes the Joint Stock Banks £50 million on Exchequer bills that they are not at present in a position to pay?

They can slide over all that in the Budget.

There is an amount of drainage work being held up throughout Leitrim as a result of the Shannon not being drained. The farmers cannot carry out the drainage. They cannot get grants for smaller schemes.

I do not know whether I am expected to answer all these questions seriatim. I can say that drainage is being carried on very efficiently.

It is the Shannon we are talking about and tell us what is efficient about the drainage of the Shannon.

I have dealt with the question about the Shannon.

53.

asked the Minister for Finance the reason for the delay in commencing work on the drainage of the River Maigue; and when the work will commence.

A drainage scheme for the Maigue catchment is at present on exhibition. Until the requirements of the Act have been complied with in regard to consideration of the observations received from interested parties, confirmation of the scheme, etc., I cannot say precisely when works can be begun.

54.

asked the Minister for Finance when work will commence on the drainage of the Mulcaire river.

The Mulcaire catchment has been surveyed and a drainage scheme is being designed but I cannot yet say when works may commence.

55.

asked the Minister for Finance when work will commence on the drainage of the Groody river.

The Groody catchment has been noted for treatment under the Act but because of the requirements of schemes of higher priority in the drainage programme it is not possible to say when it may be reached.