Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Donegal Tourist and Road Grants.

33.

asked the Minister for Local Government what are the conditions imposed by his Department on the Donegal County Council in the allocation of tourist grants and road moneys.

It is assumed that the Deputy's question is related to the conditions attached by my Department to the allocation and payment of grants from the Road Fund to the Donegal County Council for the improvement of tourist routes and for other road works in that county. The conditions applicable to Donegal County Council are the same as those applied to other county councils. They have been in operation for many years.

The conditions are concerned with such matters as the selection of schemes, the efficient and economical execution of works in accordance with approved standards of design and construction, the recruitment of labour and the making of reasonable provision for road maintenance.

I have no doubt that copies of the circular letters issued by my Department to the Donegal County Council on this subject would be readily made available to the Deputy as a member of the council. Alternatively I can arrange, if he so desires, that copies of these documents will be forwarded to him by my Department.

Will the Minister be good enough to tell us what the position of Donegal County Council would have been in regard to this matter if the Government had not abstracted the sum of £1,600,000 from the Road Fund in this financial year?

The Government did not abstract any money from the Road Fund in this financial year. In 1956-57, the Deputy's Government abstracted half a million pounds from the Road Fund but it has never happened since and will not happen again.

If the Minister will examine the Estimates, he will discover that the duty on motor cars in this year produced the sum of £1,600,000 in excess of what the Exchequer proposes to transfer to the Road Fund. The Minister ought to be able to tell me what the position of Donegal County Council would have been if the Government had not abstracted this sum from the Road Fund.

This is not an abstraction from the Road Fund but this Government, when introducing its Budget, arranges taxation to produce the amount of funds necessary. One of the ways in which the Budget of 1965 was balanced was by the imposition of taxation on motor vehicles. It has nothing whatever to do with the Road Fund.

On the contrary, it is an annual inroad on the Road Fund, as everybody knows.