Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Cork Water Schemes.

31.

andMr. O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Local Government his reasons for precluding his group water schemes inspector from attending meetings of the West Cork Housing and Sanitary Services Committee.

Requests by local authorities for the attendance of inspectors of my Department to discuss group water supply schemes at meetings of the authorities have had to be refused because of the need to concentrate all available staff time on the heavy volume of work awaiting attention.

I would point out that it was suggested by my Department to the West Cork Committee that a more suitable arrangement would be for the county council's liaison officer to prepare a report in consultation, where necessary, with the Department's inspector on the progress of group water schemes and that this report would be available to the committee at their meetings. Any problems on the report could then be resolved by discussion with the liaison officer or by further consultation between that officer and the inspectors.

Is the Minister joking? Is the Minister not aware that up to recently this officer attended meetings of the Cork-West County Council? Will he not agree that there is discrimination against any council which has a majority of members who do not agree with the Minister's viewpoint? I want to protest here. The Minister has precluded his inspector from attending meetings of the West Cork Committee. Does the Minister propose to continue in this role of dictator, belittling local authorities and their members?

The Deputy refused to receive a deputation yesterday from his own constituency. We know who the dictator was then.

The Deputy should raise it on the Adjournment because the other question will be ruled out.

I will raise it before the Adjournment. Does the Minister agree that it is his policy to deprive the elected representatives of an opportunity to discuss matters of public importance, particularly group water schemes which have been delayed and deferred in this area through the Minister's interference over the years?

Deputy Murphy cannot make a speech. Will he allow Question Time to continue?

The Deputy refused yesterday. He stopped the people from discussing things yesterday.

Will the Deputies allow questions to continue?

(Interruptions.)

I have great sympathy with Deputy Crowley who is worried about bereavements in Cork South-West. I am of a forgiving nature and I am asking the Minister to change his mind and send along the inspectors.

(Interruptions.)

These officers of my Department will not attend local authority meetings.