Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 1 Dec 1970

Vol. 250 No. 1

Committee on Finance. - Vote 38: Fisheries (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following motion:
That a sum not exceeding £1,834,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1971, for salaries and expenses in connection with Sea and Inland Fisheries, including sundry grants-in-aid.
—(Minister for Lands).

I should like to congratulate the Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Fahey, on his new appointment and to wish him luck in the Fisheries Branch. Fisheries do not get the recognition which they should get. Many years ago there was a separate Ministry for Fisheries. Then the Fisheries Branch became attached to the Department of Lands and, more recently, it became attached to the Department of Agriculture. We have a practically unlimited opportunity for expansion in this sphere. The Parliamentary Secretary in his opening speech tried to prove that we had achieved considerable expansion in fisheries but our record is pretty well static. There has been some advance but of a limited nature only. It is difficult to understand why we are so slow to exploit an industry the raw material for which is to be found in abundance around our coast. Over the years the fisheries of Ireland were inshore fisheries and to a large extent they have remained so.

With regard to our proposed entry into the EEC, we have another five years in which to put our fisheries in order. We have a lot of leeway to make up. Our fishery protection limit was extended to 12 miles but once it was extended to 12 miles whatever protection we had collapsed there and then. We have practically no protection at the moment. If we can catch anybody inside the 12-mile limit we may prosecute them and confiscate their gear. This is a deterrent but in the herring season one can see ships from all over Europe poaching the rich harvest particularly along the Wexford and Waterford coasts.

Our application for membership of EEC comes at a time when the situation within the Community itself is very confused. After considerable debate there is really no hard and fast decision so far as fisheries are concerned. Norway were concerned about fisheries because they have the greatest fishing industry in Europe and possibly in the world. Norway objected very strongly because the EEC had no fisheries policy. The Community summoned their members and produced a fisheries policy—which really means nothing.

We should be greatly concerned about fisheries so far as our EEC membership application is concerned. Our Department of Agriculture and Fisheries have issued no statement whatsoever on any discussions with our Minister for External Affairs in relation to our fisheries. We have had no statement. Apparently, when our Minister for External Affairs went abroad he did not get any distance in his discussions—admittedly he had to come home as fast as he could a few weeks back to prop up this shaky Government. Apparently he was not in a position to make a statement in regard to this country and the EEC fisheries policy as a whole.

The EEC have an annual fish deficit of 500,000 tons whereas the applicant countries have a fish surplus of 700,000 tons. If the Six become the Ten-as is possible in the not too distant future—the EEC fish deficit may become a surplus of 200,000 tons. Most of the fish is harvested by Norway. Norway has made a very good case for herself. She has to protect her fishermen who are entirely dependent on the harvesting of fish for their way of life. All this is very vital to the Norwegian economy. The same can be said about France in so far as the Breton fishermen are entirely dependent on the harvesting of fish for a livelihood. France, therefore, is very interested in securing that her fisheries will be preserved.

We ourselves have an enormous fisheries potential which we do not show much sign of developing. We are always expanding on paper in this country. I want to get down to hard facts. We have a vital interest in maintaining and expanding our fisheries. If a fisheries policy is drafted in the EEC that is suitable to us, to Norway, to France—and other interested parties— then we have a tremendous opportunity for expansion in this sphere. Speaking from memory—unfortunately, I do not speak from notes—we export about £3 million worth of fish per annum. That figure has risen gradually. It is always well to remember, when dealing with cash, that prices have gone up. The price of fish is much dearer now than it was a few years ago. We have made a very modest expansion but we have still an inshore fishing economy.

We have not sufficiently expanded our fishing fleet. We have not developed floating factories such as other European countries, particularly Norway and France, are using. Therefore, we are not in a position to compete with them. Although, probably, there is little the Parliamentary Secretary can do about it, I want him to bear that in mind; it is a matter for the Government. Here is our opportunity. We are to become a member of the EEC. We shall suffer in some directions such as by reductions in certain employments. Therefore we must expand in other directions in order to keep our economy in a sound position. This is something that should have been done in the past 30 or 40 years but it is not too late. We now have five years to do it.

Generally, it is thought that the common time limit for all four entrants will be five years if they are to enter together. The Parliamentary Secretary should use whatever influence he has and, no doubt, the Government will listen to him since they have made him their Parliamentary representative in regard to fisheries and it is up to him to impress on the Minister for External Affairs that he should negotiate strongly to save and protect the livelihood and employment of our fishermen and whatever limited money is invested in Irish fisheries.

Obviously, in order to do that, he should work in liaison with Norway and France who are both vitally interested in that they have people in wholetime employment in fisheries whom they will be protecting. It would be purposeless for us to go to discuss fisheries with the EEC without allies. All our approaches in the EEC will be a matter of barter. Many people say we should not go in because we shall have only one vote but that vote can be very valuable. It can be used or can be sold to advance our interests. This is one of the matters on which we can come together with Norway and France as a group to put our case most forcefully so that we shall not be exploited by others who have no interest in fisheries except to get a cheap and plentiful supply of fish.

The investment in Irish fisheries is totally inadequate. The system of procuring boats is unsatisfactory. Bord Iascaigh Mhara have had a pretty free hand to do what they like and, frankly, I do not think they have been successful. Not everything they have done is wrong but they have fallen down in many ways and they could have made more progress in others and kept in touch with the times. They should, with the support of the Department, ensure that we get the proper type of boat. Let us hope they will do that in the five years available. Otherwise, how can we compete with the type of continental fishing boat that comes into our own waters? Anybody who has visited fishing centres—I have been in Cork and other places—must realise that the small inshore boats we have cannot compete with the floating factories our competitors have. A much greater investment in Irish fisheries is necessary if we are serious about the matter and want to make progress.

The Parliamentary Secretary said that there is an income of about £4 million a year from inshore fishing and that sort of thing but that is not facing up to the issue. Our fishing grounds are underfished and stocks of fish have accumulated but if other people are to come in with better methods of catching fish, with better equipment, not only will we lose what fish we have but we shall have every fishing fleet in the world here to compete with us.

Other countries have developed their fisheries. The Icelandic people live entirely on the proceeds of their fishing. I think they have only two exports, sheep to Russia, I think, and to America, and fish. They have a very small population of about 158,000. Yet they have developed first class fisheries and have managed to keep their economy sound and have been able to protect themselves by using fishery protection vessels to preserve their 12-mile fishery limit. We have a fertile fishing ground. I have always thought that we have adhered to inshore fishing because of the very heavy seas particularly off the west coast. A naval officer told me that the worst seas he had ever seen were off the west coast of Ireland. I was told by one of the crew of a destroyer that the vessel rolled so much there that the oil came out of the sump. For that reason we have been unable to do any worthwhile fishing off the west coast.

The Continental Shelf goes out a considerable distance into the Atlantic. There is a very rich harvest there that is completely neglected. For that purpose much money is required. We spend a great deal of money trying to encourage industrialists to come here; we build factories for them and so on.

We have even brought people here to start industries for which raw material must be imported. Our fisheries could help the economy. If Bord Iascaigh Mhara accept that this kind of expansion is possible and that the type of boat they have been hiring or leasing is inadequate for future needs, that we require boats three or four times as large, we can gradually build up a very fine fishing fleet. We shall then discover the value of our fisheries. We do not know what it is at present. Ministers or Parliamentary Secretaries come here, in Dáil after Dáil, and recite a litany of the amount of different types caught and say that we export very little, that we meet our own requirements and so on. I should say we are catching only one—tenth of what is available.

I strongly advocate that the Department should build up a suitable fleet to fish the untapped grounds off the west and south coasts where strong seaworthy boats are needed and that they should have a "coalition of thought" immediately with France and Norway who are, like ourselves, interested in fishing, to ensure that the EEC, even before we participate in it, will have a fishery policy or agreement that can be discussed when the applicants accede to the EEC. These things are absolutely necessary.

We must also utilise fish to the fullest degree as raw material. We have done practically nothing along that line. Really, the policy of the Fisheries Branch is: catch fish and export that fish to Britain where there is an open market for it. It is something the same as the policy in relation to agriculture of having one market only. The policy is: export the fish there; by doing that you are all right; do not process the fish; have your supplies ready all the time and send them over there; they want fish; they want cheap fish; they want fish they can get easily. They do not care tuppence about our economy. Why should they? They are only responsible for and interested in their own economy. We should look after our own economy. We should realise the tremendous advantages that can accrue to it.

I earnestly exhort the Parliamentary Secretary to consider these two points and to remember that time is running out. Five years is not a long time in which to revolutionise a policy. If we go into the Common Market in five years time with our present fisheries organisation, I envisage that we will be poached out of existence, that we will have every other fishing fleet here. They can even afford to leave their own areas to develop for a season, all of which are overfished by the way. They will come in here and not only will they take all the fish but they will also destroy our breeding grounds. A journal called European Community produced in Brussels pretty well agrees with the view that Ireland must look after her own interest and see that she protects what she has and develops for the future.

Concluding his opening statement the Parliamentary Secretary said:

I feel that Deputies will be satisfied that approval of the Estimate should lead to further expansion of our fisheries, both sea and inland, and that the sum provided should be a worthwhile investment for the country as a whole.

I cannot see the justification for that statement. What are the grounds for suggesting that the industry will expand as a result of this Estimate? Is it not quite evident that this industry has been dragging its feet not only this year but last year and in previous years. Everybody who knows anything about fishing will agree that we have failed in our efforts to develop our fishing industry around the thousands of miles of coast we have.

Comparisons have been made with other islands. Deputy Esmonde mentioned Iceland. I think you may as well compare chalk with cheese as compare our fishing industry with that of Iceland. I have been to Iceland. I think I should thank Deputy Esmonde for that. In any case, I had the opportunity of seeing the fish-processing plants there and hearing lectures about fishing and fish processing from people qualified to lecture on that subject. I was able to get first-hand information as to how 90 per cent of the relatively small population of 200,000 could derive their income from fishing.

Deputy O'Connor from Kerry some few nights ago drew our attention to the position of the Faroe Islands. I am not conversant with the population there but he mentioned that it was something in the region of 5,000 or 6,000 and that their fish catches were ten times ours. He was reflecting on the Government's policy. I am assuming that these figures are correct. This indicates again how we are lagging behind in development. If the Faroe Islands fishermen can do what Deputy O'Connor suggests they have done, there is something wrong here.

In his opening statement the Parliamentary Secretary said:

The amount sought represents an increase of £510,400 on last year's figure, due primarily to the provision of £396,100 to enable repayment to be made to the Central Fund of advances made to An Bord Iascaigh Mhara which were issued by the board to fishermen for the purchase of boats and gear and were later written—off as irrecoverable in the board's accounts.

Taking this into account, the actual increase is £114,300. Surely this is not even keeping pace with last year's Estimate, taking into consideration the continuous depreciation in the value of money and the increases in salaries and in expenses of all kinds?

I should like to get some information on this £396,100. We were told later by the Parliamentary Secretary that this was money that had accumulated over the years. Is that not evidence, if evidence were required, that the fishing industry is in a bad state when, in this relatively small country, loans made from public funds to fishermen to the extent of almost £400,000 have been written-off? In terms of money and relating it to expenditure on fishing and to the income from fishing and exports and so on, this is a sizeable sum.

What happened? Are we to assume that the fishing industry is not a paying proposition and that those who got this money were unable to make ends meet, and unable to repay their commitments, and that together with the grants which were made available to them the loans too went unpaid and had to be struck off: John Citizen pay up? Or are we to assume, on the other hand, that the wrong type of people got these loans? We have known down through the years that influences were at work and that if you wanted to get loans, or Government help, or a Government grant, the usual thing to do was to go to people with influence.

I have referred in this House time and again to this type of influence being used. At present if you are looking for something big, such as a new boat or a van or other Government favours, some people think the best way to approach the subject is to become a member of the latest subsidiary body of the Government, set up some few years ago, the Taca Association, to buy a ticket, buy a pass, and get help and money from Government funds.

The Parliamentary Secretary must tell this House more about this £400,000 of public funds. It is not good enough to say that it is a sum accumulated over a number of years. He must give us more detail than that. How did it happen? Who made the mistake? There are not so many answers.

The first answer is that this industry is not paying at all and that people could not possibly repay the money. I doubt if the position is so bad that that is correct. Living at the seaside myself I am reasonably familiar with the fishing industry and I would be surprised to hear that a capable man getting a boat with the loans and grants available from public funds would not be in a position to make a living and repay the loan. I have said "a capable man" because only capable or skilled men should be considered for such loans and grants. Are we to assume that incapable men got these grants and loans from public funds through An Bord Iascaigh Mhara and are unable to pay their debts and now the State must pay £396,100 in the current year? If that amount of money were available for, say, improvements to small harbours and slips, or other desirable improvements, it would make a considerable impact. Something is wrong, someone is wrong, when public money goes down the drain. We just cannot pass over that. It is not good enough to say that these debts cannot be recovered.

I do not want to labour this point but I would like to comment on the regulations as I understand them. If I have a boat from the board and I am incapable of managing it, if I find it is a bad proposition to continue and I have no hope of repaying the board and I am "baling out" I understand that I am legally entitled to sell the gear and pocket that money. Has this happened in any of these cases? Surely that type of regulation should not exist. I was dumbfounded when I learned that that could be done legally. Public money must be more carefully safeguarded than that.

I would like to see the regulations tightened up because, despite the complaints that are made by some fishermen that it is difficult to make ends meet, I am satisfied that if proper care and attention were given to applications for grants there would be no question of writing off £396,100 today. These applications come before the board. The board is, to some extent, a political body. The Government have nominees on the board and some of them have been nominated because of their political affiliations. It is because of the accumulation of all this that there is this preliminary statement to the Parliamentary Secretary's remarks on the fishing industry for the year 1970-71.

I am quite satisfied that the Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Fahey, is a man of the highest integrity. I have no doubt about that. However, I have complained down through the years that the person in charge of the Fisheries Branch is always somebody from an inland county. We have Deputy Fahey today; Deputy Childers was in charge of the Fisheries Branch for a time as were also Deputy Brian Lenihan and Deputy O.J. Flanagan. I am not saying they were not all qualified but I still think—this is no reflection on Deputy Fahey, I would be the last to reflect on him—that a person from a maritime county who has a more intimate knowledge of fishing, its hazards and its problems, and who has opportunities of meeting fishermen and agents and distributors of fish, would have more first—hand knowledge of the industry than a man from an inland area.

The big question in the minds of fishermen today is the one referred to by Deputy Esmonde—what will happen to us when we get into the EEC? That is what fishermen are asking me and asking Deputy Esmonde and other Deputies all round the coast. They are trying to get information from any source they can. It has been represented that once we become members of the EEC we can down our tools, that once we get into that wealthy group of 200 million people a population such as ours, less than three million, will have no problems, we will be spoonfed. Like Deputy Esmonde I have had the opportunity, on a number of occasions, of visiting all six EEC countries and nothing could be further removed from the truth than that idea of getting benefits without putting work and industry into our efforts, without improving on the efforts that are being made here at present in different spheres. We are speaking today about one particular sphere—fisheries. I do not see that there is any easy money to be got from membership of the Community. I was pleased to see that in France, Germany, Luxembourg and Holland people seem to be doing well. Perhaps that is the reason why we are not supposed to lose by joining. Industries seem to be thriving particularly in those four countries. However, it struck me that people there are working harder than people in Ireland. That is the impression one would get. On the assumption that we will become members of the EEC, we must consider what will be the position of our fishermen in those circumstances. Is it not laid down that the transitional period cannot be for more than five years?

That can go on; there is no limit.

The Labour Party have sent a number of delegations to the EEC headquarters so that we might have first hand information pertaining to all matters, agricultural and fishing as well as others. I happened to be a member of one such delegation. It was made clear to us that the transitional period will not be for more than five years except in the event of there arising very unusual circumstances. At this point I should mention that towards the end of October and during the month of November this year herring fishing was very good both in relation to catches and in relation to prices paid on the piers, where herrings fetched up to £13 a cran. So far as I know, all the herrings landed on the southern coast were purchased by Dutch buyers. Our fishermen are anxious to know whether there is a likelihood that, if and when we become a member of the EEC and after this transitional period has expired, instead of the Dutch or any other European people coming to buy our fish, they will come instead to catch the fish themselves. These pepole would then have the same rights to fish our waters as would our own fishermen.

We are all aware that some few years ago there was uproar along the southern coast between Irish and foreign fishermen. I am speaking now of herring fishing. In the confrontation the Irish fishermen were successful. At that time we were entitled to take action by virtue of the fact that we are a free and independent nation. However, when we join the EEC we shall not be able to say to these fishermen that they must go back to Holland or to Belgium or to France or to wherever they may have come from because they would have the same rights as would the fishermen from Schull, from Castletownbere or from Dunmore.

The Parliamentary Secretary referred to this question in his statement and he tells us that all the steps that can possibly be taken are being taken to deal with the matter. I understand that on 21st September the Government commenced taking such steps but we have not been told how successful have been the efforts so far. From questions I have asked and from speaking to members of the commission, I am satisfied that in the event of our joining the EEC it is most unlikely that we would get any preferential treatment in relation to fishing. It may be possible, of course, that our fishermen could go to England, to France or to Italy or elsewhere to fish in the same way as people from these countries could fish in our waters but I understand from the general trends of events obtaining within the EEC there will be no concessions granted to us. Perhaps when the Parliamentary Secretary is replying he will throw some light on this matter.

I am asking whether it will be a matter of a free-for-all within the EEC conditions. In so far as I can see, that will be the position. I hope I am wrong. Those people who buy boats intending to make fishing their career would like to know the answer to that question.

We are told also that the progress made in recent years will continue to be made and that a healthy air obtains now within the industry. The person responsible for that statement may be a little too optimistic but perhaps this may be better than being too pessimistic. I am not aware of any such healthy air. Our coastline must extend for about 2,000 miles but, in spite of that, the figures for landings are relatively small. In so far as shell fishing is concerned, this branch of the industry is progressing reasonably well. It is progressing more than white fishing. I am particularly pleased that this is the case because it is easier to handle and easier to dispose of.

In my own town of Schull we have what used to be described for many years as the "inter-party white elephant" by Government representatives in that part of the country. Some of us had the feeling that because that plant was erected during the inter-party period, it was ignored since then, left idle, looking very white, but fortunately its colour has now changed. It is a natural colour now thanks to some people who came along some years ago. It is now doing well despite all the pessimism about it from Government sources. It provides a ready market for the local fishermen. This plant was idle for 14 or 15 years. It was said at one time that the Government would have it turned into a dance hall. I suspect, although this is no reflection on the present Parliamentary Secretary, that the Government deliberately neglected expanding that plant because what has happened this year could have happened in the 1950s or the 1960s. However, it is working smoothly now.

I cannot see any mention in the Parliamentary Secretary's statement of the fish processing plant to be located on Dinish Island, Castletownbere. Why has this been omitted? This plant is supposed to be set up next year. Preparations are being made to acquire the land for the erection of this fish processing plant. Why is it not mentioned in the Parliamentary Secretary's statement? I know this is the Estimate for 1970-71 which ends on the 31st of March next, so I hope the fact that it is not mentioned does not mean that it is shelved.

I often criticise boards but I am quite satisfied that An Bord Iascaigh Mhara played an important role in getting this industry for Castletownbere. It may not be the job of the Fisheries Branch to buy land but when this industry is closely connected with fishing they should take an interest in the acquisition of land and see the man who owns this land for the erection of this plant is paid for it. I do not like the way they are treating the owner of Dinish Island in that they are offering him an entirely inadequate sum for an island of almost 30 acres. We should not wield the big stick over people like that and say: "If you do not sell to us at this price you will be responsible for keeping away an industry which will employ quite a number of people." I avail of this opportunity to say that when a State body, a Department or a local authority acquire land by compulsion they should pay for it. Compulsion was not necessary in this case. The owner only required what any of us would require: a fair price for his holding. He is not getting that from the people who are negotiating for its purchase. It is time to give this man a fair price for his land.

Those of us who live around the coast make representations from time to time with regard to the erection or improvement of harbours, piers and slipways. The prospect is not very bright so far as County Cork is concerned. The only place mentioned is Reen, on which the work is almost completed. There is no work mentioned for the coming year. I should like to have some information on the availability of money for harbours, piers and slipways. I appreciate it is difficult to estimate the requirements of the different areas all around the coast. At Schull it is estimated that it would take more than £100,000 to do a reasonable job on the pier there. Possibly half that amount would be required for Union Hall and quite large sums of money would be required for other centres on the south Cork coast.

At the moment we have a survey of harbours and piers taking place. I believe this is only a tactic to let people know that the Government are doing something about this matter. The survey could go on for years and years and not much might come out of it in the end. We have experience of surveys being carried out by different Departments. They are usually set up to keep people off the back of the particular Department. If the Fisheries Branch cannot get money from the Minister for Finance the Parliamentary Secretary should tell us this.

I am pleased work on Castletownbere pier is going along reasonably well and that it is expected to be completed by 1973. I should like the Parliamentary Secretary to take into account other piers in south-west Cork. I know he has to deal with these matters on a national basis but he will find that a great deal of money is needed. I think my friend here, Deputy Kavanagh, who has moved down in the Cork direction, was interested in Bally-cotton pier about which there was a deputation to the county council meeting. It was agreed by all that this work was of urgent necessity. We should have got a little more information on the availability of funds for harbours and piers.

From the day I came into this House I have been agitating on the Estimate for Fisheries that our fishery waters be nationalised. That issue has been taken up by other people in the last four or five years but I am now interested in the justification for such a measure. I would never agree that fishery waters along any part of our coast or indeed our rivers should be privately owned. I remember when the Tánaiste was Minister for Lands and Fisheries he said that fisheries were private property and we had no right or entitlement to take them over, that once they were in private ownership we should respect that, and so on. In some parts of the country, including my own, respect for fishery laws was at a low ebb in the not too distant past. If a man was brought before the courts for breaches of fishery regulations, particularly if it was in relation to fishing on a privately owned stretch of river, his neighbours did not regard that as an offence.

Nationalisation would require legislation and would, therefore, be outside the scope of an Estimate debate.

Legislation was enacted here in 1959. If that were given effect to, it would cover this. I suppose the Government do not like treading on the corns of these private individuals, first of all because some of them may be good contributors to their funds, and secondly, because they have some doubts about compensation. Legislation was passed here in 1959 which gives us power to do what I am suggesting, so that on that basis it is relevant to this discussion. It is not a question of legislation but a question of implementing legislation already in existence. The Fisheries (Consolidation) Act of 1959 went at least part of the way in providing for the taking over of privately owned waters and the payment of compensation. I do not intend to dwell on this question, but I am satisfied that we went part of the way and then stopped. Possibly influences were at work to ensure we did not go all the way.

According to the Parliamentary Secretary's statement the Department are not satisfied with the distribution of fish to inland places in Ireland. They claim that our fish consumption has risen to 10½ lbs. per head of the population. I take it that is an annual amount, which is exceptionally small. This is a recurring question. What steps have the Department and the board taken in recent years in relation to the better distribution of fish even here at home not to talk about abroad? There is an advertising campaign costing £30,000 annually, and there are the board's fish cooking advisory activities which involve hotels, institutions and guesthouses. We are asking for help from organisations, but we do not seem to be making any headway in having fish delivered to inland towns in this country, small as it is. I suppose there is no part of it 100 miles from the sea.

Quite recently I attended a fish market at Bergen in Norway. It was away beyond anything here in Ireland or beyond anything inside the fish market in Dublin. I am not reflecting on our own people. There were all types of fish there. It was laid out on tables in stalls. The presentation and everything else was 100 per cent, and buyers were plentiful. Of course, the Norwegian people eat more fish than we do but, at the same time, the way the fish was presented for sale was an added inducement to people to buy it. Our marketing system here falls far below the standard obtaining there.

The Parliamentary Secretary said that the low level of fish consumption in inland areas due to lack of proper fish distribution presents a problem in any speedy effort to organise more effective distribution, that the best we can expect is that better distribution can be phased in line with gradual increases in fish consumption in those areas. This is an admission that either the Department or the board, whoever is responsible, is incapable of doing that job. It should be handed over to private enterprise who, I am quite certain, would do the job. Everyone associated with this industry seems to find every task insurmountable. I believe we could get people in inland towns like Cashel, Cahir, Mallow, Fermoy and such places interested in fish consumption if we went about it in the proper way.

I should like briefly to refer to the French boats. There was a television programme quite recently on the French boats. These French boats are not what they should be. I should like to know what happened in this connection. I do not like prejudging the issue and I do not like blaming the board. I have seen fishermen going over to France and other places to find boats. The board must help them buy the boats. If the board are reluctant to help they are very often pressurised into doing so and this may be what happened in these cases.

I want to refer briefly to representations I have made on behalf of the salmon fishermen of Kinsale. These fishermen are capable men who understand all about the salmon fishing industry. They are anxious to preserve and develop it and make the best living possible out of it. They have made representations to the Department that the season should be extended by two weeks from 31st July to 15th August. The present season in the Kinsale district is five and a half months whereas in Youghal it is six months. An extra fortnight would mean a great addition to their income from fishing. They are satisfied beyond doubt that it would not be harmful in any way to the industry. If they thought it would be harmful, they would not look for this extension. In this country there are "experts" in every field.

Mr. J. Lenehan

Alleged ones, self-appointed ones.

Someone in Dublin, who has probably never caught a salmon and knows very little about the practical side of salmon fishing, but who has some airy fairy degrees of one kind or another says, "You must not fish beyond 31st July. The season should not be extended." We have far too much of that. I have tried to get this matter dealt with locally. An officer from the Department, who was reasonable and fair enough, called but I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to have another look at the question and extend the season from 31st July to 15th August if at all possible.

Mr. J. Lenehan

As a Deputy from the Atlantic shelf, where fish were first discovered, I must speak on this Estimate. I am sorry the Parliamentary Secretary is not here but I should like to congratulate him on his appointment even though he comes from a county where, I understand, many people do not yet know fish have been discovered. However, being the type of man he is, I believe he will get over that trouble.

I live in a town that is surrounded by fish. They are usually winking and laughing at us. To get out and catch them is another day's work. We caught £3½ million worth of fish last year but there is no reason in the world why that figure could not be £23½ million or more. I have seen Spanish, French, British and Dutch trawlers a few miles off our coast making a fortune from the fish they have caught there. They were there until the 12-mile limit was enforced. Indeed, they were there until I brought up in this House the question of the smuggling of brandy. As a result of my intervention they cleared.

Our methods of fishing are like the ones used by St. Peter on the Lake of Galilee when Our Lord had to intervene and help get the nets in. Until we realise that fact and decide that fishing is an industry and not the cinderella of our economy we shall not get anywhere. We do not do any research, we do not even know where the fish are. It is generally accepted that the famous tuna fish, which is worth millions and is found in the Mediterranean, passes our coasts and yet in a century only one has been caught. We do not know where they are and we have not tried to find out. We sent out a boat called the Cú Feasa. Where did she go? She went only a mile or two off the coast and if she had gone out any further the crew would not have been able to find their way back. They did not have an idea where they were going. I remember the famous case of a boat leaving the Blacksod country to go to Sligo. The crew were supposed to be famous seamen but they did not know where they were. Eventually a big branch of a tree came in through one of the portholes and one of the crew said: “A chaptaen, sílim go bhfuilimid goirid don talamh anois.” That was the first time they knew where they were and by that time they were well up the river.

I am probably the only Deputy who spends his time in the fishing business. I even went to the trouble of spending two years in Billingsgate Market studying the business. Consequently, I know that what I am saying is accurate and I will not listen to experts. I will not listen to the type of expert who, because he does not drink tea, or because he does something abnormal or subnormal, gets himself designated as an expert, like the genius who calls himself a psychiatrist or puts a brass plate up and calls himself a consultant and people eventually believe what he is saying. We have no experts here on fishing, none whatever, and any man who knows anything about fishing knows that. We have no experts on fishing even if some people write articles in the Independent, or the Press, or the Irish Times. I know their background—I am a lot older than I look—and I know what they are and I know their experience. They have no experience. They are misleading the fishermen. They are misleading the Government and they are misleading us.

I would rather pay £40,000 or £50,000 to some sane man from Norway or Greenland or Iceland, where they live by fishing, to come in here and show our people how to fish. The finest fishing grounds in Western Europe are only a few miles from my door. I saw the Spaniards and other foreigners take a fortune from these grounds because they knew how to fish. Today there is nobody in them because the people do not know how to fish them; they have not been properly trained and they have no proper boats. They have been neglected. The fish are there. They are there to be seen and, unless they come in and give themselves up, they will be there for a long time to come.

I saw the Parliamentary Secretary's speech on this Estimate. I had a copy of it but it was taken from me. It was so bulky someone thought it was the final report of the Vatican Council. I do not think the Parliamentary Secretary believes a great deal of what was written in that brief. Obviously, it was written by his civil servants who would not know the difference between a fluke and a trout if they saw the two side by side.

The Deputy is entitled to criticise the Parliamentary Secretary but he may not criticise civil servants.

Mr. J. Lenehan

I will get over that one. The Parliamentary Secretary is responsible for the civil servants. I am not mentioning any names. Spanish and other foreign trawlers fished off our coast for well over 100 years. They have disappeared now. There is the question of their coming back if we go into the EEC. That is another problem. If we had any commonsense there would be no place left for them to come back into but, at the rate we are going, and because we have failed to change and move with the times, they probably will come back. I see Killybegs men coming up to within a few miles of Belmullet where they catch all their fish and then they go back to Killybegs, a tremendous distance, to get their fish to the market. If we had any sense we would put a pier in Broadhaven where these people could land their fish. The Aranman has trouble also, and so has the Errisman, in landing his fish.

It is a sad reflection on us that we have done so little for our fisheries. Anyone where I come from can stand on the shore and see the fish winking at him and codding him but, if he goes out to catch them, his wife will probably find herself a widow the next morning because he has no place to land the fish. For an expenditure of a few hundred thousand pounds these difficulties could easily be overcome. Everyone in that part of the country knows that. There are £3½ million worth of fish taken in this country every year. We are importing practically the same amount. We live on sardines and tinned salmon from Canada. I did a good deal of fishing when I was a young fellow and I have given many bits of good advice to fishermen over the years. We are in the middle of the fish and, unless they jump into our boats or on to the shore, we do not bother about them. By the grace of God, you might get out and in successfully during the summer; you will get out all right but getting in is another day's work. I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to have enough commonsense to deal with places on the west coast like Broadhaven and Inishere in the Westport area. Broadhaven is the big fishing centre and it is the place where a pier should be put.

We are up against a big problem with regard to boats. I refer to marine insurance. This is becoming a tremendous problem. The fishermen are now being charged a higher premium for insurance than the repayment on the boat. It makes the whole thing a bit ridiculous. They can go to Northern Ireland companies but there appears to be some argument as to how right or wrong that is. The Government should establish a fund to cover the insurance of these boats. If we are to develop our fishery industry properly that will have to be done.

I have no grievance with Bord Iascaigh Mhara. Their boss is a good friend of mine. Bord lascaigh Mhara have done a good deal but I believe they are misled by the alleged experts. It is there most of our troubles lie. I do not know who brought up the one about the worms in the French boats, but it is quite true. French boats were brought in and they certainly had worms. I do not know what other diseases they had. In a country in which you have so many unemployed and so many vocational schools, a country from which people emigrate to America and Britain and become famous in a very short time because of their skills, why should it be necessary to ask the French, or anybody else, to build boats for us? The biggest joke of all was when we went into Central Europe, into Poland, to get boats built. The Poles never see the sea at all. What they sent could have been yokes for dipping sheep, but the experts passed them and we had to pay the subsidy on them. We have plenty of boat-building yards. We have expert boatbuilders. If their services were utilised and if they were given the same subsidies as the French and the Poles were given there would be no problem about building boats here. There is no scarcity of money. We operated for almost eight months without a single bank being open. Did anybody find any difficulty in getting money? I think it was more plentiful than ever.

It is getting scarce now.

Mr. J. Lenehan

I would say it is. We could have built a good many boats during that period. It is a shame. Boatbuilders in Killybegs and other places like that, even in Verolme, could be left off work while we send our money to foreign countries. They do not send us orders to build boats nor do I see any reason why we should ask them to build boats for us. There is not a more suitable place in which to establish a boat-building industry than the Belmullet area where the piers and sites are available. However, I do not want to insist on this location as against any other part of County Mayo.

When President de Valera first assumed office he sent for Mr. C.O. Stanley, a man who eventually became the owner of the firm of Pye. He asked Mr. Stanley for his views on the establishment of industries and he was told that it was essential to set up industries that were based on native products. Had we followed that advice we would have a much different nation today. For instance, Gaeltarra Éireann should co-operate with An Bord lascaigh Mhara to establish a boat-building industry in the Gaeltacht areas. There is no better place to estabish such an industry than my own area: the people there are tourist-minded and they are aware of the potential value of the fishing industry.

There is no reason why they should have to buy boats from foreigners. I admit the engines must be bought from abroad; usually the Lister engines are used. One of the biggest problems for fishermen is the fact that the engines and boats are too small. There is not any service organisation. I remember at one time making an appointment with the firm of Blackmore Lister to train a man to service engines. It is very important that there should be a service organisation set up because if an engine is not in working order there is great danger to the fishermen at sea. The man whom I selected for training with the Lister organisation refused to go and we are in the same position as before. It is all right for somebody cruising around Dublin Bay; all the services are available there, but on the west coast, at Killala, Erris Head and Blacksod, it is a different matter. Most of those areas have not got even a life-saving service. I have spoken on this matter on a number of occasions but to no avail.

Marketing poses another problem for the fishermen along the western coast. There is no use in catching fish unless it can be sold at economic prices. Transport charges are abnormal by any standard. There must be a tremendous difference in price for the haddock or hake landed at Howth and that landed at Broadhaven. Fishermen from the western counties must travel long distances to Dublin and when they have paid the costs of transport they find they have very little left. A subsidy should be given to CIE or to some other organisation for the transport of fish to Dublin so that financially the western fishermen will be in the same position as the fishermen in Howth or along the east coast. Anyone with commonsense must agree that I am stating facts.

Most of the fish processing factories do not get sufficient quantities of fish and this is particularly the case in the Erris area. However, no effort is being made to set up a processing plant or to establish a boat-building industry in the area. Candidly, no effort is made to establish any kind of industry there.

It is well known that nowadays oysters and mussels are the money-spinners. Two hundred years ago some of the best oyster beds in Western Europe were situated in the Erris area. In some cases sand enveloped the beds and they were destroyed. Unfortunately the other oyster beds deteriorated because they were not properly fished; they were not dredged and the oyster fishing deteriorated. The area is ideally situated for the development of mussel fishing but, again, nothing has been done about it.

I must admit that the Inland Fisheries Trust annoy me. However, I admit that if we did not have inland fisheries we would not have drift netting and so on. Very many of our rivers are owned by foreigners or by persons who will not associate with the ordinary people of the country. There is a lack of conservation and protection. Fish stocks are falling. Some people blame the fishermen of Greenland and Iceland who, they say, caught many salmon and reduced the stocks of our rivers and of the sea around us. The lack of conservation is to blame for the declining stocks of salmon.

Some years ago a west coast salmon fisherman said to me that we were heading for disaster. I did not realise how accurate he was. He talked about the rainbow trout farms and said that they would bring the curse of God on salmon fishing. I was actively engaged in the fishing industry at that time. I now realise how right the man was. We are heading for disaster. When the diseased salmon were discovered they were referred to as having ulcerated dermal neurosis. As a Latin student I never heard such a term. I am sure that neither Cicero, Livy, Horace nor Caesar ever heard the expression either. That was the name put on the disease afflicting the rich man's fish. If the disease had occurred in mackerel it would have been called scab. Who is being fooled? The man who spoke about the rainbow trout bringing the curse of God on the salmon fishing was not far wrong.

Many years ago when fishermen went to sea they brought Old Moore's Almanac with them. They relied on it and very few of them were drowned. Now fishermen listen to forecasts being broadcast, and they are certainly being drowned. I do not agree with the predictions of Old Moore, but they were at least as effective as the predictions today. Something should be done to ensure that the weather forecasts are reasonably accurate. Many of them are sheer bluff.

I am sorry that the Parliamentary Secretary was not here earlier to hear me speaking about fishing boats and their allocation. This is one of the greatest frauds of all time. If I want a pleasure boat I have only to go to someone whom we will call "Michael Murphy," and ask him to put his name down for a fishing boat. He will agree, and I will pay the deposit. The said Michael Murphy will forget to pay anything for the boat and after a few months it will be put up for sale and I, knowing what to do, send in a tender for the boat. I would also get two or three friends to send in tenders and then get the fellows with the higher tenders than mine to withdraw. Of course I will then get the boat. It is time that such blackguardism was exposed. I personally do not deal in fishing boats. Blackguards are operating such a scheme. My good friend from the southern Atlantic shelf could probably agree with me on this.

I understand that An Bord Iascaigh Mhara own boat-building yards and that what they build is acceptable even if it is made of inferior materials. If people with private boat-building yards try to build boats they find themselves in trouble. A ridiculous thing came to my notice recently where a boat was built with one-inch planking—that is the timber which goes around the boat on the outside. In respect of the boat to which I refer, some self-appointed genius from An Bord lascaigh Mhara discovered that the timber was one-quarter inch too thin. He issued instructions to the builder to have this corrected, even though the boat was at sea. I do not know how such alteration could be done. If a wall was too thin it could be plastered to increase its thickness but I do not know what one could do to thicken the timber of a boat by one-quarter inch. I have the document about this boat at home. The boat was built and was at sea when the man got the notice that no grant would be paid until the timber was thickened by one-quarter inch. How does one cope with that kind of thing? Maybe he could accept it. I would not, anyway.

There has been an absolute lack of research into the fisheries industry in this country and it is a great shame. Off Erris, we have the best fishing area in Europe. Long before the Famine, people went from this country to places such as Iceland and brought fish back to this country. They even sold some of it in Britain. Our present figure of £3½ million is only a joke. It should be £33 million.

Our marketing methods must be the most primitive in the world—a hit and miss affair. Just consider, too, the fact that fish caught off the Mayo coast must be brought for processing to Killybegs, miles and miles away, by truck. Valuable time is spent carting the fish to Donegal when the men could be fishing if a plant were at their disposal in Broadhaven Bay. If a pier were built there, the men of Erris and of Achill could bring in their boats there. They would get a higher profit because valuable time would not be wasted travelling. In a country surrounded by sea and by fish it is remarkable that nobody in the midlands seems to know what fish is. Very few hotels in Dublin serve fish for breakfast. If you went to Longford and asked for fish——

Mr. Tally

I did and I could not get it.

Mr. J. Lenehan

A genius from my part of the country was going to Dublin not many years ago with a truck, bringing up a load of stuff. He heard about a great catch of fish at, I think, Howth, and decided the midlands was the place for him to make his fortune. They chased him out of Mullingar and Longford. It ended up in Achill Sound. He could not bring it home because he had no place to put it. It is grand to see the advertising in relation to the "Cook of the Year". She is picked before the competition starts at all.

That is disgraceful.

Mr. J. Lenehan

Some nun at her back will pick it up for her——

That is unfair.

Mr. J. Lenehan

It is not. If 300 girls were going in for that cookery competition you could take it that 295 out of the 300 of them never saw a fish until the competition started. This is true especially of the midlands. What happens then? She gets this thing. She does not know whether it is fish, flesh or a tractor gate or a tyre or what it is. She will have to produce something out of it. With a bit of luck, it is quite possible that the lady making the decision never saw a fish until she saw this thing on the plate.

Our advertising system for fish is completely and entirely behind the times. If we want to make progress in our fisheries we should stop fooling around with BIM and a lot of these other self-appointed, self-opinionated experts. We should get in a few people from countries where fish is the staple diet and where fish is the main source of livelihood. They will have to come from some of the northern countries. The Parliamentary Secretary was not here when I started my speech. I wish to congratulate him on his appointment even though he comes from a county where, according to some people here, fish have not yet been invented. It is not too late to try. I am sure he is a very able man who, like myself, can persevere.

Certainly if I had the appointing of a Minister for Fisheries I would hardly go beyond the last speaker. His turn may come yet. I hope it will. I do not believe in attacking BIM. They have done the best they could with the money available. We have to go back further than that to put our finger on the cause of our neglect of our fishing industry. About 40 years ago we had a separate Ministry for Fisheries. The first thing we should do is to make this branch a Department to look after our fishing industry which is more important now than ever. I trust I shall live to see the day when fisheries will have a separate Ministry and when more money will be available for the improvement of this very vital industry.

We have up to 500 miles of coastline in my constituency. We are one of the few countries in western Europe with a big fishing potential. The trawlers of the world are creeping in around our coasts into our harbours and into our fisheries. I have seen trawlers from France and Spain shell fishing inside our limits. They have been doing so for years; they are doing it today. It is a sad reflection on our Government that we cannot protect our greatest industry next to agriculture. This cannot be denied. I could get plenty of witnesses to prove it. Somebody is to blame for the fact that through the years there was not sufficient foresight to protect this industry.

I welcome the new Parliamentary Secretary, who has a great deal of work to do. I hope he will do his best while in office. I can assure him that while we are speaking and sitting here our fisheries are being raided all round the coast. We must also consider sea angling and tourism. I can speak for my own part of the country. Around Kinsale we have great potential for sea angling not only from Kinsale but also from Schull, Courtmacsherry, Union Hall and the Beare Penninsula. Thousands of people come there every year for sea angling. The last speaker spoke of the novice who came over and caught a fish. Certainly, fish are plentiful enough for this to happen. Not only is sea angling beneficial to the fishermen but it is a great tourist attraction and when hotels are not being kept full at certain times of the year. The Minister should direct his attention to this aspect of the business.

Prices for shellfish are very good at present and there is fear of overfishing around our coast. I hope the Department will bear this in mind because overfishing would be disastrous and between home and foreign fishing there is a danger of this happening.

I want to pay tribute to those who have restocked salmon and trout rivers, especially the ESB, and others who are striving to maintain our stocks of fish. Pollution problems should also be tackled. The Blackwater and other rivers have been polluted, especially in summer when the volume of water is very low and fish stocks have been depleted as a result.

I come now to what I consider to be a very important aspect of the fishing industry, the training of young men as future fishermen. Our efforts in that respect have been very small, but if we are to interest people in fishing we must train young men. It is not enough to say at present that we have a few schools doing that. These should be established all around the coast. We have not even one school in the vast area of County Cork providing this training. Vocational schools should be able to offer young men suitable training, especially in the maritime counties. They should be trained in thousands because there is no use in putting a man into a boat unless he has some experience or knowledge of the fishing industry.

I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to consider that aspect of the industry and seek the co-operation of the vocational committees and schools in attracting and training young men for the industry. I feel sure there would be many applicants if this training was fully advertised and if the young people realised the importance of the industry and the amount of money that can be made in it. It is now more important than ever if we are to enter EEC where prices will be better than they have been in the past.

The previous speaker referred to the marketing of fish. We have no marketing system and people living within five miles of the coast who are anxious to get fish at least one day a week cannot do so. Why have we never established a marketing system? The demand exists and this is a need that should be attended to. In fact, much of the fish we export could be used at home because there is a market for it.

We have a number of boat-building yards and these are not being given the help or the orders sufficient to keep them going. I am glad to say that Baltimore yard in my own constituency is now building boats up to 75 feet long. I trust that yard will be kept going, that it will expand and be able to build even bigger boats. I am sorry the Deputy who has just left did not remain to hear this. I know a family with eight boats fishing out of Union Hall. They bought a 75-foot boat recently. A pier was being extended there. One of the problems of the fishermen there is that the piers are too short to shelter boats of that size. At Green Pier, outside Union Hall, an extension was being provided for boats up to 40 feet but this man acquired a 75-foot boat and it was impossible to bring it into that harbour because of lack of shelter in bad weather. I know this does not come within this Estimate. The Board of Works deal with it. I am showing that there is no good in having boats unless we have harbours for them.

We have been hearing for a number of years that we are to have a fishmeal plant at Castletownbere. This has been said for so long and so little has been done about it that the people there think it is just another false alarm. I have been speaking to the people concerned and I am told that it will come, but the time is now ripe to provide it. We are importing an amount of fishmeal for use in rations for every type of livestock while on our own coasts we have the coarse fish which are suitable for a fishmeal plant.

In Castletownbere the pier has been extended and improved and I want to congratulate all those concerned. It is magnificent. I hope it will be finished very soon and it will then be availed of by the fishing industry there. We badly need the facilities to deal with the fish when they are brought in. When we have the harbour surely we must have a plant to deal with the coarse fish that is thrown back into the water from the boats because it is not of commercial use? We could easily keep a factory going there and give employment to fishermen in lean times. I would appeal to all concerned to see that a fishmeal plant is provided there as soon as possible. When the Parliamentary Secretary is replying I should like him to give us the information we want. Will we get it? When will we get it? I should also like to impress upon him the necessity for the plant.

Another important matter is the safety of our fishermen. Our coasts are very exposed and very wild. At various times men and boats have been lost. We had a terrible tragedy on the Kenmare river a few years ago when several fishermen and a boat were lost. It is my belief that fishermen could be saved if we had a lifesaving service for them when they are out in bad weather. Probably a number of people are dissuaded from applying to join the fishing industry when they find that no provision is made for their safety when they are engaged in fishing and are caught out in bad weather.

At present we are negotiating to join the Common Market. As I said at the start, there are great possibilities. We must safeguard out territorial waters from incursions by foreign trawlers. I should like some information about our fishery limits. At the moment we cannot protect what we have, and what will happen to us when we get into the Common Market? The Norwegian Government consider this so important that they are undecided about joining the Common Market unless they can have limits within which they can fish themselves and keep out other fishermen from foreign countries, and even from Common Market countries. This is especially important for us because we are not as advanced as Norway. Our coastline is nearly as long as theirs and our fishing around the coast is nearly as good as theirs. We really are not prepared for entry into the Common Market in this respect.

Off Kinsale Harbour every year fishermen come from all over the world practically to fish for blue shark and other fish that are plentiful there. They have mother boats to which they transfer their catch to take it back to Norway to be cured. We have done nothing in that regard. There is a great potential there for some type of factory to process this type of fish.

To summarise, I consider the provision of a separate Department as the No. 1 priority. I put protection as No. 2. If we cannot protect our fisheries we have no business in the industry. If we can see trawlers coming in all around our coast and taking away the fish which should be ours, what business have our fishermen going out if their boats are too small to stay out in the very bad weather in which these big Spanish, French and Dutch boats can stay out in safety? No. 3, I would put the training of our young fishermen. This is very important. A school should be provided along the southern coast to train young fishermen and the vocational schools should be asked to provide students to be educated in the fishing industry.

I have already mentioned the fishmeal factory at Castletownbere. It is about time this was provided. We have the harbour there and a magnificent pier. We have the fish just outside and in the harbour. This factory would not only give employment to fishermen there but it would also give a lot of employment where it is badly needed in the Beara Penninsula.

Members of An Bord Iascaigh Mhara are smiling and I hope that is a good sign. If they were looking any way gruff I would say it would not be coming but by their expression I can see they are agreeing with what I say on that matter.

It is very important that our negotiations for entry into the Common Market are successful and that we have people who are able to negotiate on our behalf in the Common Market. If we lost that advantage it would be a national loss.

More should be done by the Department to promote sea angling. It is a money spinner. People not alone from England and Scotland but from the Continent are coming to our shores and are very happy with the results. We should have better facilities and better boats for them. They are an important part of our tourist industry.

We should not go to Norway or to Poland or to France for fishing boats. We have in Cork harbour a shipbuilding yard which gives employment to many people. That yard should be able to build the biggest boats and should have been building them for years. I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to get in touch with these people and find out what they can do and if they want something provide them with whatever they want so that they will be able to build our own boats. I have spoken to fishermen who have told me that the boats built in this country are better than any boat that has been imported. We may not be able to build the big ones in some yards but in the boatyard in Cork we certainly could build them up to the capacity, size and tonnage of any of the foreign boats that have been brought into the country. I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to get in touch with this yard and to see that they are given provision to build the boats, to employ Irish people and to keep our money at home. We are not getting much from Norway or from Poland and the least we should do is to give our native boatyard the work. If we want bigger boats the dockyard in Cobh should build them.

Deputy M.P. Murphy referred to the extension of the salmon fishing season and I should like to comment on it with regard to the Boyne. The Boyne, where it runs into the sea at Mornington, is a very good net fishing area. People who are real fishermen live in Mornington. They live off the sea and off the river. They do not do any other type of work and they do not draw social welfare benefit. To use their own expression, they want nothing from anybody.

Salmon fishing there for a long time has been from 12th February to 12th August. Some years ago they made an application for an extension of the season. They did not mind whether they got an extension at the beginning or at the end. They felt they would not be doing any damage to the fishing or to the salmon stock if they were given the extension. If they got an extension at the beginning they would catch more small salmon for a longer period, and if they got an extension at the end of the season they would probably catch a smaller number of larger salmon. The price would be much lower of course at that period. One of the people Deputy J. Lenehan was talking about earlier held an inquiry into the matter and decided they would not get an extension at either end. I do not know why this decision was taken but that was it and they had to abide by it. I do not agree at all with Deputy Lenehan's comments on the Fisheries Branch. They do a job and I am quite sure they do it to the best of their ability and they do what they think is correct. Experts are useful sometimes even if some people tend to scoff at them.

The salmon fishing season varies from one river to another. If one can catch salmon on 1st January in the Liffey I do not understand why one must wait until 12th February to catch salmon in the Boyne which is only 30 miles away. There must be a reason for it. The Parliamentary Secretary might, as part of his job, ask for a report on the dates of salmon fishing in the various rivers and find out whether there is any reason for the big disparity in dates. It means a lot to the fisherman who is depending on fishing for his livelihood. It may not mean so much to the man who goes out with a rod and line. He may catch an odd salmon and sell it. If he does not, he does not go hungry. The netman does.

With regard to the Boyne, the Parliamentary Secretary is aware that there is a big harbour project commencing there. The Drogheda Harbour Commissioners propose to move the harbour from Drogheda to the very mouth of the Boyne at Mornington. This may have an effect on the salmon fishing. It depends entirely on how it is carried out. Every effort should be made to ensure that the least possible damage will be done. In addition to this, arterial drainage of the Boyne is in progress and this is bound to affect salmon fishing. The Parliamentary Secretary may say that the Drogheda Board of Conservators are looking after the fishing interests there. While some people would agree with him I would not. I know they are doing a job but it is generally recognised that since their main interest is angling their sympathy for the net fishermen may not be as great as some people would imagine it should be.

With regard to re-stocking, we had lectures from some Deputies on whether or not stocks are going down. I do not think many people who have spoken here understand that when re-stocking is carried out by boards of conservators or by fishing clubs, they put into the river literally millions of ova or eggs and if even a fraction of those are hatched out and go down to the sea and if the stock of salmon in that river does not increase as a result then there is something more than the infamous salmon disease, to which Deputy Lenehan referred, affecting the fishing. I would suggest there is a lot in the suggestion that people who catch the salmon on the way to the river are scooping the result of a lot of the re-stocking which is carried out and there is very little we can do about it. That is their means of livelihood and if they take a big proportion of the salmon that would normally find their way back up the river then it cannot be helped.

When rivers like the Boyne are drained there is a lot of interference with the spawning beds. I know the Board of Works are attempting, by doing various sections and leaving some tributaries completely undisturbed, to allow the salmon to use these tributaries. This may or may not be effective. Most people know that a salmon usually goes right back to the same spawning bed and if it is torn up it does not as a rule go into one nearby but probably returns to sea. I am sure that for a number of years there will be quite a lean time for the fishermen in Mornington following the cleaning, deepening and widening of the Boyne. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to extend the season. At least let them get what they can for a longer period because it does appear that they will not be able to live on what they will get from February to August.

When the salmon fishing season is over those people live on mussel fishing. I might say here that the Boyne mussels are perhaps the best mussels not only in this country but in this part of Europe. However, it also is the case that for some hundreds of years past sewage from the town of Drogheda has been poured into the Boyne with the result that the shellfish is contaminated. However, an extraordinary feature in this regard is that, although the people of the area eat the shellfish, they do not appear to suffer any ill effects from it.

They have become innoculated.

They are a tough people.

I suppose they are immune to it from the time they are born. If the fish were to be eaten raw by an outsider, such person would probably suffer serious effects, whereas the processed fish is safe for human consumption. People in this area pick the mussels and sell them either for processing elsewhere in the country or abroad, or else they are sold for bait. On every occasion on which I have spoken here on fisheries I have asked why a processing plant or a purification tank cannot be given to those people. If it were the case that only a couple of hundred bags of mussels were concerned, I could understand why this could not be done; but every year, even at the low price paid for contaminated fish, there is picked and sold thousands of pounds worth of fish in the area. Approximately 40 families live by mussel fishing in the area. Sometimes it is easy to get a market, but at other times it is not easy. Last year, as on a previous occasion, I found it necessary to go to the present Minister's predecessor to ask for assistance in finding markets for the mussels. I am glad to say that the Department did everything possible to find such markets.

At present the widening of the Boyne and the changing of the harbour by the Drogheda board is having an effect on the river bed. At one time the fishermen were satisfied that their livelihood would be taken away completely. Some experts from the Department went down to the area and reported on their findings. It was suggested that the loss to the mussel-men, as they are called, would not be so great because the mussels would live even in deep water. Mussels are raised in different ways in different parts of the world. The Mornington men raise them by means of a rake. The snag here in relation to the report was the proposal to deepen the waters to a depth of 20 feet. Since these people could not use a 20 or 24 foot rake to reach this depth, the suggestion that there would be no change in their livelihood was a little ridiculous. I suggested that the Department might perhaps introduce skin diving there but it was pointed out to me that since mussel fishing was done during winter that might not be the answer either. Maybe if there were pearls to be found in the mussels, somebody might be interested.

These people maintain that they are not being looked after properly by the Department. From time to time I have led deputations who were complaining about what Drogheda Harbour Commissioners had being doing to them and who, on other occasions, were seeking markets. I understand that Drogheda Harbour Commissioners have a job to do but, nevertheless, I should like to point out that for several hundred years fishermen from that village had the right to fish there for both salmon and mussels. This right should not be taken away without some form of consideration being given to them. Compensation was suggested but I would not consider that to be the answer. The peculiar position is that there might be as many as seven members of one family engaged in picking mussels. Some people might be engaged in a part-time capacity in this work. The system which they have operates well. All I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to do is to request a senior official to ensure that the interests of the fishermen are properly looked after.

On one occasion last year following discussions with Department officials, an official came to Mornington to meet the fishermen and I was there. Arrangements were being made for the setting up of a co-operative. A further meeting was arranged and this duly took place. However, after a third meeting had been arranged the official who was involved in making the arrangements telephoned me to say he was sorry he could not come because he had been told by a more senior official he was not to have anything to do with these arrangements.

I do not know whether the change of mind came about because it was I who was involved. I suggested that if that was the obstacle I would opt out of the discussions. Possibly the change was because of the widening of the river, the work on which was soon to commence. At any rate, no further interest has been taken in this project. It would be a great pity if the mussel industry were allowed to be damaged irreparably. After the floods in 1955 or 1956, the Department put up about £1,100 for the purpose of reseeding the mussels there. One of the interests who had been taking mussels from the fishermen put up a similar amount. Subsequently, another concern agreed to put up money for this purpose.

I wish to make it clear that the crop of mussels in the Boyne at the present time is the best that has been there for many years but there are portions of the river where the mussels grew well a few years ago but where they are no longer growing because Drogheda Harbour Commissioners cleared away the beds. Arrangements were made for the beds to be re-seeded by bringing the dredger back up the river and putting them in the place where they had been previously. However, this was not done. The tops had been removed from the sand banks and anybody will know what happens if a scoop of mussels are thrown into a fairly fast flowing river. They will not go to the bottom. Rather, they will go out some distance and be lost completely.

I am spending some time on this matter because of the importance of the industry. I know the efforts that have been made by the Department to have the industry established elsewhere. But when one finds a place where an industry is already established and where there are people who know the business, these people should get whatever consideration can be given.

At one period one of the men there thought he would be able to make a success of processing the mussels himself. After he had started to do so he received a number of orders but there was a snag. The permit he got for processing the mussels was issued subject to the mussels being sold abroad. He could have got many orders in Drogheda for canned mussels, and the temptation to fill these orders was very great, but since the permit would only enable him to process for export he was forced to give up the idea. This is a matter which the Parliamentary Secretary might have investigated by somebody.

A number of Departmental officials have been down there for some time but some of the people cannot see the wood for the trees. A fresh approach to this is needed by somebody who would go down there and take an unbiased look at the whole thing. Even though the work done by some of those people is excellent and some of the reports which I have been supplied with show exactly what mussels are there and where they can be found, it is not enough to prove they are there and then go back to Dublin and say: "Did we not do a good job?' That is not the answer to the matter. It should be dealt with in another way.

The Parliamentary Secretary referred to two fishmeal factories and mentioned that one of them was at Mornington but, having said that, like the moving finger, he moved off. He did not go into any detail as to exactly what was the position there. That fishmeal factory on the mouth of the Boyne does not appear to be getting the supply of fish which it requires for full-time operation. If it were in Bangor Erris it would be supplied with all the fish it required but for some reason the factory at Mornington is not being supplied with the fish. I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary how much research was done before the factory was sited in a place where there does not appear to be a sufficient supply of fish. I know certain fishermen would kick up a row and say: "We are doing well; the fishmeal factory is doing a very good job." I am not faulting the factory but I deplore the fact that for some extraordinary reason the factory does not appear to be able to get enough fish to keep it going full time.

When Meath County Council gave permission for the factory to be built there it was then an amenity area and they had to break all the known regulations in order to give permission to build the factory there. The factory having been built with the OK of the county council members, certain stringent conditions were laid down, one of them being that fish should not be carried to the factory in an open lorry. There have been suggestions that this regulation is not being carried out and that open lorries go at a very fast pace towards the factory, go round a corner and dump fish on the side of the road. I do not know if that is true but the complaints have been made to me. If it is true, it should not be allowed. People on the far side of the river in County Louth have been consistently complaining about the bad smell. Some of them have had to leave their game of golf and the local pub because of the smell of fish. I live within 2½ miles of the factory but I am fortunate because I have never found the smell of fish affecting the area in which I live. I have met people who say that at times the smell can be very unpleasant. If the regulations are laid down the Parliamentary Secretary's Department should ensure that they are carried out. Perhaps when he is replying to the debate he will let us know the value of fish received at that factory and the value of fishmeal which has gone out. I have been adding up the amount of fish caught and it appears as if the sand eels and sprats he referred to as being the fish which is to go there, must be in a relatively small quantity because they do not seem to make up a lot of money. I would like the Parliamentary Secretary, if he has got the information, to let me have it.

The Parliamentary Secretary also referred to the importation of fish. He made this rather extraordinary statement:

The imports of fishery products in 1969 were valued at £1,863,000 but tinned salmon, sardines, et cetera accounted for £863,000 of the total value.

Apparently it is felt that since a little over half of the total imports, £863,000, is tinned salmon it does not matter so much. Would the Parliamentary Secretary tell me what is the position about tinning salmon here because there is a large supply of salmon? Surely it should be possible for the home market to supply tinned salmon?

Reference has been made to the cooking of fish and the price of fish. Deputy Kavanagh spoke about this last week. With regard to the supply of fish in hotels, when one asks if the salmon is fresh, one is told that it is. Some of the people who say that consider that fresh out of the fridge is fresh. I am told it is very difficult even in the height of the season to get fresh salmon. Those of us who have eaten very fresh salmon get put off by something which has been in the deep freeze for a very long time.

Salmon, like trout, cannot be badly cooked; it is eatable no matter what way it is cooked if it is fresh. Other types of fish served in hotels and restaurants in this country often put people completely off eating fish. I cannot understand why so-called first-class hotels do not understand that there are many ways of cooking fish besides frying or grilling. If you go to any other country you will find that fish is supplied in so many different ways that sometimes it is difficult even to realise that it is fish you are eating; it is eatable; and the customer will demand the same dish again and again.

I have gone to hotels in this country where the price of fish was high and the fish was high also. This is not good enough. It is bad enough to get stale fish but to have to pay a fancy price for it is not good enough. It should be easy enough to get a supply of fresh fish but it still appears to be very difficult for some people to get it. I do not agree with Deputy Lenehan when he criticised the fish cooking competitions. He was most unfair to the girls who take part in these competitions. Every county has its own competition. This is a great thing because many of those people never saw fish until somebody taught them to cook it. They now know how to cook it. I decry somebody coming into this House, and I am quite sure getting a considerable amount of adverse publicity for it, saying something like this. This is one of the good things about those competitions which should not be run down. It is only fair to say that Deputy Lenehan knows a lot about sea fishing. Somebody said to me a long time ago when I criticised something I saw: "Do not criticise. There is a use for everything." Deputy Lenehan is good at sea fishing.

The question of the ownership of inland fisheries has been mentioned here and this brings up a couple of problems to which I would like to refer. At the present time the only good thing about the system of ownership that I know is that the people who own the fish try to preserve the waters and in many cases restock them.

Poaching is carried out. It is not exactly a crime; it is a game some people love to be involved in because it is against the law. They get a thrill out of it, and I am sure there are many Members of the House who from time to time have enjoyed a poached trout or salmon. I would suggest, without in any way encouraging that sort of thing, that pollution is a far greater killer of fish than the poacher, but I do not think anybody even this year is doing very much to try to end the pollution of our rivers. The amount of damage is realised only when somebody points out hundreds of dead trout or salmon killed because somebody was careless with either an effluent from a factory or more often the stupid use of some type of weed killer or farm effluent which has not been channelled away properly. It is amazing all the big fish that come to the surface of a river when something like that comes in.

It is an awful thing to find that the farmer who is so proud of his right to own his land in Ireland very often is not allowed to fish off his own land. Some of us will say that the landlord who held on to the fishing rights, and in some cases the game rights, although they do not arise here, when the land was being taken over by the Land Commission, and continues to use them is committing a terrible crime. I would call it just as much a crime if somebody—and the Land Commission is one of them—holds on to these rights and sets them out to somebody else who will also be prepared to say the farmer is not entitled to fish off his own land. That is entirely wrong. I believe eventually this country will have to reach the stage, no matter what Government are in power, where the fishing rights will be retained on a public ownership basis.

I do not mean we should be prepared, as some people suggest, to walk into somebody's house or castle and as a gesture put up a flag over the front door and say: "We own the fishing rights." What that has to do with it I do not know, but if compensation has to be fixed, then compensation should be fixed, so that eventually the people will in a reasonable way be entitled to use the inland waterways for recreational purposes.

There are certain gentlemen who have been making quite a lot of money out of the fishing rights. They are usually people who do not need money. Some of them have a lovely arrangement whereby the man or woman who wants a day's fishing pays—unless they are film stars, in which case they do not pay anything—five, six or seven guineas per day. They are allowed to catch as many fish as they are able to but they are allowed to hold on to only one; the rest must be handed back to the owner of the right. These people have been doing this for a long time and their fathers and grandfathers before them and they consider they have a divine right to do it. I believe this right should cease. While the antecedents of some of these people may have been foreigners, British people who came in here and got control of the land they hold by conquest, they themselves through the fact that they are living here for so long and intermarried with the Irish, have become, in the words of the cliché, more Irish than we are. Some of them are; but many of them still preserve a phoney English accent and like to give the impression they belong to a different race and that we are the type of serfs with which their greatgrand-fathers dealt 100 years ago.

The time is coming when something will have to be done to settle this problem. It should not be left to either illegal organisations or other outside groups who can claim that it is as a result of pressure they are exerting that these changes are brought about. This is a matter for which the Fisheries Branch should have responsibility and for which they should show they have responsibility. I know you cannot snap your fingers and produce money to pay off these gentlemen, but if it has to be done the best way to do it is to estimate what it would cost and, if necessary, pay it by degrees. If that was attempted it might remove one cause of dissension, and we shall still have enough left even if that is gone.

I mentioned earlier that there is re-stocking of lakes and particularly rivers, and but for this I am sure the fishing stocks would have gone completely. Again, some of the people I have been criticising have, to be fair to them, participated in and, in many cases, spearheaded this restocking. It is not enough for the State or whoever else takes over to say: "There is your river. You will have to carry on." Somebody must do the work, and therefore the responsibilities will fall back on the State or some State body.

In addition to this, the various boards of conservators have a number of people they call fishery protective staff. These men mainly prevent poaching and do a good job. For a number of years the rate of pay they were getting was very small and during the past two years an effort has been made to improve their pay. Somebody said some years back that since they were from the country the proper thing to do was to pay them the same rate as farm workers. The reason of course was that the farm worker was the worst paid man they could think of and so he was the right example to take. However, when they found there was a fairly hefty overtime rate for Saturday afternoon, Saturday night and Sunday they did not want to pay the overtime. They have never paid it even though the fishery protection staff are required to work on these days. Sometimes these workers come across an awkward person who will not be very interested in what he might get in the river, who would rather have a row than his breakfast and so will hit the water protection man with something, and some of these men have been grievously injured. Despite this the rates of pay are mostly very low.

The trade union I represent has some of these people and another trade union has more of them. Various claims have been made for them, whether or not they should have the same rate as gardaí for doing the same job and doing a more dangerous job in some cases. Others say they should be paid a reasonable rate; I do not know what a reasonable rate is.

One board in particular agreed in July last that until some kind of general wage rate had been agreed they would pay £1 a week to their staff; then they raised it to 30s. They sent this proposal for sanction to the Parliamentary Secretary's office but it was never sanctioned. Subsequently, when the agreement for £2 10s from April and 30s or 34s from January was passed the board sent it for sanction by the Department but it was never passed. It has not been passed since because they now say the Prices and Incomes Bill which, if Deputy Colley gets away with it, is only dated back to 18th October, is preventing them from sanctioning something which was agreed upon last July. I mention this in passing because this is the sort of stupid approach which an intelligent man like the Parliamentary Secretary should not allow to happen under his nose. If he does not know that it has happened I would advise him to have a look at it.

I had a question down today because I had a case about it in the Labour Court. An official, a very decent and efficient man from the Parliamentary Secretary's Department, came as adviser to the two sides, the Fisheries Board and me. I did not ask for him, and certainly he gave me no advice except that he did not want to pay. Eventually he brought the representative from the Fisheries Board outside because he said he was giving away too much, or words to that effect. We should treat these people as ordinary, intelligent workers and they should be paid a rate for the job. I suggest the Parliamentary Secretary take a look at it because I believe the thing has gone a little too far. They are still working on the 11th round wage increase when all others have got their 12th round and are now looking for the 13th round.

A couple of years ago when the Fisheries Consolidation Bill, which Deputy Murphy was talking about, was introduced it was suggested that a second Bill should be brought in to do certain things, one of them being to introduce a pension scheme. The Bill was brought into the House one day and it had a pension scheme for inspectors only. The others were not mentioned; they did not exist. The Bill has gone out again and a gentleman in the Labour Court told me it will be brought up for redrafting. I do not know but maybe the Parliamentary Secretary will say if it is proposed to bring it in again and, if it is, is it proposed to cover ordinary mortals? I think it is wrong to cover one section and leave out the people who really need protection.

The EEC has been mentioned and a member of the Labour Party will deal exclusively with it. When one begins to talk about the EEC the first thing that comes up is: what kind of defence are we putting up now against fishing by foreigners? What kind of boats are we putting out to compete? I know An Bord lascaigh Mhara have been helping out considerably with the supply of boats. I know too that some of the people are not very happy with the boats they have got. Will the Parliamentary Secretary tell me who took the policy decision that the boats which these people are getting were not to be made in Irish boatyards? It turns out that because of soft wood or something else, which is unsuitable for sea water, these boats now require complete refitting. Everyone else has asked that question so I am skipping it.

The Deputy knows the answer. The fishermen themselves decided.

I was just going to say I do not think it is good enough for the Parliamentary Secretary to say that the fishermen decided on this.

It was their right to decide.

It is not their right.

Because if anybody else in this country wants to do something and is getting a grant from the Government he does it the way the Government say it will be done.

There is no compulsion on them to buy an Irish product.

That is where the mistake occurred because with 65,000 people unemployed and with boatyards almost empty, is there any justification for buying a foreign boat, particularly as it turns out to be a dud? It is the easiest thing in the world to say, "We allow them to have a free choice." If a man building a house wants a little bit of French or Italian raw material in order to make his house look a little better, the Department do not give him his grant. The Parliamentary Secretary knows. that.

The Deputy said that the boatyards are almost empty. They are full of orders for the next 12 months.

What boatyards?

BIM boatyards.

They were not bought in a BIM boatyard. There are private boatyards. Does the Parliamentary Secretary know what Arklow is doing? They are repairing boats, because they cannot get the orders which BIM gave to a foreign country. I realise it is very easy for me to talk and I know I am making suggestions without knowing the full facts but, to my mind, there is absolutely no excuse for the fact that boats were bought abroad when they could be produced at home. When the boats turn out to be duds, BIM and the Government raise their hands and say: "The fault was not ours; you got what you asked for."

Is the Deputy advocating that it should be compulsory for fishermen to buy their boats in Ireland in order to qualify for grants?

I am advocating that it should be compulsory, as far as possible, for fishermen to buy Irish boats. There may be engines and some other parts which have to be bought abroad, but it is a scandal, particularly in view of the fact that boats can be produced here, that they are not produced. I am quite sure the Parliamentary Secretary has seen fishermen who require a boat with tools which are long out-of-date. The Parliamentary Secretary knows when it is finished the job will be a good one and the boat will be on the water for a long time.

In this case big boats, which would have brought a great deal of employment into boatyards in this country, were bought abroad and they turned out to be duds. It is not because they turned out to be duds that I am blaming the Parliamentary Secretary. I am blaming whoever made the decision that the boats should be bought anywhere other than here. If, as the Parliamentary Secretary has said, the BIM boatyards are full, then we need more boatyards.

Deputy J. Lenehan very correctly said that for an island race we do not know very much about fishing and it is an extraordinary thing that we do not. In regard to the one thing in respect of which we could do well, we do not appear to be doing well. I agree also with Deputy J. Lenehan that when an industry is being established, an industry which can be supplied from local raw materials should be encouraged. There may be dozens of answers to what I have said. The Parliamentary Secretary's head is probably buzzing with all the answers he could give to shoot me down, but I am giving him the story as I see it. Every effort should be made to ensure that in future Irish-made boats are used.

I should like to refer now to the question of the training of fishermen. Again, let me come back to Mornington to point out that the situation there is that practically every boy from the age of about 16 years goes to sea. It is an extraordinary thing; without any fuss, when he reaches a certain age, he goes to sea and he travels all round the world for five, six or ten years. Some stay on, but most come back and start fishing on the Boyne. Is it not even more extraordinary that no effort ever seems to have been made to try to recruit these for an Irish fishing fleet? Why has no one ever gone along and talked to them and told them what the advantages would be if they were trained to do the job properly, particularly now with the fishmeal factory there in which extra fish is needed? Is it not extraordinary that BIM, for instance, do not see their way to sending someone along to talk to these young men and advise them to acquire boats of their own so that they can assist in supplying fish to the local factory? It does not seem to have struck anyone that this is the right thing to do. These young men go to sea anyway. This is their way of life as it was the way of life of their fathers and grandfathers before them. I suggest that there would be very fruitful results if someone would go along and encourage these people to engage in an industry which is on their own doorstep.

I congratulate the Parliamentary Secretary on the introduction of his first Estimate. We do not pay nearly enough attention to our fishing industry. I agree with Deputy O'Sullivan's suggestion that we need a special Ministry to deal with fisheries. The Parliamentary Secretary has a very challenging job but I know he will cope with it.

It is strange that an island people like us are not great exporters of fish or great eaters of fish. Our total exports in 1969 amounted to something like £3½ million. This is certainly an improvement on the early sixties when our exports were approximately £1½ million, but it is far short of what it should be. I see no reason at all why our total exports should not be in the region of £70 million or £80 million per year if we paid proper attention to the industry. I suppose it is easy for me to say that; by tradition, we are not a great fish exporting nation.

It is sad to see how few fish we eat per capita. I note that domestic fish consumption has risen from 7.5 lbs in 1963 to 10.7 lbs per capita in 1969. As Deputy J. Lenehan said, many people in inland areas never get fresh fish at all. I know there are promotional campaigns costing approximately £30,000 per annum. Nevertheless, it is very difficult to get fish in hotels, for instance, be the hotels big or small. One is told that there is no fish available at the moment. That should not happen. We must overcome these difficulties. On the occasions on which one actually gets fish the cost is far in excess of that which the fisherman who caught the fish received. That shows there is something radically wrong with our system of marketing. Fish is ferried to and fro across the country, between processing and everything else, and this adds to its cost. By the time it reaches the table its price is almost prohibitive. To give one small example of the difficulty of procuring fish, if one asks for a sandwich one is never offered a fish sandwich.

The Minister will have to step up his publicity campaign through the medium of television, radio and so on. Something on the lines of the bacon promotional campaign-Bring Home the Bacon-might pay dividends. Friday is out as a special fish day. I do not think it ever was any advantage to the industry, but some day should be a fish day.

There is the national fish cookery competition. Apart from training young girls in the preparing of fish it is a good advertisement. In the last eight years approximately 130,000 girls went in for this cookery competition. This may seem a big figure but, if one breaks it down, it is not that big at all. There is a good deal of leeway to be made up. More advertising could be done through the vocational schools.

Deputy Tully suggested that when grants and loans are given under the marine credit plan for the purchase of new vessels and gear it should be a condition precedent that these should be made in this country. This is something the Parliamentary Secretary could examine. He has stated that the various yards are full for the next 12 months but, if he looks around the coast, he will find yards that could be utilised. Such a development would give a good deal of employment. In Cork harbour there are facilities which would enable the biggest fishing vessel required to be constructed. It is a shame that an island people like us should have to go abroad for boats and gear. Perhaps there was no other choice, but it is something to be deplored. We could easily produce these things ourselves. Our boat builders are first-class. That has been proved over the last decade. If they get the chance they will produce the goods better than their counterparts elsewhere.

Reference was made to fishmeal factories. There is one in Killybegs and one in Momington. Along the big stretch of coast from the mouth of the Shannon to the mouth of the Blackwater we have as yet no fishmeal factory. I believe there is one in the pipeline. It has been there for some time now. We are all looking forward to the day when it will become a reality. It will be very welcome if it is located where it is rumoured it will be located. It will provide much needed employment in that area.

The Parliamentary Secretary referred to the Commission which has been established to report on inland fisheries. The terms of reference of the Commission are wide in scope in order to enable it to investigate all aspects of inland fisheries. I am more acquainted with inland fisheries than with fishing around the coast and I should like to raise a few points in this regard.

We are all aware that pollution is causing grave damage to the fishing stocks in our rivers. When it is discovered that many salmon and trout have died as a result of pollution there is a tremendous outcry and the fact gets much publicity in the newspapers. I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that he should ask the Commission to take special note of what happens in the spawning grounds. During November there is much flooding in the rivers, the trout and salmon leave the large rivers and go up the tributaries to spawn. Very often they travel upstream to a point where the river is only three or four feet wide. They lay their eggs there, the young fish are hatched and the salmon and trout then return to the larger rivers.

However, the greatest danger is the pollution that occurs in the very small rivers. Much of the effluent from small towns and villages, as well as from farmlands, enters into the small streams and I can assure the Parliamentary Secretary that more damage is thereby done than by pollution of the larger rivers. The Commission should investigate the damage that is being caused to the young fish in this way. I do not know the solution to the problem. I know that many farmers have gone to considerable expense to construct pig-fattening plants and one cannot expect them to spend much more money in an effort to stop effluent entering into streams. This leads to the conclusion that we must have more salmon and trout hatcheries; we must ensure that the young trout are kept in the hatcheries until they are released into the larger rivers.

I hope the Commission will investigate conditions in my constituency. The River Lee was once noted for salmon and trout fishing until the advent of the ESB generating station. These stations are essential for the advancement of the nation but I would be grateful if the Commission would investigate and see if something could be done to improve matters. They might also consider if something could be done to develop two beautiful lakes in the Lee valley-one is near Inniscarra and the other at Carrigadrochid. These lakes have considerable potential and they should be developed. The Commission would do a worthwhile job if, by their efforts, they could ensure that these areas were developed.

In the Minister's statement mention was made of fish disease. This has been occurring for some years past and it has been prevalent in the Blackwater, in the Lee and the Bandon and in rivers in County Kerry. This year the reports regarding the incidence of UDN in the Blackwater are not very favourable but I do not think very much can be done until the disease has run its course. The Parliamentary Secretary stated that a survey was initiated by his Department in June, 1966, and completed in 1969. The survey involved investigation into the effects of various sources of pollution in the rivers Blackwater and Martin in County Cork. The main concern was with the change in the quality of the water caused by discharge from industrial undertakings based on milk, beet, sugar and food processing and from domestic sewers. The conclusion was reached that the pollution problem was not too grave and that if there was a good flow of water there would not be any ill effects on the fishing stocks.

Last year there was an abnormally low level of water and large quantities of fish were killed on the Blackwater. However, it must be stated that most of the industrial firms located on the banks of the Blackwater have done their best to filter the effluent before it enters the river. The Department should give this matter special attention because there are many industrial firms throughout the country who do not make sufficient efforts to minimise the dangers of discharging effluent into rivers. The factories near the Blackwater have spent much money in efforts to filter the effluent before it enters the river and their good example should be followed by other undertakings.

We hear much about inland fishing but it is my belief that we should develop more centres for coarse fishing. This kind of fishing is very popular with cross-Channel anglers and not long ago a competition was conducted by coarse fishing associations in England. The final was held on the River Blackwater near Fermoy and this brought many tourists to the area. We should advertise abroad much more extensively about our coarse fishing and we should make an effort to have certain parts of our rivers stocked completely with coarse fish. Any expenditure in this direction will be more than repaid by the increased numbers of anglers who come to this country. There is a great potential in these centres for development of the tourist industry. The person who comes for the coarse fishing on the Blackwater is usually a good fisherman and a good spender. That is what this country wants.

The Parliamentary Secretary mentioned our proposed membership of the EEC. Many people dread the consequences of going into the EEC. We must prepare ourselves for entry. There is much to be done to prepare our fishermen. We will be in competition with countries like Iceland and Norway who have a fishing tradition and who export each year nine or ten times more fish than we do. These countries employ advanced fishing techniques. We are only building up our fishing fleets. Our views must be heard at the bargaining table. We must protect our coastal waters and ensure that they are not overfished. The Parliamentary Secretary and his officials must see that our fishing grounds are properly safeguarded. We are up against keen competition from the countries I have mentioned.

We often think of the total money derived from fishing as coming from the fish which is caught for consumption at home. We must look more carefully on fishing from the sporting angle. There is good shark fishing for the visitors. Many commentators have remarked on the excellence of our shark fishing. We should advertise this in foreign papers. It is good to see people coming here for holidays. They can go shark fishing and come back pleased with the results. How many of our own people know of these facilities? We must make this type of fishing popular with our rural population. I do not know of any organisation which runs excursions for a shark fishing expedition. People enjoy this sport and we should popularise it at home and abroad.

Most of the points I have mentioned here have already been raised by other speakers. The Inland Fisheries Commission should look at every aspect of fish life. Times are changing and what was good enough 20 years ago no longer applies. Nowadays chemicals are used on the crops and they seep into the rivers. Effluents seep from factories and farmyards into the rivers. We must be careful to ensure that the rivers will not be completely devoid of fish in future years, because they could then offer no pleasure for the tourist or the fisherman at home.

The Parliamentary Secretary should clarify another point for us. Summons have been served on people who have been caught fishing in the River Feale without licences. One man had his rod taken. He was not brought to court because it was not considered to be a serious offence. This man had gone to a person for a licence on his way to the river to fish. That person had told him that there was no licence available that day. In all good faith and having offered his money and being told that a licence was not available that day he went fishing and his rod was confiscated after a short time. Although he was not brought to court I think that he should get his rod back immediately. I have already got in touch with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries about this matter.

Was his rod taken from him? Who took it?

The bailiff or the conservator.

Mr. Tally

Was he employed by the local landlord?

That is the question. The man offered the money to pay for the licence that day but the person in charge was not able to give him the licence.

The Parliamentary Secretary mentioned the nationalisation of the rivers. We have a campaign to nationalise the rivers for the people of the country. I know some people who would not let anyone touch their own private property. No one should have the right to own a fish pass across any river and to say that only so many trout can go up that river in 1971. There should be a free run of fish to all parts of the river.

They give the king's gap.

Many farmers who own land cannot fish from their own banks. It will be a long time before any change comes. However, Deputy Tully suggested that some money should be provided to compensate those who own fishing rights. We have all seen farms sold on the banks of rivers where the new owner did not get the fishing rights. The fishing rights might cost him thousands of pounds. Such a man probably knew the day he bought the land that he was not getting the fishing rights. The person who owns the fishing rights is entitled to compensation. There are many people who take a chance, but if they owned the rights they might not let anyone put a foot on the land.

In recent years I have wondered about the fishing stretches on our rivers which have been sold to foreign enterprises. So far as I know these stretches are controlled by the Land Commission. I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to deal with this matter when replying. There has been a great deal of agitation. If we want to get fishing stretches back we will have to compensate the people who really own them.

I wish the Parliamentary Secretary every success in his position. There is a challenging time ahead of him. When a man starts out in charge of Fisheries he should be left there a good few years so that he can report progress. There is a long way to go before we can be half-satisfied as regards our fisheries, whether they be coastal or inland. I have complete confidence in the Parliamentary Secretary and in his officials.

While concurring in the good wishes to the Parliamentary Secretary, I have some difficulty in agreeing with the sentiment Deputy Meaney expressed that he should be left there for a good many years-unless he crossed to the other side of the House. I propose to direct my attention exclusively to the question of EEC fisheries policy. This is a matter of considerable importance. I am not satisfied that the full picture is known to the general public. I am not satisfied that the Government have shown an adequate appreciation of all the issues involved. Certainly, with respect to the Parliamentary Secretary and to his presentation, he dealt with this matter summarily and in what seems to me to be a cursory and unsatisfactory manner.

I want to say a general word about EEC policy in relation to the timing of its announcement and enactment. The attitude of the EEC in this matter appears to be that they are entitled to develop any new policies that they, the present Six, think fit and, having implemented them during the period of negotiations, it is up to the applicant countries to accept them and to leave the matter at that. I can understand why they believe this. It would certainly complicate their own internal affairs greatly if they had to take account of all the individual views of applicant countries on every matter concerning the present Six, when it remains possible that these negotiations might not succeed. In cases like fisheries policy, one finds that the Community has fallen behind its timetable and is only now dealing with matters it should have dealt with, by its own timetable, years ago. One can appreciate a feeling, on their part, that because they have fallen behind in their timetable, they should not have to consult in great detail with the applicant countries on fisheries policy just because they happen to be reaching a point of decision at a time when negotiations are proceeding.

There are certain cases in which the relative magnitude of the interests of the applicant countries and of the member countries are such that this principle, if one can so dignify it, cannot really be sustained in all logic and commonsense. The attitude of the Community on this has been set out on various occasions. I think their reply to the Norwegian position, at discussions about 22nd September last, helps to illustrate this. As I understand it, on that occasion, the Community representatives expressed the view that the common fisheries policy—such as it would be adopted by the Community in the following months—would be part of the decisions of all "kinds"— a term in quotation marks because it is a technical reference—reached since the treaties came into force and the applicant countries have to accept them.

The Community view was that it was not possible to go beyond recognising that the question of fisheries posed special problems for applicant countries, in particular Norway. The delegation went on to say that there should be confidence in reciprocal understanding and, in the political sense, of the Council, which would never claim to impose unacceptable provisions on a member of the future Community; at the same time, for any Community regulations to be entirely questioned, and re-negotiated after the enlargement would constitute too dangerous a precedent to be accepted. That is one statement of the Community position.

I think that another reference which is contained in the Community's own English language bulletin-European Community. November, 1970-sets out the Community position as follows :

The Community standpoint is that if Norway were to take part in the current talks and the details of the policy this would set an unacceptable precedent.

Norway is mentioned specifically because of their interest in fisheries. The concern for precedent is the kind of thing we get thrown at us in this House by the Government. It struck me, in reading through the relative documents to do with these negotiations on fisheries, that the applicant countries and the present Six are in much the same position as an Opposition vis-à-vis a Government. The same kinds of attitudes are shown by the Government side as are shown by the Six and the same kinds of arguments are used about not creating precedents. Therefore, one feels at home in tracing the line of argument between the two sides because of the resemblance to the kinds of argument in this House.

That is the Community attitude. They have given the Community view and, having said that, one can see why. It has to be said that, in this instance, this point of view is not acceptable : it does not wash. It needs to be said and some of the applicant countries have said it-not, as far as one can judge, our Government, which has not expressed any strong views on this subject, but I shall come to that in detail later. However, other Governments have expressed views, notably the Norwegian and British Governments.

The Norwegian Government, in the discussions of 22nd September last, made a number of important points They consider that the common policy for fisheries which is to be decided upon by the Six and which is valid for the present Community cannot be valid for the enlarged Community since the situation as regards fisheries will be radically transformed by the enlargement. It is thought that a declaration of goodwill was not sufficient in this particular sector in which Norway alone represents more than all the Six together from the point of view of production. How could it be claimed, the Norwegians asked, that the common policy of the enlarged Community should be defined without the participation of the main producer? The Norwegians produced some interesting figures to back up their statement.

Last year, the total fish catch of the Six was about 1.7 million tons while that of the four applicant countries was 4.8 million tons. So, in fact, if the fisheries policy of the enlarged Community is to be determined, as the Community now claim, by the present members, it is certainly a case of the tail wagging the dog. Something like only 27 per cent of the output of the enlarged Community is represented by the Six, yet those responsible for the 27 per cent are claiming the right to determine substantially the fisheries policy for the whole of the enlarged Community.

It is not merely a question of the relative size of output of the applicant countries and of the Six. There is the fact that the whole balance of supply and demand would be altered as a result of membership by Norway, Britain, Denmark and ourselves. In the existing Community there is an annual deficit of about 500,000 tons. They are short of fish. They are a fish importing economic unit. The four applicant countries have a surplus of 700,000 tons of fish. Therefore, the enlarged Community will be one in which there will be a surplus of 200,000 tons of fish as against a deficit of 500,000 tons. It is scarcely probable that the kind of market policy adopted, and mechanisms for maintaining the market, by a Community with a large deficit of fish would be likely to prove appropriate to a Community in which there will be a fish surplus. The Norwegian catch alone is larger than that of all the Six put together. On that account, the Norwegians said it was totally unrealistic to establish a fishing policy based on a deficit situation and then to apply the same policy to an enlarged Community in which there was a surplus. I think it was fairly argued. Indeed, similar views were put forward by the British delegation in the course of their discussions. A strong case was made that it was quite improper and inappropriate for the Community to proceed to settle their own internal fisheries policy and to propose to impose this then on the enlarged Community.

What is our position in this matter? It does not stand up very well to inspection in the light of the strong attitudes taken up by the British and Norwegian Governments. Our Government did not show much alertness in this matter or give any clear indication that they understand the problems likely to arise. As late as April this year in a White Paper produced by the Government the section on fisheries consists of two-thirds of a page, giving a fair indication, I think, of the importance the Government attach to fishing. In this White Paper we were told that membership of an enlarged Community should be advantageous for the fishing industry inasmuch as trade with EEC, which is Ireland's biggest customer for fish, would be on more favourable terms and should be capable of considerable expansion if production could be increased. It was, however, admitted that we would lose our preference, the preference at present enjoyed in the British market, but it was asserted that the advantages of improved access to the EEC market should more than offset this.

It may be noted that in these vague generalities which take up two-thirds of the page there are no practical references to the facts. We are told that there will be more favourable terms-how much more favourable? One can contrast what is said about fisheries in this vague way with the much more concrete information given in this document concerning agriculture. I had occasion to remark previously that the agricultural section of this document, even if one leaves out of account the enlarged and extended agricultural White Paper produced separately, is in fact quite good, well-produced and gives hard, concrete facts. Nothing of the kind is to be found in other sections such as I have mentioned before, the industry and commerce or the fisheries section. This is a document which is for general consumption. There is, of course, the more specialised document for the agricultural sector. I shall have more to say about that. This general document deals in a practical way with agriculture and gives farmers a pretty good indication of what relative prices will be—a useful document as far as agriculture is concerned— but on the fisheries side we are only told that there will be more favourable terms for fisheries.

What about the question of access to our fisheries which is now causing such concern? What does the White Paper say about this? It says:

In addition, some difficulties could arise from any decision which might be adopted by the Community, within the framework of the proposed common policy for fisheries in regard to access to fishing grounds within the exclusive fishery limits of the member States.

It added :

The elimination of quantitative restrictions on imports could lead to greater imports of demersal fish, whiting, cod, plaice et cetera, and possibly to a slight reduction in the prices of the varieties most sought after by Irish consumers.

It is difficult to reconcile the reference to more favourable terms for our fish and the reference to the fact that the fish we actually eat in this country and the fish which, therefore, our fishermen largely catch will be sold at lower prices. No attempt is made to reconcile these or to indicate how the net balance of more favourable terms is struck. I am not suggesting that the overall effect of EEC upon prices of fish in this country will not be favourable : I do not know. I seek information on this which I am certainly not getting from this White Paper.

However, that was the first reference made to access, that some difficulties could arise. That is all it said. Then we come to the Irish application on 30th June. What was said in this document about fisheries on 30th June, the very day, in fact, on which the council of the Community was sitting, having sat also on the previous day, to take a crucial general policy decision on fisheries? We were there in Brussels, if not in the same building at least in the building on the other side of the street, on the same day as the Council of Ministers had fixed for deciding this crucial policy that will have such effect on us. How much alertness did our delegation show to this issue? It must be said that they mentioned it in these terms :

It may also be necessary to raise particular points in regard to other agricultural matters including future arrangements for fisheries——

Fisheries get five words :

——which may be the subject of Community decisions before the accession negotiations are complete.

That is all that is said about fisheries. Whether the Government were unaware through negligence of what was going on or whether they did not think it mattered or were afraid to speak out as other countries have done, I do not know, but certainly it is a disappointing reference.

In the Parliamentary Secretary's speech he has something to say on this subject. He devotes to it two columns out of 28 or 7 per cent of his speech. Perhaps the format of the speech is traditional. Many Estimates speeches produced in this House are written by taking last year's speeches and substituting this year's figures and any other little matters that turn up. Perhaps that is how this speech was concocted in part and that the Parliamentary Secretary was handed it and told : "This is the annual speech. We have put in the new bits and changed the figures." Perhaps that is why EEC figures so little in it. The mere listing of places where harbours have been improved, the mere naming of them, takes up half as much space as the whole EEC fishery policy. I shall not detain the House with references to these places with euphonious names, which in any case I should also almost certainly mispronounce through lack of local knowledge, but it is quite striking to see column 2286 packed with beautiful Gaelic names, somewhat distorted in the English version, and you turn over the page and find in columns 2287 to 2289 that there are two columns, twice as much, devoted to the entire EEC fishery policy as in listing the names of the places where something is being done to improve the pier.

This is a clear reflection of the kind of priority the Government give. There are votes in naming piers in an Estimate debate. Every one of these piers has at least one family living within half a mile of it and a possible vote. The EEC fisheries policy is a thing best not spoken much about because there are no votes in that. There might be votes lost by talking about it. Therefore, let us dismiss it as briefly as possible.

What did the Parliamentary Secretary say in his brief reference to EEC policy? He spoke of "valuable price supports". This is equivalent to the reference in the White Paper to the price improvements but although there is reference to "valuable price supports" we are not told anything about what their effect is. There is no reference in his speech to the House to the fact that the price of the kind of fish we eat will be reduced, to the consumers' advantage, be it said, but not to the advantage of the fishermen. The House is not told that. There are "valuable price supports" which will have the effect of reducing the price to the fishermen of the kinds of fish sold in this country. They are the kind of price supports the consumers may like to see but scarcely ones the producers would like to see.

The Parliamentary Secretary went on to refer to producer associations in the Six. He said that producer associations will play a prominent part in the marketing arrangements which are envisaged. Member States will be empowered to give aid for the establishment of these associations and the cost of this will be recouped from Community funds. I shall have occasion later in my speech to deal with the role of producer associations in the marketing arrangements proposed in the fisheries policy of the Six but if the Parliamentary Secretary is going to refer to producer associations in the Six he might at least have referred to the fact that there is considerable unrest in the Community and in the parliamentary Community over the whole proposal that the maintenance of reasonable price levels for most kinds of fish for sardines and pilchards, I think, is to be left to producer associations and that they will have to carry part of the burden themselves; it will not all be financed from Community funds. The Parliament of the Six has, in fact, been so incensed by this that they have produced a supplementary report of which I trust the Parliamentary Secretary is aware, criticising the proposed policy adopted last June on these very grounds.

I should have thought that the producers' associations in Ireland, such as they are, would have been interested in this and that the Parliamentary Secretary might reasonably have drawn it to their attention in the same form. He does not make clear that the reason aid is being given to producers' associations is that some countries do not have them and where countries do not have them it is necessary for the Community to finance these support measures itself and that they are only going to give aid to producer associations to get them established so that the producers can "carry the can" themselves. What is given here as a great gift is, in fact, rather a trap set for producer associations, as far as I can understand the policy. Nobody would know that from reading the Parliamentary Secretary's words.

What about access? It must be said that since last April when the White Paper was produced and since last June when we sought membership of the Community, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries have woken up to the fact that there is a problem here. The previous references to having to raise particular points about future arrangements for agriculture and the reference to some difficulties that could arise—these slight but not by any means alarming references—are now replaced by something stronger because we are told now in this debate that the adoption of this policy of free access to fishing waters would cause severe hardship for the inshore fishermen who depend almost entirely on landings from our own exclusive fishery waters. The Parliamentary Secretary goes on to say that this matter has been strongly pursued in, I think, rather excessive terminology for what has happened so far, in the entry negotiations. He mentions the meetings at which it was taken up and he assures the House that every effort has been made and will continue to be made to safeguard the interests of Irish fishermen in an enlarged EEC.

There is enough in this speech, be it said, to indicate that the Department and the Parliamentary Secretary are aware of the fact that there is a serious problem, a fact of which there was no sign of any awareness in any previous contribution from the Department or their political spokesmen and, to that extent, I suppose, it is progress. When we take this in conjunction with the actual proposals the Irish delegation have made in Brussels—as I shall do later— and the actual approach to it, and when we contrast the Irish position with that of the Norwegians and the British, I do not think there is real evidence that the Government and the Department have taken this, even yet, with adequate seriousness.

I have mentioned producer associations and perhaps I should say a little more about that before moving on to deal with the whole question of market organisation and then structural reform and access because these are, I think, the four areas which concern us. They are ones in respect of which the House has heard very little. In fact, the only reference to producer associations is the misleading one about the assistance to establish them so that they can "carry the can" and relieve the Community of the process of subsidisation. That is not a very helpful reference to this matter. In relation to market organisation there is reference to valuable price supports, totally undefined. On structures, no reference whatever, and no reference whatever to the crucial point that on the question of structural reform the entire burden of the social measures involved in coping with any redundancy that may occur, will rest on the member State and not on the Community. There is no reference whatever to that. As I have said, on access at least the speech shows a knowledge that there is a problem. One could not put it much higher than that. There are four major issues in relation to the Irish fishing industry. They have been treated, one almost might say, with levity in this speech.

Let me say a little more about producer associations. First of all, it is evident that it is the producer associations who will be mainly responsible for the process of financial support for the fishing industry. In fact, the main principle of the proposals adopted on 30th June was that the producer organisations would be mainly responsible for the management of the market. Public intervention would be permitted provisionally only for certain products such as anchovies and sardines. I said pilchards and sardines a few minutes ago but I should have said anchovies and sardines-not of major interest to this country.

In countries such as France and Italy, in which producers organisations do not yet exist but are for the moment in embryonic form, during a three-year transition period the forming of such organisations should be encouraged so that they can take over the job of subsidisation and organising the subsidies and, indeed, as far as I can make out, carrying part of the cost. On this detail I am not entirely clear because the terminology in some of the EEC material when translated into English is by no means explicit, and I must admit to a sense of confusion and frustration in trying to understand some of it. Later on I will have to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to explain to me precisely what is meant by some of these provisions or at least to give an indication to the House as to their significance from the financial point of view to this country and to our fishermen.

The significance of the role being given to producer associations has been noted by the European Parliament. The Parliamentary Secretary is aware, I hope, of the supplementary report of the agricultural commission, document No. 67 of the 1970-71 session, where M. Kriedemann, the Rapporteur, sets out the difficulties the Parliament has, this Commission has, with the proposed fishery policy which was to be put forward shortly afterwards. This document is dated 16th June and it relates to the proposals which were put to the Council of Ministers and adopted in substance of 29th/30th June. It notes that the proposal of the Commission to make producers participate in the intervention costs of the market introduces into the common agricultural policy a new element which departs from the earlier conceptions of the Commission and the opinion expressed on this matter by the European Parliament. That is a clear statement. I am reading from the preamble to the Committee's opinion.

I will not detain the House at length by going through the details of the report itself but that statement is made there and the whole purport of the report is that the Commission has itself departed from its original proposals and from the whole outlook of Parliament on the matter. Going at times its own somewhat bureaucratic way and at times following a course of collaboration with the Council of Ministers which is not to the taste of the European Parliament, it has departed from the views of Parliament on this matter and has transferred the whole burden of organisation and obviously some part of this burden of paying for the support of the fish market to the producers themselves, although this was not originally intended and seems to have been done under pressure from the Council of Ministers.

It is worth commenting that these are not the only complaints that Parliament has in relation to the question of the fisheries policy and the way it has treated them. It is of some importance to note the degree to which at this stage the democratic arrangements of the Community are defective. As most people in this House will know, I am a strong supporter of Irish membership. I am also a strong supporter of reform of the institutions upon which I think there is a growing body of opinion being brought to bear now. As an illustration of the defective character of the present arrangements I will just refer to the fact that, among the other items mentioned in the preamble to this report, are the following : that the agricultural commission or committee of the Parliament note with regret that the Council has refused to consult Parliament on the modified proposal for regulation of the common market organisation in the sector of fisheries products despite the fact that this modified proposal has an importance at the level of principles. The House will forgive my somewhat clumsy translation.

Secondly, the Committee note, among other things, that the Commission has not takes up any of the modifications on amendments proposed by the Europen Parliament to the proposal of the Commission, modifications which without exception had as their object to ensure a common market for the principal products of the fishery sector and to ensure equal conditions of competition for the products of this sector. Again, the complaints of Parliament and its views were ignored.

These are ancillary to my case but I think it is worth noting the feeling of the European Parliament on this matter, the feeling that its views were not being taken into account. The particular importance of this to what I am trying to get across at the moment lies in the irritation expressed in this document at the fact that the producer organisations are being brought into the game at this stage, without any warning, without Parliament being consulted on an important development, and being asked to organise the market for products with the exception of sardines and anchovies and being asked to carry part of the financial cost. Of all that the Parliamentary Secretary tells us nothing.

The producer organisations, on reading the Parliamentary Secretary's speech, could be forgiven for thinking there is some kind of a bonanza coming up and that they were going to get nice subsidies to help them to operate. Indeed, they are-nice subsidies to get them going so that they can "carry the can", but that was not explained by the Parliamentary Secretary.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 2nd December, 1970.