asked the Minister for Transport and Power if he will introduce suitable schemes for bog development and for bog road and bog drainage development in view of the uncertain position concerning oil supplies and the current ESB dispute; and if he will provide the necessary finances for such developments.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Bog Development Schemes.
Bord na Móna are the national authority charged with the exploitation of national turf deposits. The board inform me that they are either engaged on or in process of surveying and acquiring all the larger bog areas in the country capable of economic development. There are, however, small bogs throughout the country which are not capable of economic development in the conditions obtaining up to date. The board are constantly reviewing the position of these smaller areas so that they can be exploited if the increased price of competing fuels in the long-term makes this possible.
The roads and drains in question have been kept up for a number of years, up to nine or ten years ago. In view of the urgent necessity of having fuel available I should like to ask the Minister to introduce a scheme again to have the roads and drains in the smaller areas mentioned properly developed. Such schemes are necessary because the bogs are flooded and the roads are bad. It is necessary to have these in proper condition if we are to have fuel in an emergency.
In so far as I am aware the local improvement schemes were to give power to owners with turbary rights to improve the drainage and roads into their bogs. There are no plans for any Government assistance in regard to these bogs. Bord na Móna are concerned with the larger bog areas and they are keeping those under survey. Should there be any emergency such as the Deputy has referred to, it will have to be met principally from the larger areas to be worked by Bord na Móna.
The interpretation of the engineers at local level is that one must have ratepayers to operate a local improvement scheme. In other words, they look for demand notes. There are no demand notes for bog sections of road at all and by and large they are not inclined to operate those.
I am not quite sure of the exact local position, but, if the county council put a bit of pressure on, it might enable them to be able to deal with it.
Deputy O'Connor is quite correct. Again, this is one of the schemes that was not handed down to the local authority. They are all contributory schemes. Under the old system the Board of Works maintained these bog roads and no contribution was necessary from the local people. There is now and it is on a valuation basis. It is very hard to have any of those that are exclusively bog roads done.
In so far as I am aware they come within the scope of the LIS and there is no reason why they would not be done under it.
With a contribution.
Yes, with a contribution from the owners of the turbary.