Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Fishing of Lower Shannon.

18.

asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries the number of persons who hold drift net licences in respect of the lower Shannon and who qualified for licences this year because of the fact that they held licences in 1934.

I have been informed by the Limerick Board of Conservators, which is the body responsible for the issue of licences in respect of the River Shannon, that their records relating to the licences issued in 1934 are no longer available. The board is of opinion however that very few if any of the 1934 licencees still hold licences.

The Parliamentary Secretary says these records are no longer available. If that is so how can he decide on the allocation of licences? If the records are not available how can he decide on the allocation?

It is the board who determine these things, not the Department or the Parliamentary Secretary. I understand the Deputy is a member of the board and, as a member of the board, I am sure he is in a position to get all the information he seeks here. I am also sure that, as a member of the board, he is aware that it is the board who determine the allocation of licences and not the Department.

But is it not the responsibility of the Parliamentary Secretary? He is in charge of the boards, not me, and if the boards have not got the information, as the Parliamentary Secretary says they have not, how can they issue licences?

It is my responsibility to ensure licences are issued in accordance with the regulations. I have not so far heard from the Deputy of any person getting a licence, who, in the Deputy's opinion, is not entitled to hold one.

The position is that those entitled to licences cannot get them.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary saying he has no responsibility in the issuing of licences?

The board issue licences. The issue of licences is their responsibility. It is my reponsibility to ensure that the licences are issued in accordance with the regulations. The Deputy attends meetings of the board and he should really be more accurate.

If the board have not got the information how can they issue licences?

The board determine on the applications in accordance with the regulations made under the Shannon Fisheries Act, 1935.

Sir, in view of the unsatisfactory nature of the Parliamentary Secretary's reply, I propose, with your permission, to raise this matter on the Adjournment.

The Chair will communicate with the Deputy.