asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry if he is aware of the crisis in the finances of the regional fishery boards; and the steps he proposes to take to rectify the situation.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Regional Fishery Boards Finances.
I am not aware of any crisis in the finances of the regional fisheries boards.
Like all other sectors of the public service, the boards have to be more prudent and economical in their spending, having regard to the current constraints on the Exchequer.
I cannot understand how the Minister could be unaware of the crisis in some of the boards. He must surely be aware that not only are the regional boards short of cash but the Central Board is also. The situation is chaotic, with board meetings not able to be organised because of shortage of funds to pay the travelling expenses of the members. Is the Minister not aware——
Could the Deputy make the question as concisely as possible?
——that one meeting could not be held because there were not sufficient funds to pay these travelling expenses?
I am not so aware and certainly I have received no information to that effect. I have been in contact with all the boards, regional and central, and while there is a problem of money in most areas——
Could the Minister tell us about that? That is what we want to know.
——in the public administration at the moment, that is the first news I have had in relation to a meeting not being called because there was not money to pay the travelling expenses.
The Minister must be aware and, if not, I am making him aware this afternoon that——
The Deputy must ask a question.
——because of lack of finance the activities of the boards have been curtailed in many areas which affects not only salmon and general fishery protection but pollution observation and control. This could be seriously damaging to the future prospects of the entire inland fisheries machine unless something positive and urgent is done to rectify the situation. The Minister must surely be aware of the crisis in all the boards and in the Central Board in particular. There has been curtailment of staff and activities.
I am asking for the co-operation of the Deputies is ceasing repetition and being concise.
I am prepared to accept that there has been a curtailment of funds in all public sectors, but certainly we are not at a crisis stage or anywhere near it.
The Minister must be aware that some members of boards have threatened to resign unless some urgent action is taken by the Government to rectify their financial position? If he is not aware of that perhaps we can make him aware of it now and he might do something about it.
I have no such information.