Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 16 Feb 1989

Vol. 387 No. 3

Shannon Free Airport Development Company Limited (Amendment) Bill, 1988: Second Stage.

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

The purpose of this Bill is to give statutory effect to the Government decision to extend the Shannon Free Airport Development company's industrial development responsibilities to include North Kerry.

The Government decision to bring forward this legislation had its origins in an earlier decision — taken in July, 1988 — to divide the country into seven sub regions for the purpose of preparing operational programmes for the national development plan to be submitted in relation to the expanded EC Structural Funds. Boundaries were drawn up with a view to grouping together countries, or parts of countries, having regard to, among other things, geography, population, common concerns and economic structures. For this purpose, the mid-west area was deemed to include north Kerry as well as counties Clare, Limerick, Tipperary North Riding and West and South West Offaly.

In these circumstances, and since SFADCo had already done much of the preliminary work in preparing and integrated development plan for the area, the Government considered it logical to extend the company's operational remit to include that part of north Kerry which is incorporated in the mid-west region for Structural Fund purposes.

Another logical reason for extending the company's remit is that the Shannon Estuary as a whole is coming increasingly to be recognised as a distinct area and one, moreover, with significant development potential. The estuary has long been acknowledged as a tremendous natural asset to the region but it also has a number of inbuilt and infrastructural advantages from the industrial and tourism development points of view. Among the facilities available in the estuary are: a good fresh water supply (up to 90,000 cubic metres, or 20 million gallons per day, can be made available); electricity available from power stations at Tarbert (650 mw) and Moneypoint (900 mw); good harbour facilities, including bulk solid and liquid pipeline loading facilities at Moneypoint and Aughinish; Natural gas (available by pipeline to a point on the estuary between Limerick and Aughinish); large oil storage and handling capacities; and coal handling facilities at the Moneypoint site.

From the tourism point of view the area boasts considerable scenic appeal, major SFADCo tourism amenities on the north side of the estuary and tremendous water sports potential.

Up to now the Clare and Limerick portions of the estuary were, for industrial development purposes, in the mid-west region and were the responsibility of Shannon Development, while north Kerry was in the south west region and was handled by IDA. This division obviously did not help in the development of a fully integrated strategy for the estuary. The new unified region will allow a more comprehensive approach to be taken towards the planning, promotion and development of the estuary. The estuary will now be promoted and marketed as one unit; economic investigations and other studies will be carried out in relation to it in its entirety and it can be developed in terms of its totality, without the disadvantages of internal demarcation.

Another example of the Government's commitment to develop the estuary as a coherent unit is the decision to establish a single harbour authority for the river mouth. The Bill to give effect to that decision is also before the House at present and it is hoped to have it also enacted in the current session.

Bringing north Kerry into the mid-west region also exploits the link between Limerick and Tralee, and enables this link to be used as a "lever" for development. The Limerick/Tralee route is a heavy tourist route and bringing it into one region allows the tourist potential along the route to be maximised.

Tralee's Regional Technical College has a strong tradition of programmes and courses that assist economic development in the area. This is a tradition similar to that of the education/industry interfaces established by the university-designate in Limerick. The presence of both colleges in the one region will encourage interaction between the colleges and further develop this type of linkage.

The food industry is well established in north Kerry, through companies such as the Kerry Co-op group. The existing mid-west region also has a strong food sector, particularly in Limerick and Tipperary and linking the two regions will, it is felt, encourage an integrated approach to the food sector.

As the House is aware, the Government assigned from 1 January 1988, responsibility for tourism and industrial development, including medium and large scale industry, in the mid-west region to SFADCo. Prior to that SFADCo was responsible only for the promotion and development of small industry in the region; IDA had responsibility for medium and large industry. That decision resulted in a rationalisation of the agencies operating within the mid-west region and the creation, in SFADCo, of a single integrated regional development body. From the beginning of 1988, the company assumed the functions of the IDA, Bord Fáilte Éireann and the relevant county development teams and regional tourism organisations.

That change was intended primarily to ensure that SFADCo made a creative and pioneering contribution to the integrated development of the region in line with the objectives of the Programme for National Recovery being spearheaded by the Government and the social partners. The Government are more than happy with the manner in which the company have fulfilled their expanded role during 1988.

A target of 20,000 new industrial jobs per year was set under the Programme for National Recovery which was agreed between the Government and the social partners just over a year ago. At the beginning of 1988, the Shannon Development Company set an ambitious job creation target of 2,000 new jobs in the mid-west region as their contribution to the national target. I am glad to say that that target was comfortably exceeded and that the actual outturn for the year was 2,817 new jobs. These are new jobs on the ground and are based on a recently completed, detailed survey of the industrial firms in the region. Perhaps of even greater significance is that the survey shows a net gain in industrial employment of close to 1,000 in the region last year.

In all a total of 25 new projects were approved for the region during 1988. These projects involve a capital investment of £10.7 million and the promoters envisage that 705 new jobs will be created over the next three to five years. In addition a total of 17 industrial expansions were approved and publicly announced during 1988. These expansions are expected to create 510 new jobs over the next three to five years and involve capital investment of £14.0 million.

In many respects, of course, SFADCo have always been to the forefront in developing initiatives in the industrial and tourism areas. Their promotion, for example, of small industry in the region in the past has been both effective and imaginative. Similarly their efforts on the tourism promotion front have proved highly successful. The development of the "Castle Banquet" concept at Bunratty, Knappogue and Dunguaire and of the folk park at Bunratty has done much to create a distinctive and readily-identifiable image for the Shannonside region both at home and abroad.

Another concept which was pioneered in the region and has now been adopted in other areas is the development of links between industry and third level education, most notably in the National Institute for Higher Education in Limerick which, of course, the Government have now decided to upgrade to university status.

In addition, I had the pleasure before Christmas of laying the foundation stone for a new international science centre in Plassey Technological Park representing another step in the furthering of this two-way flow of information, training and interaction between education and industry. The building of the centre, which will provide facilities for firms to research process testing or the manufacture of prototypes and which will have direct access to the NIHE facilities, is an extremely important initiative.

The inclusion of north Kerry in Shannon Development's enlarged area of responsibility involves the addition of more than 100 companies employing almost 3,500 people to the region's existing established industry base. Shannon Development will focus considerable attention on the development of this base in north Kerry. This will involve the implementation in the county of the strategy successfully implemented in the mid-west region during 1988 and will entail intensive and pro-active efforts in dealing with existing companies.

Shannon Development will also continue to promote the enlarged Shannon region as a location for new indigenous and overseas manufacturing and international services investment.

Shannon Development's principal aim in north Kerry over the next three years will be to maximise employment in manufacturing and international services in the area. As in 1988 the company will, through their policy of integrated development, strive to ensure that there is a balanced spread of employment growth throughout the enlarged Shannon region.

SFADCo exercise their powers to assist industry in the mid-west region, exclusive of the Shannon free zone under delegated authority from the IDA in line with national industrial development policy.

Specifically the new Bill provides for: (a) the amendment of section 2 of the 1970 Act in order to add north Kerry to the mid-west region to enable moneys to be expended by SFADCo to meet their running expenses in relation to industrial development there; and (b) the amendment of section 4 of the 1970 Act in order to add North Kerry to the mid-west region in respect of which the Industrial Development Authority may, at present, delegate their grant-giving powers to SFADCo.

I am advised that no legislative changes are required to extend the company's tourism remit to north Kerry. This will be done on an administrative basis.

I therefore commend this Bill to the House.

I welcome this Bill which gives effect to the increased jurisdiction and expanding development role of Shannon Free Airport Development Company. It is the objective of the company to develop the Shannon region through the integrated promotion and development of industry, tourism and aviation for the benefit of the Irish economy and also to ensure the growth of Shannon Airport in trade, passengers and services. Any extension of the powers available to SFADCo is to be welcomed in that it will strengthen this unique organisation in the public service. SFADCo are not as constrained as many other State-sponsored bodies. They have wide powers and can behave like a commercial company; limitations are not imposed by a specific statute and with articles and memorandum of association they have a high degree of flexibility.

From a regional point of view there is evidence of their involvements and attainments. In the mid-west there are field officers in the counties as well as other staff and there is a wide distribution of advance factories and novel and innovative schemes have been put forward. The increased remit in all industries including tourism is attributed to this successful company. I welcome the fact that the company have adopted a partnership approach to their regional development work and I would urge the company to continue to place emphasis and focus on this aspect. This is a necessity for the company's strategy and proposals for development to continue to be openly discussed with a wide range of bodies and individuals within the region and for reform where appropriate.

A key element in the future success of the integrated approach to the development of the region must be unity of purpose among the people of the region and a determination to work for the achievement of well balanced and effective programmes. In this regard I would like to draw attention to the Fine Gael policy document compiled by my colleague, Deputy John Bruton, entitled An Economic Accord for 1992, with particular reference to regional planning under regional development authorities. Fine Gael believe that there is an untapped resource of commitment and innovation in every part of the country. The success of SFADCo in the mid-west region shows this. Manufacturing employment was maintained in the Shannon region in the period 1981-87 whereas it declined by 35,000 in Ireland as a whole. New development initiatives have been undertaken in the Shannon region such as the National Food Centre, the Innovation Centre and the Plassey Technological Park. These initiatives derive to a very great extent from local commitment and local ideas.

Fine Gael believe that similar success can be achieved in other regions and suggest the establishment of a regional development authority in each of the regions chosen by the Government in their announcement on 26 August 1988. The first task of these authorities would be the implementation of the new programme under the European Communities Structural Funds. Fine Gael propose that the authority in each of the regions would have the following composition: three representatives nominated by the Government from among the relevant Government Departments, the IDA, Córas Tráchtála, Bord Fáilte, Teagasc, Eolas and the Irish Goods Council — these three persons would jointly represent all of these bodies in a co-ordinated way; one representative selected by the Government from among the three names submitted to them by the county and city managers from the region in question; two representatives chosen by the Government from three names put forward jointly by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Confederation of Irish Industry, the Federated Union of Employers, the Association of Chambers of Commerce, the Irish Farmers Association and the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association — with the exception of the Association of the Chambers of Commerce, these are bodies represented on the existing National Economic and Social Council; and four independent persons chosen by the Government, one of whom should be the chairman of the authority, as persons with expertise in economic development. One of these independent persons would represent young people or youth organisations active in the region in question.

These new regional development authorities should have functions broadly similar to those exercised by SFADCo. These functions should be set out in a detailed statutory from in a new regional development Bill. In broad terms the Shannon Free Airport Development Company's functions are to develop and test concepts and systems which would lead to a dramatic growth of small indigenous industries, traded services and tourism. Responsibility for large industry should also be retained by the IDA and Údarás na Gaeltachta should continue to operate in the Gaeltacht parts of each region. The regional authorities should be financed by grant in aid from the Government and by local contributions from county and city councils. They would take over the regional functions, and the relevant staff of the IDA small industries and regional divisions, and of Bord Fáilte's regional tourism organisations.

The establishment of regional development authorities on these lines in Ireland has been approved by the European Parliament in its debate on the Hume Report on the Regional Problems of Ireland. The Hume Report said:

Devolution of powers to a number of regional authorities and a strengthening of the role of local authorities, based on a rational allocation of functions between levels of Government, would have the effect of releasing local energies and encouraging citizens to participate in realisation of economic objectives for their region.

Fine Gael agree with this and that is why they made the foregoing proposals.

It is also noteworthy that the Hume Report expressed its concern at the extreme concentration of the nation's advanced technology in the Dublin region and called for a wider and fairer distribution of technological resources. The regional development authorities proposed by Fine Gael would facilitate a wider diffusion of technological resources to the regions, in line with the Hume Report. The performance of Shannon Development underlines the importance of regional authorities and the role of regional development as an instrument of economic and social cohesion. I strongly believe that the experience of this region should be harnessed and availed of to initiate similar regional structures throughout the country. The key factors for development strategies in peripheral regions are now apparent as a result of the Shannon Development experience to date. These are: (1) the costs of location; (2) centres of excellence; (3) regional structures; (4) national support; (5) community support; (6) response to 1992 and (7) the need for a co-ordinated vision.

The first factor relates to overcoming the costs of the location in the periphery. We are on the periphery of Europe. Not only that, we are on an island, outside another island, off the mainland of Europe. In terms of access transport and transport costs, the obvious outcome is that firms operating from here must pay a higher premium to service central markets than do producers within those markets. What is important is not just the absolute transport costs. Equally crucial is the level of transport services, and the level of transport facilities. Inadequacies in these areas bear more heavily on the exporter from here than the actual rate or charge. An example will hopefully illustrate what I mean. Shannon Airport, for example, has excellent direct air connections to the USSR and to North and South America on a year round basis. It does not have direct connections to Brussels, Paris, Frankfurt or the other important European centres. Business travellers from Shannon to Europe must travel via other airports, such as Dublin or London, to their destinations. The extra time factor and the inconvenience involved in these services adds substantially to transport costs. So, overcoming these barriers either through the provision of services or through transport subsidies, or by other measures, must figure largely in any development strategy for a peripheral region.

Included within the costs of a location in the periphery is the issue of telecommunications. The Regional Development Fund has provided assistance to Ireland in the expansion of its telecommunications network, and the Star Programme has proved particularly important in this area. Enhancing telecommunications allows access to information without reference to distance and can improve the competitiveness of firms in the perpipheral areas.

We need also to look at non-material costs. These include attitudes and skills. For example, we have evidence to show that firms in the periphery tend to have less experience of dealing with export markets than firms in core regions. This also can extend to poor standards of quality, inferior design and lack of price competitiveness compared with similar firms located in core regions.

The second key factor is the need to develop centres of excellence in the periphery. If firms in the peripheral regions are to strengthen their competitive positions they need access to centres of technological excellence and to centres of educational excellence. We need to develop idea centres, centres that will provide research and technology and education that will support the types of enterprises that will effectively compete out of peripheral locations. For example, there are many types of industries for whom physical location is less important and transport costs relatively less significant. We need to focus on those sectors and to identify how we can develop projects around the leading edge in the development of these sectors. To do this we need to develop strong linkages between universities and industry and Government agencies. We need to be able to do this in peripheral regions and not to have to rely on diffusion outwards from core areas for these ideas.

The third key factor has to do with having the right regional structures in peripheral regions. Peripheral regions are not just peripheral in the sense of distance — they are in many cases more so in terms of power and decision making. The location of development decisions within peripheral regions represents a strong impetus towards the promotion of change. By locating decision making functions within the regions a number of exciting possibilities emerge. We can, for example, attune the region to international conditions; ensure that decisions about development are consistent with the resources and aspirations of the region and problems or conflicts between programmes can be more readily resolved. In other words, peripheral regions need a central organisational focus for getting things done.

The fourth key factor is national support. Central Government support is an essential ingredient in the success of any peripheral area programme. And the support of central Government is not just that of financing. It means an active acceptance of the development concepts that are inherent in the programme and support for the organisational structures implied in the programme and the development of an entrepreneurial climate so that other agencies are encouraged to participate in the pursuit of the programme goals.

The fifth key is the role of Community support. Up to now, the European Community has been very much a reactive mechanism. It needs to go to a pro-active mode. It needs to take a lead in programmes for peripheral area development. It needs to develop ideas and to promote these ideas to the member states. The Community is also ideally placed to encourage the undertaking of a variety of alternative paths to promoting peripheral area development and to compare and contrast the different approaches in different member states and to advise on the results.

The sixth key factor is 1992 and the effect of the completion of the internal market on peripheral regions. The Community has set 1992 as the target for the completion of the internal market and the removal of the non-tariff barriers.

There are a number of possible consequences for peripheral areas like the Shannon region. One is that reduction in transport costs or removal of barriers will favour stronger core regions. Greater freedom of movement will favour the larger enterprises and larger entities that already enjoy economies of scale. Smaller entities that do not enjoy some degree of uniqueness will find their competitiveness weakened when impediments to movement are removed. On the other hand, there is some evidence to suggest that the removal of non-tariff barriers may benefit a range of activities within peripheral regions. Non-tariff barriers, such as differences in technical standards used to protect domestic industry, have in the main been used by core regions and by the more developed economies. Consequently, the removal of the technical barriers may well provide Irish industry and Irish regions with new opportunities for trade.

The Community has recognised to an extent the needs of the peripheral regions to prepare for 1992 through the proposal to double the structural funds. It is evident that there are two responses that the Shannon region require to make towards 1992. First, we need to develop the right regional programmes that will effectively attract the increased level of financial support which the Community is making available. Only by developing the right kind of programmes will we ensure that the opportunity created by the expansion of the structural funds succeeds in enhancing the productive capacity of the Shannon region. Secondly, we need to work on industrial competitiveness. We need to upgrade the competitiveness of our industry through more skilful management, more aggressive marketing, better design, higher standards, better technology and appropriate financing. We need help on all of these issues if the Community objective of social and economic cohesion is to be achieved.

The seventh and final key factor is the need for co-ordinated regional programmes. These programmes would need to focus on three issues — the policies of the Community, the priorities of the member states and the needs of the region. In other words, we need to develop strategic partnerships. Co-ordinated regional programmes are a vital instrument to establish such partnerships. Only in this way will we ensure that the Community policies, the concerns of the member states and the needs of the regions are co-ordinated and effectively articulated to serve the interests of all three.

The Shannon region is a peripheral region on the edge of Europe, with high dependence on agriculture, high levels of unemployment and growing levels of emigration. The extended Shannon region has a population of 420,000 persons, some 50 per cent of whom live in urban areas. The region's labour force is about 28,000 of which about 22 per cent are employed in agriculture and about 18 per cent are unemployed. The first half of the eighties decade recorded over 7,000 emigrants out of the region. This is very significant as it follows a period of net immigration that was recorded during the seventies. One would have to express serious concern about the huge increases in recent years in the level of emigration from the mid-west region and, indeed, from my part of the country.

The region, however, also has some very special strengths. For example, numbers employed in manufacturing industry in the region are about 25,000, some 20 per cent of the total labour force. This represents a growth of 15 per cent between 1978 and 1986. This level of growth in industrial employment in the region over those eight years was relatively exceptional, both in national and European Community terms.

The industrial structure of the region is relatively strong—the top ten companies last year exported over IR£1.5 billions in goods and services — and has shown growth rates in the recent past well ahead of national and European averages.

The region has other strengths, also. At Limerick City lies the National Institute of Higher Education, Ireland's first technological university. It is based in Plassey Technological Park. The park itself provides a business environment attractive to advanced technology enterprises and represents a deliberate attempt to stimulate the fusion of research, education and enterprise on one site.

Shannon International Free Airport, 25 kms from Limerick, is an international centre of communications. This is a major benefit to a peripheral region like ours and provides linkages to a number of key metropolitan centres in Europe and North Africa.

The region has important natural resources of great value, notably its rich agricultural land, its forest and woodlands and its potential for mariculture and aquaculture development.

The Shannon region has great strengths also as a tourism region. It has a magnificent coastline fronting the Atlantic, some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe and some of its rarest flora. It has upland hills of unspoilt rural landscape and lakes and rivers that are under-used, a paradise for the visiting fishermen or sailor. Let us hope that the problem in this regard will be solved next week. It has ancient monuments dating back to the dawn of history, medieval castles, folk parks, museums and a wealth of visitor attractions. It also has a plentiful supply of all kinds of accommodation from top grade hotels and farm guest-houses to self-catering facilities.

In summary, the Shannon region has all the weaknesses of peripheral areas, but it has some special strengths as well which could provide a major resource and driving force for development into the future.

Our ability to address our problems and build on our strengths will depend to a great extent on our ability to call down EC finance from the Structural Funds. Last year the Government announced that regional programmes would be prepared as a basis for future applications for assistance from the Structural Funds. At that time Shannon Development had discussions with the appropriate authorities in Dublin. Following those discussions they commenced preparation of a plan for the development of the Shannon region. The plan was developed in partnership with almost 20 other agencies whose activities, one way or another, affect development in the region. Successive drafts of this plan have been discussed on an informal basis with officials of Government Departments in Dublin and with officials of the European Commission in Brussels. Both the national and the Commission officials have confirmed that the direction is most acceptable and Brussels in particular has been highly complimentary of the effort.

A key assumption in the plan is that regional development is a positive process, that the purpose of regional development is to enhance the contribution of peripheral regions to national betterment, exploiting the unique assets of particular regions in the national and European interest and enlarging the ability of each region to do something for the good of the national and European Community. Regional development is not about handouts, but rather about positively tapping latent potential.

The plan prepared includes proposals for industry, tourism, agriculture, infrastructure and development related education. The thrust of the plan is to enlarge the productive capacity of the region through action based on three central themes: (a) generating knowledge based enterprises — economic activity that has a strong content of knowledge such as research, new technology and the creation of an information rich environment; (b) developing resource-based enterprise — economic activity that taps human creativity and exploits the economic and physical resources of the region, focussing on sectors where market possibilities are strongest; and (c) improvement of infrastructure and the physical environment to create a region that is highly acceptable to the people of the region and to potential investors as an investment location, and to tourists as a desirable destination.

Reaction to the plan has been very positive. It is clearly obvious that the Shannon region is the only region which has advanced to this stage, and I must place on record my concern that we will lose out while waiting for others to complete their brief. I call on the Government to recognise our progress in this regard and request priority for the Shannon Development submission on behalf of the region. The submission is in line with Commission guidelines and it has been warmly welcomed in Brussels. The funding is available, so why wait and jeopardise the very sound, progressive and viable projects put forward?

I have stressed the positive aspects of the Shannon Development role. Nevertheless, I am mindful of the fact that the company will have serious difficulties in that they are being asked to undertake extra duties and an enlarged area with reduced resources. I fear that this can only result in their giving a diminished service to the original area and render them incapable of exploiting the full potential of the total area. This is a shortsighted approach by the Government and must be altered.

Shannon Development have much success to their credit. However, counties such as north Tipperary would have to express the view that this success was not evenly spread around the region. Many new industries and services in Limerick city, Shannon and Ennis will not do much for places like Thurles, Roscrea, Templemore or Nenagh. The success built on technology in Limerick University and services for industries in major centres at the core of the region must be used to the benefit of peripheral areas like Thurles.

North Tipperary, and particularly Thurles, are being devastated by closures, rationalisation programmes, redundancies, unemployment and emigration. I have had a number of discussions in recent times with Shannon Development executives, highlighting our problems and suggesting areas for advancement. I intend to pursue them vigorously to ensure that we get our just share of the benefits accruing from development and expansion plans within the region.

At first look this Bill seems to be fairly straightforward, but the brevity of the Minister's speech this morning says a lot. It highlights serious questions which are not addressed by the Bill with regard to lines of demarcation and responsibility in the Shannon region. I believe strongly in the importance of regional development. What is occurring in the mid-west Shannon area could be a very important role model for the rest of the country. However, there is much uncertainty as to who is really in charge in that region. One wonders whether the executives in the IDA, CTT and SFADCo. are happy at the way the operation is structured and about where their areas of responsibility begin and end. There does not seem to be any absolute authority

SFADCo were given extra responsibility last year and took over from the IDA responsibility for industrial development within the region. That is probably not a bad thing. SFADCo have been very successful in creating small indigenous industries which are important to the region. The Shannon area has, however, potential for heavy industrial development, due to the Shannon Estuary.

The IDA map of Ireland has two areas blocked out, the mid-west region and Northern Ireland. There is much pressure on the IDA to produce jobs and reach targets and they are making announcements day after day. Since responsibility for the mid-west region has effectively been removed from them, why should they give as much attention to that area when SFADCo are the authority in charge? If I were in that position I would be inclined to develop the areas where my real responsibility unequivocally lay, not an area where there was uncertainty. That is a great shame because the IDA are probably the only organisation with the ability to seek and find the heavy industrialised type of industry necessary for the Shannon region. It is not an indigenous industry, that sort of heavy industrial development must come from abroad. The Shannon region has all the advantages because of port and harbour developments, the deep water berths and many other things which put it at an advantage in the heavy industrial area.

The IDA and CTT because of blocking out the Shannon region are at a serious disadvantage. If SFADCo is to be the model in the regional sense, what will be the future role of the IDA and CTT? A role model of SFADCo is the way to go and I am not trying to knock the set-up; I am trying to explore beyond it. Why not create a new enterprise organisation whereby CTT and the IDA would be amalgamated? They would then be the superstructure over the regional organisation and there would be clear channels through these offices worldwide. SFADCo do not have a worldwide structure similar to the IDA so how can they, as a regional organisation, seek access and gain the type of potential market which the IDA could gain worldwide? The Bill points out that there is a complete lack of clarity in this industrial area and how it will be developed because, as it stands at the moment, there are certain things in place but there is too much overlapping and no one seems to be in charge.

The Bill dealing with the harbour estuary for the Shannon region has not yet been debated but there are serious contradictions in that Bill compared to the one we are now discussing. Who will be the Authority for tourism and industrial development in the mid-west region? Will it be SFADCo? Will it be the IDA? Will it be CTT, Bord Fáilte or the new harbour authority? Where do the corporation come into it? There is a nucleus of a very good idea in the changes the Department are trying to bring about but there seems to be no plan as to where it is supposed to go.

Bord Fáilte have a tremendous worldwide structure in situ, unlike SFADCo. Bord Fáilte do not now have responsibility for tourism development in the mid-west region. It has been said by every party in this House that tourism development is one of the most significant job creating areas. It also affords us an opportunity to increase in great numbers the people travelling in and out of the country. SFADCo do not have the worldwide network to be active in the tourism market, they simply are not capable of operating in that arena. Yet they are given responsibility in this area.

The mid-west region is probably one of the most important tourist areas in the country. Over the years they have developed their tourism and have probably been more successful than many other regions, particularly in the development of Kerry, west Cork and the Shannon area itself. That whole coastline has been much better developed in a regional sense than any other area. The potential is there for a leap forward in how we operate our regional structures. The correct procedure is not in train at the moment and I would bet money that the Minister cannot guarantee that we will not see major changes at senior level in some of the State agencies within the next five to six months. That will be brought about by dissatisfaction and low morale caused by putting people in a very uncertain position and not giving them a clear and precise outline of what they are supposed to be doing, to whom they are responsible and who are responsible to them. There is an urgent need for that to happen.

We are dealing with the Shannon mid-west area today but every other area is also affected. Who is responsible for deciding on the regional plan and the approach made to the EC? Because of the regional structures there is an opportunity here of putting forward significant proposals for approval within the EC. I believe that the EC has told the Government that it is dissatisfied with the way they are handling the applications for Structural Funds. The EC want to see a regionalised approach as happens in every other country. However, the Government are still insisting on keeping bureaucratic and central control on the approach to Brussels in seeking Regional and Structural Funds. This is seriously harming the country and the Department of Industry and Commerce are well aware that this is the case.

Plans are submitted by various bodies at present; nobody seems to be in charge. Those plans then go to individual Departments. If it is a marine project it goes to the Department of the Marine who to-and-fro with the harbour commissioners in the local areas. After they have seen fit to discuss it, it then goes to the Department of Finance and, after their stamp of approval, the plans will find their way to Brussels. Brussels has told the Government that it does not want everything fitted into a national plan. Of course there are certain areas where you must have a national structure: roads, for instance, are an obvious one. You could not have each region deciding independently of others how to develop their own road network. Obviously there must be an overall plan. However, all plans should not involve this long, bureaucratic and unnecessary approach to various Departments. That is why this country is falling behind the likes of Spain and Portugal and, in four years' time, when we see the developments that have taken place in those countries we will know why we do not have them here. There will certainly be a difference unless there is a major change of attitude.

The key to Brussels is a regional approach. Brussels want a regional approach. Just because the country is small does not mean that the regions are less important than those in other countries. To my way of thinking they are of equal importance, and in some ways more important. We must decide how the Government will carry out these functions.

Reference has already been made to education. I am glad the problems surrounding the qualifications issued by the NIHEs have been resolved by raising the NIHEs in Limerick and Dublin to university status. While I wish these colleges every success and good fortune, I regret that the south-east region has been ignored in terms of providing a third level institute with university status.

How does one promote national and international industrial development and tourism? These questions have been left in the air because of the lack of overall direction. I suspect the Government will come to the conclusion, sooner rather than later, that changes are needed in the way the IDA and CTT operate. What we need are regional structures feeding into one organisation. After all, the people on the ground know what is happening in their areas and what needs to be developed there. If the Government were to clarify that position, then the development of the regions, not only the mid-west region, would accelerate at a much greater pace with tremendous benefits to be gained over the next three to five years, simply because we would be able to shake off our problems and get ahead of the posse. Everyone is seeking a slice of the same cake and if we are hampered by a lack of structures and clear lines of responsibility, then the morale of those on whom we are depending falls and things move backwards.

There is a danger that this could happen in the mid-west region if many of the executives in the State agencies do not know where they stand. This is not satisfactory. No organisation seems to have overall responsibility. As I understand it, many applications have been received not only from this region but from all around the country for the construction of marinas. This type of development would attract yachts from the UK in the winter——

I am sure Deputy Cullen would accept that he is covering a lot of land and sea. This is specific legislation.

Many promises of marinas were given in the region.

This body are responsible for the promotion of tourism in that region and I am speaking of the way tourism is being developed in that region.

I thought the Deputy was speaking in more general terms.

I believe there are too many authorities deciding what is needed in each area and it is not clear who should make the final decisions — whether it is the Department of the Marine, or the Department of Finance, and whether Bord Fáilte should be consulted, if they think if a marina is needed within a region, and so on. These are just some of the problems in those areas. However, I am confident that these problems can be solved. All that needs to be done is to modernise the structures of CTT and the IDA. If the Government are considering regional development and what the future role of CTT and the IDA should be, the model of SFADCo would be more important not alone for the region in which they operate but for other regional developments throughout the country. I hope the Government consider this.

I welcome this Bill which is to give statutory effect to the Government's decision to extend the Shannon Free Airport Development Company's industrial development responsibilities to include the constituency of Kerry North. I believe this is long overdue. Under this Bill, north Kerry will be incorporated into the mid-west region for the purpose of structural funding. We in north Kerry would be looking to the expertise of SFADCo in promoting the land bank between Tarbert and Ballylongford for industrial development. Since this Bill was first mooted prior to Christmas, that north Kerry was to come under the ambit of SFADCo, a lot of movement has taken place in north of north Kerry and hopefully worthwhile development will take place, thus creating much needed jobs as emigration from the area is well above the national average.

Shannon Development recently issued a report entitled Framework for the Development of the Shannon Region, an excellent discussion document. I wish to thank them for including north Kerry. They have shown tremendous foresight in this paper. As a contribution to the programme, this framework has been prepared in partnership with 26 other agencies. Shannon Development have compiled a framework following the Government's decision to give this agency a more integrated and creative role in contributing towards recovery in the region. One has to accept that regional development is a positive process.

The mid-west region, with the inclusion of north Kerry, will now become a major tourist region as it has vast scenic appeal, and with the further development of tourist amenities all along the estuary — particularly water sports. As chairman of the Cork/Kerry Tourism Board, I have had meetings with SFADCo personnel. They welcome the Government's decision to extend their responsibilities for tourism development into north Kerry. The company feel that north Kerry can become a major part of the Shannon region from a tourism point of view. As soon as essential arrangements have been made with Cork/Kerry Tourism Board, the company will take steps to integrate north Kerry into their tourism promotion material, including literature and videos. The area will also be included in the company's on-going promotion of the Shannon region to the travel trade and the consumer for the remainder of the current year. I am confident that north Kerry will benefit from the growth in the anticipated growth in overseas tourism in the current year.

The company have also confirmed that they would take responsibility for the tourist information offices and tourist points throughout north Kerry. They would also ensure that visitors to these information centres receive the best possible advice about the tourism product in the Shannon region and throughout the country. At this point, I would like to compliment the manager and staff of Cork/Kerry Tourism on the very high standard of efficiency of the tourism product in the region over many years. At all times they were the outstanding region in the promotion and marketing of tourism. It is sad for north Kerry to have to part from such a top class group. However, I am satisfied that it would be in our best interest to become part of the mid-west region from a tourism and industrial point of view.

The Government's decision to establish a single harbour authority for the estuary is another boost for the region and I look forward to this Bill coming before the House in the current session. This was promised for many years especially during the term of the Coalition Government.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Burke, referred this morning to the creation of 2,000 new jobs which SFADCo set in 1988 as their contribution to the national target and they exceeded it by 817, making a total of 2,817 jobs for the year with a net gain of almost 1,000 for industrial employment in the region.

North Kerry's remit under the IDA was not successful over the years with regard to the land bank in Ballylongford where close on 700 acres of land has been lying idle for many years. I welcome the commitment of the personnel within SFADCo that this area will be given priority for industrial development by way of special promotion. They have confirmed that their principal aim in north Kerry in the next three years will be to maximise employment in manufacturing and other services in the area. They will work to improve the tourist product base of north Kerry, building on those strong products already in place and seeking out new opportunites for development. North Kerry already has a good mix of tourist attractions ranging from Ballybunion and Tralee golf clubs, both championship courses, race meetings in Listowel and Killarney, the Festival of Kerry, golden beaches at Ballybunion, Ballyheigue, Banna and Fenit and Listowel Writers' Week. Tralee has a new, modern conference centre in the Mount Brandon Hotel catering for groups of up to 1,500 people. The hotel also has modern recreation facilities and will become the conference centre for the mid west region. By maximising the returns from these attractions and working on new tourist products SFADCo can build up north Kerry tourism assets to the highest standards.

As one involved in tourism for a long time I have listened to complaints of lack of support for many years. The present Government have gone a long way in dealing with these complaints but they can only go so far, and the trade will have to respond. This is happening now and as a result we can approach the coming years with great confidence. We have tremendous opportunities within tourism for job creation. At this time new investment is coming into tourism and north Kerry with SFADCo will play its part. We must be careful to monitor and keep abreast of the changing market environment and in so doing become more professional and commercial in our approach to tourism and industrial development.

I welcome the legislation and commend the Minister for introducing it.

I, too, welcome this Bill. As previous speakers have said, north Kerry is very much on the Shannon estuary and very much part of the mid-west region. This legislation is long overdue and its introduction is a good thing for the entire region because it is important for all of us to think in regional terms now and get away from the old parochialism and parish pump politics that for long bedevilled politics and public life. That type of rivalry between counties and areas is unnecessary; we have had too much of it. It is wasteful and sometimes embarrassing. Therefore, it is good that this Bill is before the House today. SFADCo are to extend their remit to north Kerry, and let us hope north Kerry will be able to share in the work experience and benefits of SFADCo because it is entitled to that at the very least.

However, having praised the Government for bringing forward this Bill let me say I see a great deal of inconsistency regarding equality by the Government in relation to Shannon estuary. Another Bill is to be brought before this House today which is different altogether from the Bill we are discussing now, the Shannon Free Airport Development Company Limited (Amendment) Bill, 1988. The Bill which will be before the House this afternoon is the Harbours (Shannon Estuary Development Corporation) Bill, 1988. The Bill we are discussing now is a good Bill and I welcome it, but the harbours Bill is flawed legislation and I hope during is passage through this House today that will be remedied. The two Bills should be complementary. There should be a central role for SFADCo in the Harbours Bill. It makes no sense whatever to have SFADCo given this new authority and being excluded from their central role in the development of the Shannon estuary, one of our natural amenities. I do not see the logic of that. I see no co-ordination of Government policy in that regard. We cannot afford to throw away the expertise and professionalism of the staff of SFADCo in the development of the estuary and the harbours. The Minister might look at that. There is a glaring omission in the legislation. I see no link between the two Bills. On the one hand we are promoting SFADCo in this Bill before us and in the second Bill we are pushing them out entirely and ignoring them. I do not see how that can be possible.

We are talking about regional development. Other Deputies have said kind words about Limerick city and the University of Limerick, but the proposal is to put the headquarters of the new harbour authority in the Shannon estuary, transferring them from Limerick to Foynes. I do not see what good that can do. It is a downgrading of the city, the capital of the region, and of its people and a turning of backs on the history of the port authority who have been there since 1815. That makes no sense. The Minister might address that point. I am not going to belabour that, but if the Minister is thinking in logical terms, as he does, he will realise Limerick city straddles the Shannon estuary, linking the Kerry side and the Clare side. What could be a more natural place for a new harbour authority headquarters than Limerick city? It is like proposing to move Cork harbour authority from Cork city to Ringaskiddy or to move Dublin harbour authority out to Howth or Skerries.

I support this legislation because if you are to have industrial development and tourist promotion and somebody wants to speak to an authority in an area, instead of having a babble of voices in different authorities speaking to a person, it is better to have them in co-operation under the one authority. SFADCo have a track record of experience and can speak with authority to anybody coming in here to develop industry. They have the record of experience and competence in that regard. I am happy about all that, but in the Harbours Bill we will not be doing that. That Bill should be in tandem with the Bill before us now, and if the Government cannot grasp this point we are in difficulty. I see no point in pursuing this further but I hope this matter will be rectified in the passage of the second Bill through the Dáil.

There is no reason the Shannon estuary should not be able to avail of the full support, assistance, backup, skill and competence of SFADCo in the development of this natural amenity. Good work has been done by SFADCo in Limerick city in conjunction with Limerick Corporation. Much has been done in recent times in terms of the road programme, development of the city, elimination of urban blight, ruins, damaged buildings and derelict sites. I applaud that and I see no reason that work cannot be extended into north Kerry very soon. SFADCo have also co-operated with private enterprise in this regard. Some notable buildings in Limerick such as the Granary are examples of monuments to what can be done in this area with an enlightened approach by local authorities and private enterprise. There is no reason why SFADCo cannot go down that road in north Kerry. SFADCo have their track record and I hope such ventures will spread very soon to north Kerry and other areas.

I am especially interested in food processing. In that regard the Golden Vale has the most lush pastures not only in Ireland but in Europe and there is no reason we cannot have further development in north Kerry, Limerick, Clare and Tipperary. That is a natural area for such development and with some probing and prodding from the Minister through SFADCo there is no reason we cannot have a large leap ahead in expansion in that area.

We are only scratching the surface of tourism in the mid-west region and the country generally. We could expand our tourism industry tenfold if we adopted a positive and enlightened approach. We have seen the benefits in the Shannon region to our neighbouring county of Clare from tourist amenities like Bunratty Folk Park and Bunratty Castle. There is no reason the work carried out in that region cannot be spread to north Kerry and adjoining areas. It should be spread to towns like Miltown Malbay, Ennistymon, Kilkee, Adare and other towns and villages that have their own unique attractions. We should capitalise on those attractions.

Deputy Cullen referred to the uneasy relationship between the IDA and SFADCo. I do not intend to take up the time of the House probing that today and, as the Chair pointed out, this is not the time to do so. However, I should like to give a brief reply to some of the points he made. We need to co-ordinate our industrial promotion efforts or otherwise we will be duplicating services and wasting scarce resources. I do not see the need for wasteful competition in the area of industrial promotion. That is not logical and it does not do anything for the promotion of our country. There is no need for bitter rivalry because both organisations are working towards the same end, the attraction of industry to Ireland. A competitive attitude by them will not do us any good and will damage our image abroad. There is a need for greater co-operation, more frequent meetings and closer links between them. I do not like to see any literature, maps or documentation produced by the IDA having the mid-west region blacked out. To me that represents an insult to the region. Such literature should not be published by any organisation, particularly a public one. It does not make economic sense to produce it and it has no place in our world. The sooner that attitude is dropped the better. We must join together in our industrial promotion efforts because the future of the country is at stake. We have a lot to offer but our resources are limited. We must use them in an efficient way and pool our efforts to achieve our aims.

Limerick city has been mentioned in complimentary terms and there has been reference to the new university. However, it is no harm to point out that the city is being strangled because of the failure to expand its boundary. The city joins Limerick county and Clare county and for the past 25 years we have been seeking an extension of our boundary. We have been unsuccessful and the failure to agree to an extension of the boundary has strangled the city and more is the pity. I see Limerick city as being the capital of the region and there is no doubt that if we have a good capital the entire region will benefit. It will not take from Kerry, Clare or Tipperary if Limerick city is declared capital of the region. It is unfortunate that there is a dog in the manager attitude about the request to extend the city boundary. The last Government shied away from that but I hope this Government will look at that request sympathetically. We need an extension of the boundary in Limerick because without it we cannot develop the city in an orderly and progressive way. It is not right to strangle the development of any city. All cities must be allowed to expand and develop and Limerick is no different from other cities. I do not see why neighbouring authorities should be unco-operative in this regard. The capital of a region is entitled to expect support from neighbouring authorities. We should get away from the narrow parochial attitude that has been adopted in regard to requests for an extension of the boundary.

There has been a lot of talk about NIHE Limerick and its new status of a university. We all welcome that, as do the people of Limerick. While I am not a typical admirer of the director of that institution, Dr. Walsh, I accept that he has worked hard for it. He is a man of single-minded opinions although sometimes he appears to be selective in his morality about big business. He does not see much wrong with them and he sees wrongs elsewhere.

The Deputy will appreciate that reference to the morality or otherwise of any person who is not a Member is not appropriate.

He is a very robust and controversial individual and he is not afraid of trading punches with me or anybody else. He is not slow about coming forward with criticism.

Unfortunately, he cannot come forward into the Chamber to defend himself against any accusations that may be made, and the Deputy should appreciate that.

I was not levelling any accusations at him but saying what is generally known about him. I shall return to my complimentary remarks about him.

The Deputy would be acting very much in accordance with the spirit of the House if he did not refer to him. Ordinarily we avoid reference, complimentary or otherwise, to persons who are not Members because the person referred to cannot attend to accept compliments or defend himself or herself. I am not making a meal out of this because I know the Deputy will not dwell too long on this issue.

I do not intend to make a meal out of this but I was expressing my opinion about the individual. It is very hard to divorce Dr. Walsh from NIHE. I understand the good points about the man and I accept that he has had an impressive record over the years. While NIHE have an impressive record in finding employment abroad for graduates of that institution we must consider the other dimension in regard to that institution. NIHE must work to solve some of our problems. I am referring to staff and graduates. Unless the graduates help us find solutions to our problems that institution will be only partly successful. There is little point in having a technological university if our people cannot benefit from it through employment and a development of the food processing sector and so on. It should be working towards more integration in our economy. It is one thing to find employment for graduates with multinational companies but it is another thing to have them helping to find solutions to our problems. I hope NIHE will go down that road in the years ahead.

I accept that my constituency is far removed from Shannon and north Kerry but over the years we have looked with admiration at the achievements of the Shannon Free Airport Development Company. The company also proved very successful when they took tourism under their umbrella. On a number of occasions, during the course of debates, and by way of parliamentary question, I suggested that a similar body should be established to cater for Border regions. We have regional development organisations which cover the counties but the ideal would be a company like SFADCo, which could be responsible for distributing the Border fund and examining the potential of the area. I should like to point out that the director of SFADCo, Mr. Hugh Quigley, is a native of my district. I have admired his achievements with SFADCo over the years.

It is important that we should have a structure such as SFADCo for Border areas to examine the problems and make the best use of available resources. Grants under the Border fund are not allocated in accordance with any plan. They are primarily spent on small projects. This means that, ultimately, there is no infrastructure remaining. The same applies with regard to the international fund established which, after three years, has proven to be a major disappointment on both sides of the Border. Certainly it is a major disappointment to me. I have brought my disappointment to the notice of the chairman and other members of the committee charged with managing the fund. An examination of the report of the allocations of the fund would show that there has been a 25 per cent cut south of the Border and a 75 per cent cut north of the Border. Also an examination of the list of projects for which they provided funding would lead one to think there is need for serious investigation. Only today I heard a news flash to the effect that projects now in mind in the North would create 400 jobs.

Perhaps the Deputy could direct his thoughts a little South, down to north Kerry and Shannon.

I believe that international fund constituted the ideal vehicle for the examination of areas warranting funding, especially bearing in mind future integrated regional development with the promise of a substantial transfer of EC funds to the regions. The transfer of such funds will amount to a useless exercise unless there is an organisation such as SFADCo who can suggest what projects should be financed.

I welcome the extension of the SFADCo region to include north Kerry about which I have been campaigning since I entered politics. I might thank the Government on having effected this extension.

Always north Kerry has had a close affinity with Limerick. The ferry has also had a close affinity with west Clare. Historically there was a thriving trade between such small ports as Tarbert, Ballylongford, Foynes and Limerick, Foynes having been one of the busiest harbours in Europe in the 19th century. Hopefully the provisions of this Bill will revive those prosperous times to the Shannon region.

In the past also north Kerry suffered from having been included in the Cork region in respect of which I do not lay any blame on the Cork people. But physically and geographically north Kerry was too far removed from the IDA centre in Cork, from the main tourist promotion centre in Kerry which was located in Killarney, Naturally that led to efforts being concentrated on the south Kerry region to the detriment of the north Kerry region.

The people of north Kerry tend to go to school in Limerick. For example, they will choose to attend the NIHE in Limerick rather than other higher education establishments. It has also been the tendency of north Kerry business people to conduct their business in Limerick, generally to look to Limerick for most services, especially those people from the northern part of north Kerry. For that reason the provision of this Bill will be much welcomed by most people in north Kerry. It is also true that the people of north Kerry use Shannon Airport more frequently than Cork Airport. Access roads to Shannon Airport are better and more convenient from north Kerry than those to Cork Airport. Therefore it will be seen that there is much more affinity between the north Kerry area and Limerick than with Cork.

Probably the south Kerry region would have more affinity with south west Cork than north Kerry even though in the same county. Although I do not particularly like to see the county divided the north and south regions are now encompassed in regions with which they can easily identify. I shall refer to some problems I envisage later through such division.

The mid-west region has now emerged as an autonomous entity which has been an innovator in industrial, commercial, cultural and social development over the past 20 years, the Shannon estuary being the focal point of the region. It is one of the most spectacular, safe, deep water harbours in Europe with considerable potential. The development of maritime industry in the estuary has been spectacular since 1965. For example, that year the oil terminal to accommodate 60,000 tonne vesels came on stream at Foynes Island for Irish Cement Limited. That was followed, in 1969, by the opening of the Tarbert power station with a jetty that can accommodate vessels of up to 80,000 tonnes. In 1973 the oil jetty at Dervish Island to serve the aviation needs of Shannon Airport was completed. The availablity of that facility resulted in the decision of Aeroflot to locate their aviation fuel tank near the jetty resulting in employment at the airport and on the jetty itself. The construction of the Aughinish Alumina Plant, which was commenced in 1978 and completed in 1983, was a major boost to the area, providing much needed employment, now employing in the order of 800 people. Indeed the success of the Aughinish Alumnia plant has been spectacular. It is most encouraging to note that there may be future extensions to that plant.

In 1979 the ESB commenced construction of the Moneypoint power station which was completed in 1987 now providing in the region of 350 jobs. I might thank the Government for having extended the role of the Moneypoint power station last year enabling them to import coal on a commercial basis. That was a welcome move in the sense that a jetty which cost in the region of £40 million should not be allowed to remain idle and unused. There should be as much use as possible made of it for the benefit of the area generally. There are also very advanced port facilities on the jetty at Moneypoint. It is only right that maximum use be made of these facilities because of the investment made in them.

The development of Foynes Harbour has been spectacular over the past ten years. Deputy Kemmy referred to the Harbours (Shannon Estuary Development Corporation) Bill 1988. I agree with some of the points he made in that respect. I hope later to relate SFADCo to proposed developments for SEDCo. I pity industrialists endeavouring to differentiate between the two.

I think Deputy Kemmy, in referring to it, more or less criticised Deputy Martin Cullen who on this proposal had sought to deal with that matter. We take it that your references will be peripheral.

In regard to Foynes there is a very good harbour commission there who work very effectively. One could safely say that outside of Dublin they have probably been the most successful harbour commisison in the country, turning over massive tonnage at present and that is on the increase. They compete with all other ports including Greenore in County Down and they are winning a lot of business. Any attempt to break up that dynamism in Foynes would not be welcome. As I have said, I will have another opportunity when the SFADCo Bill comes before the House to point out the flaws in relation to Foynes.

I would like briefly to mention the background to the setting up of the Shannon Free Airport Development Company. In 1958 Shannon Airport was about to lose its strategic relevance to world aviation. The new long haul jets no longer needed to stop over at Shannon for refuelling and the airport was in danger of losing its significance or indeed becoming insignificant. The Shannon Development Company was established in 1958-59 to ensure that the airport continued to be used. The main means of doing this was the development of industry near the airport and the development of tourism through the airport. From 1958 to 1968 the company's industrial development activities were limited to the development and promotion of the Shannon industrial free zone and indeed many more countries copied this model of Shannon.

In 1968 the Government requested the company to undertake the promotion of foreign industrial investment in the Shannon region which it did successfully until 1978. At that time the Minister for Industry and Commerce changed the regional industrial focus of the company from foreign medium to large industries to indigenous small industry. They asked the company to initiate and test various programmes for small industry promotion and development which, if successful, could be applied nationally. I am sure the Minister would agree that they carried out this function very effectively. Many of the programmes for small industry that they put into practice have proven very successful for the rest of the country and indeed are used as examples.

In 1987 the company were given the extended brief for the promotion and development of all industry and tourism in the Shannon region and I would like to compliment the Government for their foresight in doing this. It is in keeping with the recommendations of the Hume Report and certainly with the recent publication by Deputy John Bruton on how he sees regional structures developing. He pointed out the advantages of SFADCo in maximising our income from Europe. That certainly seems to be the right type of structure. The decision by the Government to extend the role of SFADCo in 1987 was a major development. For the first time in the history of the Republic it brought the major strands of economic activity, including industry and tourism, within the ambit of one development agency. As I have said, this is in keeping with both John Hume's and Deputy John Bruton's thinking on the matter.

The southern region now has an organisational framework for integrated regional development and as a result should benefit considerably from European funding. The region will also benefit from a more co-ordinated approach to development. It will certainly avoid much unnecessary overlapping and waste of very scarce resources. There has been rapid growth in the Shannon area in the past 20 years. The population of Limerick city has grown by almost 15,000 people in that period. However, there is a warning here for a peripheral area like Kerry. Places like north Tipperary, west Clare and, to a lesser extent, west Limerick did not benefit to the same extent as the area along the axis from Shannon to Limerick. This is something that we in north Kerry will have to be very wary of because we could suffer just as places like west Clare and north Tipperary did.

When I was trying to promote this idea in 1986 I carried out a survey for The Kerryman which I will not go into here. I came up with figures which showed that south Tipperary, with a population about one-third higher than north Tipperary, was in receipt of more than twice the State grant payments over a five year period as north Tipperary were receiving. As Deputies know, south Tipperary is in the IDA region, the south west region, and north Tipperary is in the SFADCo region. I will be telling the people in north Kerry to be wary and not to be over enthusiastic about this deveopment, to recognise the advantages for us but not to take everything at face value.

The same study revealed that west Clare and indeed west Limerick did not fare too well although considerable progress has been made in the last three or four years in places like Abbeyfeale and Newcastle West. The study also revealed that Kerry, in particular north Kerry, fared very well from 1982 to 1986 compared with places like Mayo. In Listowel, for example, the trend was totally different from the rest of the country. The number of people in manufacturing employment at that time increased by 100. I heard Deputy Foley criticising the IDA for their performance in north Kerry but they have also had their successes in that region. There are reasons north Kerry did not benefit to the same extent as other areas in the south west region, one of which is that it is a peripheral area.

Much of the growth in the Limerick area has been attributable to the dynamism of Shannon with its industrial estate, airport, duty free shop and financial centre. Again, the IDA have made a major contribution to the city by developing industrial estates at Raheen and Plassey which are now home to such successful industries as Wang, How-medica, Verbatim and Analog. It was the IDA, in consultation and co-operation with SFADCo, who brought those industries to Limerick and that must be acknowledged. The NIHE have also had a profound influence on the local community. They have been the source of inspiration for the National Microelectronics Centre which is located on the campus and is a very fine innovation. This should lead to the development of the electronics industry in the region. In Kerry there is already a good base for electronics industries. There is one of the largest PCB producers in Listowel — Melchert Electronics Limited — and there are very positive developments in electronics in Tralee. NIHE works very closely with the industries on the nearby Plassey Technological Park and no doubt provides much of the expertise and the workforce for the industry. It has contributed in no small way to the success of Wang, Verbatim and Analog because most of their personnel came from NIHE. I welcome the announcement that NIHE will now become the University of Limerick. NIHE was originally proposed in the sixties. Much of the credit should go to the former Minister for Education, Deputy Hussey, who set up the commission to examine the feasibility of declaring NIHE both in Dublin and in Limerick as universities. A matter which has escaped the media is that it was Deputy Hussey who set up the Hardiman committee which recommended that this should happen.

The University of Limerick will now become the focal point for turning out the right type of person to encourage various industries into the region and will certainly provide the required expertise. The back-up services should be a major attraction for foreign industrialists coming into the region. Within the new region there are great possibilities for more definite lines of communication between the RTC in Tralee, which has considerable resources, and NIHE in Limerick. There should be some connection between the courses and much consultation for the benefit of both areas. Tralee is the second biggest centre in the region. Therefore many of the resources of SFADCo which I will mention later, will be concentrated in the Tralee area.

I would like to refer briefly to the development of small industries. Shannon Development have been very successful in promoting small indigenous industry and have set in train a number of very effective support systems. These include enterprise promotion, field officers and business centres which provide valuable work space units. We have lost out in north Kerry because of the absence of these facilities. Work space units provide a means for small enterprises to combine to share premises and services. A large range of support services is provided, such as secretarial assistance, maintenance, power, lighting and specialist business advice. These units are ideally suited to light manufacture, assembly, craft work design and locally related services. The innovation centre provides a comprehensive product development service for small firms and — as I mentioned previously — the National Microelectronic Centre promotes the use of micro electronics technology by all sectors of Irish industry.

Shannon Development took on board over two years ago the promotion of food processing. This has major implications in North Kerry. With one of the biggest food processors now located in Kerry this will extend the whole base of food processing in the area. In relation to food processing Shannon Development have devised and implemented a number of new initiatives some of which have already been adopted nationally. The most successful of these has been the Raheen Food Centre where food processing units are available to entrepreneurs. The centre has been built to stringent international standards designed to meet US food and drug administration and EC standards. Incubation units for small food processing firms are also available which provide facilities to develop and test new food products.

Another ongoing support programme for small food firms is the alternative farm enterprise scheme. The aim is to encourage producers of raw materials to establish small scale on-farm enterprises and process the materials into high value products. These developments and initiatives in the food sector have enormous relevance to north Kerry. Farming is our most important industry with recent problems surrounding milk quotas we will have to examine other ventures for processing our products. Recent developments in producing farm cheeses have been very successful. The Traditional Cheese Company has had outstanding success in developing and marketing premium Irish farmhouse cheeses. These cheeses are being sold into restaurants and supermarkets all over Europe. Two years ago the National Development Corporation took a 33 per cent investment in this company and is now looking at the whole export market potential for further expansion.

Farm activities will become more diverse in the future and will incorporate such ventures as organic gardening, fresh farm chickens, home produced pate, honey production, mushroom growing, tree harvesting and farm holidays. Shannon Development has had a direct involvement in tourist attractions, especially its medieval banquets at Bunratty and Knappogue.

With increasing pressure being put on milk quotas the encouragement and development of alternative farm enterprises is most welcome. I look forward to working closely with Shannon Development in north Kerry towards encouraging as many farmers as possible to diversify into other alternative enterprises. With the new emphasis on fresh food, wholesome food, health foods and so forth there is obviously a major niche in the market for this type of activity. There has been a tradition in north Kerry of cheesemaking, bacon production and so on, but many of these old occupations are now extinct. It is time to rekindle an awareness within our community of the vast potential we have to develop activities along these lines.

I mentioned also the direct involvement in tourism activities of SFADCo, especially in relation to Bunratty and Knappogue. In 1986, over 150,000 people attended such banquets. The Bunratty Folk Park has also been an outstanding success. Other projects such as the restoration of the Granary in Limerick, the proposal to develop King John's Castle into a major tourist centre including an emigration centre, the development of Lough Gur and the reconstruction there of medieval houses and other artefacts from that time are welcome. I would like also to welcome the development of a tourist innovation centre similar to the small industry innovation centre. This centre should encourage people to look at various aspects of tourism and train people to become involved in tourism. It is a welcome development.

I would like to mention the development of a monastic park in Roscrea and the development of the Foynes aviation and maritime museum. SFADCo have been very successful in promoting this type of development. They have not rested on their laurels since their remit was extended to include promotion of tourism in the area. I was glad to hear my colleague from north Kerry mention the great potential in north Kerry for golf. SFADCo are promoting through the recent establishment of South West Golf Limited the various golf courses in the region. We expect to have a major spin off from this in north Kerry with one of the finest golf courses in the world located in Ballybunion. In time, the new golf course will probably become even more famous than the existing one. With a golf course in Lahinch, a new course in Tralee, and two courses in Ballybunion I expect that we will attract an increasing number of golfing tourists because of the increased availability of facilities and the aggressive marketing of these facilities abroad, especially in America. Last year approximately 15,000 people used Ballybunion golf course and this figure could probably be doubled and the season extended by proper marketing. Counties Kerry and Clare have the natural advantage that golf can be played all year around, whereas in many inland courses, especially in North America the season is curtailed by weather conditions. There is great potential in golf promotion and I look forward to seeing progress in this area.

Deputy Foley referred to Cork-Kerry Tourism. I agree that Cork-Kerry Tourism played a very prominent role in the development of tourism in the area. However, we in the north Kerry area did not benefit to the same extent as south Kerry, as I think Cork-Kerry Tourism were trying to promote a different type of tourism and were trying to attract a different market segment. South Kerry is probably one of the most scenic spots in the country if not in the world whereas north Kerry is mainly farmland. Nevertheless, there is a very rich cultural heritage in north Kerry. I would refer especially to areas like Lislaughlin Abbey, Carrigfoyle Castle, Ardfert Monastery and Cathedral, Blennerville Windmill and many other historical sites which will be developed now by SFADCo. Cork-Kerry Tourism did not promote cultural tourism and did not set out to attract the type of tourists who would be interested in heritage, culture and archaeology. North Kerry has a very rich cultural heritage and I hope we will be able to develop its potential to benefit the area.

I might add that tourism in north Kerry was not organised but I am now glad to say that a new north Kerry tourist federation has been set up and has drawn all the various villages and development associations together. When the federation is working in co-operation with SFADCo, this should lead to greater development of tourism. There will be a more vigorous promotion of the entertainment and activities available in the area. For example, Listowel Writers Week is probably one of the best kept secrets in the country but is recognised in some circles as being one of the best cultural events in Europe. The event is not promoted vigorously enough.

As I have mentioned previously, north Kerry did not fare too badly because of its involvement with the IDA. Before I leave this point, I would like to thank the IDA representatives, Mr. Michael Friel and his predecessor Mr. Brendan O'Sullivan for their efforts in promoting industry in the north Kerry region. I am sure that they were not at fault when we did not get the industries we had hoped for from the IDA.

North Kerry is within the Shannon region and it is only right that I should refer to the great development prospects of the River Shannon. The Shannon Estuary is a major under-utilised resource for industrial development. It has the best deep water berthage in Europe. The surrounding terrain is accessible and will need very little adjustment work. Nevertheless, this resource has never been developed to the extent that it should have been. I will refer briefly to a major study carried out by An Foras Forbartha in 1983. While I have no intention of going through the study in detail, I will comment on some points in it. I will quote from The Shannon Estuary Industrial Location Study by An Foras Forbartha, 1983:

The Shannon Estuary, with its sheltered, deep water, is considered to be a prime natural resource of the Mid-West Planning Region of Ireland, with considerable potential for the siting of manufacturing industries requiring a maritime location. However, like many locations favourable for industrial development on the periphery of Europe, the Shannon Estuary has considerable ecological, scenic and tourism value. It is important, therefore, to ensure that any development strategy in such areas is based on a compatible relationship between the operational characteristics of industry and the social and ecological environment.

That spells out the importance of developing the Shannon estuary both as an industrial location and as a potential area for tourism activities, such as water sports, marinas, et cetera. The study also refers to sea access to the estuary. A 1982 report on the dredging of a navigational channel concludes that:

current depth available as far as the Fergus estuary can cater for vessels of 170,000-200,000 d.w.t. at mean high water. Dredging to cater for vessels of 250,000 d.w.t. at high water only, would cost IR£3 million, and for vessels of 400,000 d.w.t. would cost IR£5 million.

No other port in Europe, apart from Rotterdam, has this natural advantage. For the very small sum of £3 million some of the biggest vessels in the world at present could navigate the Shannon. There must be considerable potential for transhipment alone. The study also identified major sites on the estuary and Ardmore Point and Ballylongford sites were identified jointly as the most suitable for all industrial types that it examined, including oil related heavy industry, shipbuilding, et cetera. I ask the Minister and indeed SFADCo to promote vigorously the Shannon estuary as an industrial location. The Shannon estuary suffered because of competition with Ringaskiddy where there had been massive investment in infrastructure. Certainly the same type of investment was not put into the Shannon Bank area. An industrialist looking for a deep sea berth comparing Ringaskiddy with the Shannon estuary will see that Ringaskiddy has all the infrastructural advantages and the Shannon estuary has all the natural advantages. I appeal to the Government and to SFADCo to plough the necessary resources into the Shannon estuary at least to make the place suitable for the setting up of an industry. At the moment there are no access roads to the area, which is just a green field site. All it has is the availability of power for the development of industry and the natural advantage of the river. I look forward to much more activity in the Shannon estuary.

North Kerry has been devastated by emigration. It is sickening for our young emigrants to know that this vast resource which cost about £5 million of taxpayers' money is being under-utilised. In the past, people in the area were misled. I remember a Fianna Fáil Minister going to turn the sod in Ballylongford for a smelter. That was just two weeks before an election and that was all we heard about the smelter. Even now there is speculation about the development of a smelter on the estuary. This type of rumour should be scotched as it is most unfair to raise the hopes and aspirations of the people only to dash them again. A programme should be devised for the development of the area which could be promoted vigorously in Japan, America and Europe among people with resources to invest in the Shannon estuary. The Government and SFADCo should make the necessary investment to make this region attractive for intending developers.

Up to now the Clare and Limerick portions of the estuary were in the Shannon region and north Kerry was in the south west region. The new unified region will allow a comprehensive approach to be taken towards the planning, promotion and development of the estuary.

The estuary will be promoted and marketed as one unit. Economic investigations and other studies on the estuary will be done and the estuary will be developed as a whole. Within the framework of SFADCo and with the new regional structural funding, far more structured development can take place in the area and the area will benefit as a result.

The Minister referred to the Limerick/Tralee route. I hope the Minister has not forgotten Listowel. The Limerick/Tralee access must include Listowel. The national primary route leading from west Limerick to north Kerry by-passes the major part of north Kerry. It is important that north Kerry is not forgotten. The only stretch of national primary road in north Kerry is between Headley Bridge and Feale Bridge in Tralee via Castleisland. That is a very small stretch of road. I hope the Minister does not see that road as the main access to Kerry. The main access from Limerick to Kerry, indeed from Clare to the ferry, is through Tarbert, Listowel, Tralee. That area must be developed. I mentioned the possibilities for Tralee Regional College. Hopefully there will be strong links between it and NIHE.

I enthusistically welcome this Bill which I have been calling for since I came into politics. I would like the Minister and SFADCo to ensure that there will be a SFADCo presence in all of the north Kerry area. It is proposed that the main office should be in Tralee. That is appropriate as Tralee is the biggest centre of population outside of Limerick but there should be a presence in Listowel also. In order to get the people of north Kerry behind it, SFADCo must have a presence in Listowel, even on a once a week basis.

SFADCo have been upgrading tourist offices throughout Limerick and Clare. I would ask them to ensure that there will be tourist offices in Tralee, Listowel and Ballybunion. Apart from the success of the golf club, Ballybunion has died over the past ten years. I appeal to SFADCo to use the natural advantages in Ballybunion to reverse the downward trend of the resort which is due to the small amount of investment in Ballybunion. The resort has no proper sewage treatment facility, so that last year a survey carried out showed that Ballybunion has the dirtiest beach in the country. I appeal to the Government to give the go ahead to the scheme that has been ready for the past two years which would give Ballybunion a proper sewage treatment plant which would help to raise environmental standards.

When SFADCo come into north Kerry they should harness the goodwill and dynamism of the people who are very hard working people. If SFADCo can harness their enthusiasm we will see major improvements in the area.

The difference between the IDA and SFADCo is that SFADCo have people out on the ground whereas the IDA are office oriented because of lack of manpower. I hope SFADCo utilise their great advantage in north Kerry.

I have a few reservations about this Bill, one being that Kerry will be a divided county. There are enough divisions in the country. I hope Kerry will not suffer from the division. Development within the county should not become fragmented or unco-ordinated. The county development team or the county council should ensure balanced development of the county. Funds will come to the Limerick and Cork regions and, for example, there could be major road improvements in north Kerry and there may not be corresponding improvements in south Kerry so that a good road would run into a narrow, badly repaired road. It is very important that there is co-operation between the mid-west region and the south-west region and that Kerry County Council will have a pivotal role to play in the future development of that area. Otherwise there could be unbalanced development of the county and the people in Kerry who oppose this Bill, because the county is being divided, are afraid this will happen.

I should like to point out — and I have mentioned this already in the Estimates — that this year the allocation for SFADCo has been reduced. Can the Minister tell me how he expects the same number of staff or even fewer staff, to do more with less money? This does not make sense. The case has to be made for a supplementary estimate for SFADCo because of the extension of their remit. Perhaps the Estimates were prepared before the Government decided to extend the remit of SFADCo to north Kerry. I believe the physical and financial resources of SFADCo will be stretched too much and the company will be less effective if they are not given more resources. It seems a contradiction to decrease the funding for SFADCo on the one hand and increase their remit on the other. Something has to suffer, and I am afraid it will be the peripheral areas, such as west Clare, north Tipperary and north Kerry.

I referred earlier to the new SEDCo Bill. This will lead to much confusion. SEDCo will be the Shannon Estuary Development Corporation as opposed to SFADCo, the Shannon Free Airport Development Company. A proposed new authority will be set up in the SFADCo region but there is no need for this. There is a need for a ports authority for the Shannon Estuary but this new Bill as proposed by the Minister for the Marine, Deputy Brendan Daly, is irrelevant and is not practical. The Government should accept the Fine Gael Bill which was prepared after four years of background work by Deputy Jim Mitchell, then Minister for Communications, who consulted groups in Kilrush, Foynes, Kerry and Limerick and got universal approval for his Bill. Then, out of the blue, this Government brought forward their Bill, which I believe has very little local input and seems to be very shallow. This Bill will cause enormous problems for port users in Foynes and other ports and it will also do a great deal of damage to Foynes itself. What is needed in the estuary is a harbours Bill, not a development Bill.

May I interrupt the Deputy for a moment? I do not know which Bill the Deputy is speaking about. The Harbours (Shannon Estuary Development Corporation) Bill will be debated this afternoon and perhaps the Deputy is speaking on the wrong Bill at present.

The Chair should read the Minister's speech.

The Minister referred to the Bill in his speech. This is very important because if this Bill goes ahead it will take away from the role of SFADCo in the region and will make a farce of the whole thing. The only reason the SEDCo Bill was put forward is because Fine Gael had a ports Bill. As the Chair said, I will have an opportunity of speaking on the SEDCo Bill later.

I welcome this Bill even though I have some reservations about it because of the inherent dangers I see in it for north Kerry. However, we cannot be any worse off than we are at present. There has been very little activity there for the past two years, very few jobs were created, although we had promises of jobs over the next three years. All we have are mass unemployment and mass emigration. There is some hope that SFADCo will reverse that trend and I look forward to working with them. They can be guaranteed my total support and I will encourage all the development associations in north Kerry and the various community groups to support the company and to give them every opportunity to put their plans in motion in the north Kerry region.

Deputy D. O'Malley rose.

Acting Chairman

I am calling Deputy Carey.

It is normal, Sir, to rotate the speakers among parties rather than to call them successively from the same party.

Acting Chairman

I came into the Chair at 12.30 p.m. and I have a list of speakers before me. The next speaker on the list is Deputy Carey and the speaker after him will be Deputy O'Malley.

I am not going to make a fuss about it but it is, to say the least, unusual.

Acting Chairman

Seven speakers have already contributed on the Bill and the spokesperson for each party has already spoken. I am calling Deputy Carey.

Like Deputy O'Malley I have an interest in the Shannon Free Airport Development Company and their operations. Having read the Minister's speech and listened to Deputy Deenihan, I believe the Shannon Free Airport Development Company are admired nationally, and I suppose in north Kerry too, for some of the good things they have done. In my area, the company have been the hub of much industrial activity for which my constituents and the mid-west region are most grateful.

SFADCo is a public limited company set up in 1959 and has been reviewed under several Acts of the Oireachtas — the last in 1986. At that time, the company were being examined by the Committee of Public Accounts, and Members were very critical of some aspects of the company's performance, particularly the cost per job. Since then this matter seems to have receded into the background. Today this new Bill extends the remit of the Shannon Free Airport Development Company to include north Kerry. For the reasons outlined by Deputy Deenihan, I welcome that provision in the Bill that will include north Kerry but I am not too happy about the performance of the company since 1986. In particular, I am not impressed by the latest announcement by Ministers that 2,800 jobs were created in the mid-west region. The impression being given is that SFADCo have been very successful in promoting new jobs and creating employment in my area. However, of those 2,800 jobs 2,300 were in companies which existed already. While I appreciate that companies may need assistance to create new jobs, I object to the excessive hype attached to this so-called success. When we look at the figures we see that 500 jobs were created in about 80 projects, six jobs per project. That must be measured against the huge unemployment. In the town of Shannon alone there are nearly 600 people unemployed, and that is a new town. The Minister issues a script to the national newspapers about the great success in job creation in our area but is that genuine at all? There are huge sums of taxpayers' money being poured into Shannon development. There is no lack of employment in SFADCo.

When the last Bill came before the House the topics at that time were the cost per job and how effective the development was. SFADCo were going to take a new role in producing an annual target, an annual programme, and we would all see where the progress came from. They said that there would be an in-depth analysis of the workings of the company, whether too many were employed on the estate side or on the promotion side, or whether there was any duplication on the tourism side. Since this Government came to power they have given a new remit to the tourism side. They said there was duplication between Shannonside and SFADCo. They did not say, however, that Shannonside were almost self-sufficient, that their work in the promotion of tourism in Limerick and the mid-west was more or less paid for by activities in which they were themselves involved in the craft area and which were supplementing employment

The Government, in their wisdom, decided that that company should be subsumed into a semi-State company funded by the taxpayer. I do not know who will get a judgment on whether this has been cost-effective. Certainly, the Public Expenditure Committee found great difficulty in establishing the real cost per job in SFADCo. The executives of that company and the board would be better employed in finally establishing the cost basis and publishing the figures. When we had the announcement of the 2,800 new jobs, we should also have been given the cost per job and when the jobs would come on stream. That should be very easy. They have the expertise. Deputy Deenihan pointed out that SFADCo have the benefit of high technology. All they have to do is hook into some reasonable computer system and they will get all this information.

In my constituency and in the mid-west in general there is much cynicism. The Minister may feel very important when announcing new jobs, as he did recently in south Kerry. A number of projects were announced by the IDA. It was no coincidence that the Minister for Industry and Commerce should come into the House today and announce that north Kerry would be taken over by SFADCo. That only results in a degree of competition. It provokes one promotion body into competing with the other—the IDA and SFADCo. That is what is really giving cause for much concern in that whole area. If these two bodies want to promote foreign investment in this country they must compete with bodies from the UK and Europe. They seem to spend more time competing against each other for space in the national press. The Minister, rather than promoting his own image, should be examining the real value that the taxpayer is getting from the promotion agencies.

Deputy Deenihan has lauded all the activities of SFADCo, but companies that I know of on the Shannon industrial estate were involved in the 2,300 new industrial jobs. There is a great headline about the success of industrial promotion in the region, but it is new players that we want. SFADCo are a good originating company. They spent five or six years trying to promote the financial services area as one for location of new jobs here. At every hand's turn they were blocked by the moguls in Merrion Street, in the Department of Finance. If these were not satisfied, the Central Bank people said that it could not be done at all. But financial services were included in the remit of SFADCo and, lo and behold, we have a new Taoiseach who will set up a new financial services area in the Custom House Dock site. He just hijacked the idea from SFADCo. In order to show how biased he was in favour of the Custom House Docks site, he sent all these important retired people from the Central Bank and the Departments of State to the other principal banking people and financial institutions abroad.

We in the mid-west must rely on SFADCo executives falling in with this high-powered committee to compete for the same financial services. Is the Minister behaving responsibly at all, or does anybody in the Government represent the mid-west? The Taoiseach announced recently that there would be a zero tax rate for the financial services in the docks site. When asked by either Deputy Noonan or Deputy O'Malley when the amending legislation would be brought in for SFADCo, he said that that would fall to the Department of Industry and Commerce. There is a Bill before us today amending the Shannon Free Airport Development Company Acts but it says nothing about zero rating for Shannon for financial services. I appreciate that the purpose of the Bill is to extend the remit into north Kerry. The docks site will have a running advantage with the zero tax rate. The players that have been attracted to SFADCo, GPA and others, would like a zero tax rate, too. Is it the Taoiseach's intention that any serious-minded fund manager who goes to SFADCo will be told that there are better services in the Custom House Docks site in Dublin? SFADCo were not looking for the huge number of jobs that the Taoiseach wants for the docks site. His monument will be built down there eventually, I am sure. Meanwhile there are huge numbers of young people emigrating from the mid-west region, skilled people with second level education second to none. There are also the NIHE providing third level education. SFADCo have some good aspects. They are integrating third level education and industrial promotion and I commend them for that. However, I am most disappointed with the performance of the Government in relation to financial services and the way in which they have treated SFADCo. They are being given this new role and the executives in the development company are giving the impression that the great challenge represented by the extension to Kerry will change matters. Sooner or later some Minister for Industry and Commerce will ask how much job promotion is costing the taxpayer and whether the taxpayer will continue to bear it. The IDA and SFADCo are masters at marketing their own product. If all these factors were taken into account, what would be the true cost per job?

The Minister referred to the valuable natural attributes of the Shannon estuary. He referred to the fresh water supply and natural gas. I would point out that natural gas is available on the southern side but not on the northern side. Will the Clare gas link be forgotten about, with the inclusion of Kerry in the region? The Minister for the Marine is to bring in another Bill relating to the same estuary. This will involve a further diffusion of funds which are badly needed for all sides of the estuary. It is not desirable that the new company proposed by the Minister for the Marine should have to compete with Shannon Development for funds from Brussels. Surely we should be trying to consolidate our resources in the mid-west in order to compete effectively. We have to compete not only economically but politically. It is a sad day when original ideas are unashamedly hijacked by the Taoiseach, as in the case of the Financial Services Centre. He has never denied it, although I have asked him about it several times.

This is an opportunity to examine the role of SFADCo. The former general manager, Mr. Quigley, was quick to point out to the Oireachtas Committee on Public Expenditure that real opportunities were presented when Acts were introduced in 1961, 1963, 1965, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1983 and 1986. That illustrates the attention which has been given to this promotion agency. In the new competitive scene after 1992 SFADCo will have to slim down their operations somewhat. If not, they will have to show value for money. They have an extensive role in tourism. Deputy Deenihan has pointed out the many tourist attractions which exist in north Kerry and all over the mid-west. These are being well packaged.

The development of terminal traffic at Shannon Airport should be included in the remit of the company. There has been dissension from time to time between the two agencies promoting the airport, Aer Rianta and SFADCo. The Government might give further examination to their respective roles in the promotion of terminal traffic. A greater effort by Aer Rianta might yield greater results. We have also suffered from claims by people in a regional airport in County Mayo about greater advantages being given to the mid-west region because of the Shannon Free Airport Development Company. The people who want to promote Knock are quite entitled to make their claims but Ministers for Transport and Tourism in this and previous Governments have indicated that Shannon should be the sole trans-Atlantic airport for Ireland. While the people in Knock want to expand the facilities at their own airport, they are actually making a case for direct flights from the United States to Dublin Airport. It is noticeable that during the past few weeks nobody has said anything about the intentions of airlines flying into Dublin Airport. It would be a disaster to change the status of Shannon as the sole trans-Atlantic airport. The national airline, Aer Lingus, must give a commitment that for the foreseeable future they will support Shannon's status.

Shannon Free Airport Development Company should promote the facilities at Shannon Airport. I was glad to read today that GPA are to become involved with a company refurbishing aircraft at Shannon. This is a welcome move. Are SFADCo encouraging companies like GPA with regard to the overhaul and servicing of aircraft? We have the necessary facilities, although Aer Lingus have abandoned them. Now that GPA have put their toe into the water, SFADCo should ask them to approach other airlines with a view to having their servicing carried out at Shannon. Apart from the facilities, we have a skilled workforce. In view of current suspicion about the quality of workmanship in new aircraft coming from Boeing and other manufacturers, it would be beneficial to GPA to use the facilities at Shannon and thereby reassure the people to whom they lease aircraft as to their safety.

Deputy Deenihan referred to the food processing mandate of SFADCo. He also spoke about the quality of the units on the Raheen Industrial Estate. As far as I am aware, two major concerns in that promotion have failed. The State had a substantial investment in the Limerick Bacon Company and while I understand it may be taken over by another company, it is not the Irish company which originally operated there. I am not impressed by the progress made by SFADCo in the food area although the management of the company indicated it would be a major job-creating sector in the future. Certainly they were impressive and some of the small industry products shown there had quality and value written all over them. Since then the promotion of the food sector seems to have died. SFADCo had also been talking about bio-technology in food and other areas, which does not seem to have been followed up. Part of the problem emanated from the flush of new roles conferred on them by the Government. This led to the demise of Shannonside which could have almost paid for itself if it had been allowed to continue. I am glad that Kerry is now involved, as SFADCo may make a greater impact in this area. However, there should be an internal examination of their activities because, in the long run, the executives will be the losers unless they pursue this course.

There does not seem to be great liaison between Departments in dealing with the problems of SFADCo. I have already referred to the Department of the Marine taking over the promotional aspects of the Department of Industry and Commerce. The Department of Industry and Commerce want SFADCo, and the Department of the Marine want SEDCo. It also seems that the Department of the Environment do not want to finalise the changeover of town houses to Clare County Council. I do not know what is going on but a former Minister for Industry and Commerce set the deadline for the transfer of the houses in Shannon to Clare County Council. When will this changeover take place? Will it be finalised in 1989? Will the Department of Industry and Commerce allow the development company to play their real role of creating jobs?

By the incorporation of north Kerry into Shannon Development, the company are now increasing their scope in the food processing area because the people in north Kerry are very good farmers. Kerry Co-operative plc should be involved in joint ventures and in researching and developing products for export. It is time that SFADCo were more involved directly with the farmers, producers, co-operatives and milk companies. SFADCo have a huge task ahead of them and I hope they will not be impeded by other problems arising in this Bill. They need time to promote all the aspects of the Shannon mid-west region, the estuary and all the other natural resources in the area.

This Bill, I would have thought, gave the Minister for Industry and Commerce an opportunity to deal with some very important policy matters at present with industrial promotion and development policy generally which need to be debated with the regional promotional policy which should be undertaken, not least in the context of the changes and increases now proposed in the Structural Funds. I thought, before I came in here this morning, that these matters would be dealt with appropriately. Instead of that we got eight pages of minor Departmental clichés. One would think that industrial policy, the changes that must necessarily take place and the development of our regional organisation and of regions generally within this country and the Community were of no consequence.

We got a load of facile and ridiculous information like telling us that there are 20 million gallons of fresh water available per day in the Shannon Estuary and that there are two power stations there. We were also told about the good harbour, natural gas and so on. That sort of thing, unfortunately, does not add to our knowledge nor does it solve any of the many problems that exist in relation to these matters.

For anyone looking at the industrial and general economic promotional scene at present, the factor above all others that would strike him is the proliferation of agencies and the overlapping of those agencies. That matter of course was not adverted to in the mini-script which the Minister read but it lies at the kernel of our difficulties. These promotional State agencies are going through a period of crisis. Their morale is low, their results are poor and they are a bit mystified. particularly by comparison with the relative success they had approximately ten years ago, that they should be in the difficulties in which they find themselves today. As some Members said, particularly Deputy Carey, one of the principal concerns of all these agencies is their own institutional welfare. If they, as an institution, seem to be getting on all right, the task they were originally established to fulfil seems in some strange way to be overlooked.

I have plenty of experience of speaking on Bills such as this and I have found that if one rises to speak on a Bill such as this and talks in glowing terms of the agency concerned, they will meet you a week or two later and out of the sides of their mouths they thank you profoundly for having said "the right thing". If one is in any sense critical of the policies they are pursuing, or the manner in which they are pursuing them, this would be regarded as the wrong thing no matter how logical or compelling your arguments may be.

I have found in a way that is relevant to this Bill that even though they profoundly disagee with what they are being asked to do, they still want you to support them in doing something they know, and you know, is wrong. Their reasons for asking for that support is that otherwise it will affect the institutional morale of the agency concerned. Quite frankly, I think we should be able to grow above that type of personalised institutional welfare and we should look at the needs and tasks involved rather than the personal or corporate future of some of the individuals who work in some of these agencies.

I am afraid these agencies are in a state of some disarray. They do not know where they are going. It occurred to me as long ago as seven, eight or nine years, that it was becoming increasingly difficult to justify the separate existence of CTT and the IDA. If that was the case seven, eight or nine years ago, it is even more so today, but none of those questions have been raised or discussed here, let alone answered. The reasons for the continuous institutional autonomy of some of these agencies at times escape me. When one argues it with them, one finds that in some way they would regard it as a reflection on themselves if the existing institutional arrangements were changed and that, in a sense, is the bottom line. This is not good enough. It is quite clear from the speech made by the Minister today that at Government level where there should be, and has to be, an overview of the situation, there is no such overview, that they are all going along in their narrow tunnels trying to find a bit of light from their own point of view at the end of each little tunnel and that the Government is an institution who vaguely presides on top but does nothing to bring together the various institutional and other strands of development or promotion in the way in which it should be done.

If one wants a perfect example of what I am talking about, one only has to take a look at today's Order Paper, and at the legislation ordered for discussion by this House today. The first item is the Bill we are discussing now — the Shannon Free Airport Development Company Limited (Amendment) Bill, 1988, which states, among other things, that the IDA shall not operate in the mid-west region, that Bord Fáilte shall not operate in the mid-west region. The third item on the list for discussion later today is the Bill entitled the Harbours (Shannon Estuary Development Corporation) Bill, 1988. Section 4 of that Bill sets out the functions of the corporation. The first is to promote, co-ordinate and develop, in conjunction with Bord Fáilte Éireann, the Industrial Development Authority, the Shannon Free Airport Development Company Limited and the appropriate local authority, investment in industrial, projects and so on. The two are totally incompatible.

Where is the overview on the programme of legislation ordered in this House today? What coherence is there in the business ordered? Each of these items reached the particular point they are at because all sorts of agencies were fighting their own battles within their Departments. That is the course of public administration. I have often said both inside and outside of this House that these jurisdictional rows which go on all the time between Departments and agencies under Departments are the curse of public administration. If they attacked the problems of the country with the same vigour as they defend their own respective departmental and agency jurisdictions this country would have little to fear.

I speak from personal experience on these matters because I think I was the second longest serving Minister for Industry and Commerce in this country, second only to Seán Lemass. I know something of these matters. The vigour with which these jurisdictional boundaries are defended is one of the big drawbacks in promotion and development. On today's Order of Business we have a classic example of this. Today we are being asked to pass two Bills, each of which contradicts the other. Where is the sense in that? Where is the overview? Where is the Cabinet responsibility in relation to this matter? Where are we going and, in particular, where are the people of the mid-west region going? The Minister in his mini address this morning said this would rationalise things within the region and would make it easier to draw it all together, to use his own phrase. Why on the very day does one of his colleagues create another agency to perform the functions that are already being performed by the Industrial Development Authority, Bord Fáilte and the Shannon Free Airport Development Company? How can we rationalise and draw them together if at the same time we create another agency which would add a further layer which would overlap what for some years has been an unacceptable level of overlap that would not be tolerated in any other country, and which would not be tolerated in this country if someone was prepared to take an overview and say that these people should come together and stop this nonsense?

The principal purpose of this Bill, as outlined by the Minister this morning, is to add north Kerry to the mid-west region. I want to make it pefectly clear that I do not have the slightest objection to this proposal. It makes sense to me, and I said this perhaps ten years ago. It could and should have been done then. I recall that about ten or 11 years ago I added in south and west Offaly to the region and I should have brought in north Kerry too because it is quite illogical not to have one of the most important shores along the estuary included. I welcome the Bill from that point of view.

What is of consequence now is whether north Kerry will be any better off. One of the reasons I ask this question is that the greatest asset of north Kerry is its shoreline along the Shannon estuary. It is unique, particularly at a point near Ballylongford, in having 80 feet of water at low tide within 30 or 40 metres of a level shore. Nowhere else in the continent of Europe, other than in northern Norway, has God put those advantages. That is what is valuable about it — 80 feet of water at low tide within a stone's throw of a level shore.

What has been happening in relation to this land which in industrial development and infrastructural terms is possibly the most valuable land in Europe today? The IDA have it up for sale. They want to get rid of it. They spent thousands of pounds advertising it, auctioning it, putting it out to tender and all the rest of it, and the only people they could get to buy it were local farmers who were offering agricultural rates for it, who themselves were the original vendors and were hoping to buy it back for about one tenth or one twentieth of what they got for it ten years ago.

I intervened and asked the managing director of the IDA to have sense and not sell this land. The IDA's reply was that they were under instructions from the Government to get rid of it. I think the Government were right to tell the IDA to get rid of much of their land because they have thousands of acres all over the country which is of no particular value. If they ever need land again in an area they can go out and buy it, probably much more cheaply today than it would have been ten years ago, but the one bit of land they have in Ireland that should not be sold is the bit they made the greatest fuss and the effort and spent the most money trying to sell. That was potentially the most valuable piece of land in Europe, the jewel in north Kerry's crown. SFADCo as a local regional organisation, a very good one of its kind, will never be able to develop that piece of land in the way they need to because it is land that is ideally suited to heavy industrial development, and of its nature most heavy industrial development will not be indigenous; it will come from abroad. That land will have to be promoted abroad and the investment in relation to it more than likely will predominantly have to come from abroad.

The Government decided in July 1987, for reasons they have never explained satisfactorily and in respect of which I and others have some theories, to banish the IDA and Bord Fáilte from the mid-west region. There is an inherent and basic conflict there as well as conflict between this Bill and the Shannon Estuary Bill we are supposed to debate later today. There is a conflict in relation to the decision of July 1987, which has no rational basis. You cannot take a small region out of a small country and tell it to go out into the world and promote itself against its own country and every other country for the apparently declining amount of mobile international investment available. That is what they are expected to do, and the IDA confirmed to me, I suppose much to their anger and embarrassment, though they need not feel embarrassed because it was not their own choice — that they have circulated abroad in their offices and elsewhere in the course of their promotional work in the past year a map of Ireland on which two parts of this island are blanked out. The two parts blanked out are Northern Ireland about which the IDA, the Government nor anybody else can do nothing at the moment or for the foreseeable future. The other part of Ireland blanked out on the same basis is the midwestern region. Both of these areas are non-existent so far as the promotion of this country abroad is concerned.

That is not good enough. I am not blaming the IDA. When I remonstrated with them they asked what option they had and what they could do. They are not allowed even to retain an office in Limerick. They cannot promote this place. They cannot say it exists. They cannot say to people abroad it is some one else's job to sell it but they can help them out if they decide they want to come there. That makes absolutely no sense in respect of a tiny country like this. If the mid-west region were an American state with a population of ten or 15 million and very considerable resources the Government in Washington could well tell them to promote their own affairs, they have the resources, ability and everything else to do it. You cannot say to a little region in the middle of a little country when the whole country has a population of only 3.5 million and the region only a few hundred thousand, "Go off and promote yourself against your own country abroad and take on Ireland and see who is going to prevail". It does not make sense and all involved know that, although they cannot say it publicly. They do not want to take on the IDA and they cannot do so. They have no facilities. They have no overseas offices through which they can do it. If they are to build them up it means a total duplication of the IDA's facility. It is mad from this country's point of view that they should have to do so.

Similarly they cannot take on Bord Fáilte because if they were to do so we would have three promotional bodies trying to sell this island in tourism terms, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board trying to sell the Six Counties, Bord Fáilte trying to sell 22.4 counties or whatever it is and SFADCo trying to sell three counties plus two bits of two others. Everyone knows that makes no sense. The agencies who more than anyone else know it makes no sense meekly kowtow. I have no doubt they kick up murder within the Department; I heard they did so and asked what in God's name was going on in the Department and the Department shrugged their shoulders and said "we do not understand it any more than you do, it is a Government decision, you and I have to implement it and that is it". After that none of them pursued it because they felt it was not in the institutional welfare of their own agency to pursue the illogicality and, one might be entitled to say, the lunacy of it all. That is the way things work. You have to look after your own institution and you do not query things and you do not contribute to any debate on them. Everything is to be done behind closed doors and if you cannot prevail behind closed doors you do not prevail at all because you do not have a public debate. That is wrong and it is one reason we are declining so seriously in terms of industrial promotion not just in the mid-west region but in the country as a whole where the figures are so disastrous and have been so for quite a number of years.

I was trying to think back in the past week or two of when a major industry came to Limerick. I cannot remember the exact date but it was 1981 or 1982. Limerick and its immediately surrounding area have done relatively well by comparison with many other areas because much of what was put in there in the late seventies has prospered and continues to expand and to employ increasing numbers of people to this very day. Some of the finest factories in this country and in some respects in the world are in and around the city of Limerick, but that is just fortuitous. Nothing has gone in there and the same could be said of many other areas.

I watched a television programme about two weeks ago on the Limerick Unemployed Centre and the very good work that is being done there for the large number of persons who are unemployed. Persons interviewed on the programme quoted vast numbers of unemployed in and around that city. The figures are so bad that I question their accuracy. I accept that the position is bad but I do not think it is quite as bad as some of the figures quoted on that programme would suggest. However, I do accept that the position is pretty disastrous. It is unfortunate that there has been no examination of the employment situation in the region by the Minister. For example, we have not been told how many hundreds of thousands of square feet of empty factory space there is in the region. I would have thought that that was a very relevant factor. I am afraid that the figure is not just hundreds of thousands of square feet but runs to more than one million square feet. I would have thought that that was a relevant point to bring out in the course of this debate but it has been ignored. We were told that there is plenty of fresh water in the region and that there are two power stations there. One of the power stations has closed down because there is no demand for electricity. It is a great disappointment that power which is readily available for the development of heavy industry in that region, and on the estuary banks, is only available at a price which is perhaps one of the highest in Europe. If it were available at a reasonable price a great degree of development could take place.

In the last eight or nine years the most significant thing that happened in Shannon airport, and in the estate attached to it, was without question GPA. That company was not referred to by the Minister. From literally nothing in 1974 it has become a world leader. It is one of the very few Irish companies with a turnover in excess of $1 billion. That company has had enormous success and has brought huge benefit to this country and, in particular, to the mid-west region. What it has done, how it has done it and the various legal and institutional arrangements that underpinned it are of crucial importance and should be discussed in any debate on the future of industrial development in that region but it was not mentioned by the Minister. It is more important than perhaps 100 or 150 companies that were brought in by the IDA. That is the measure of its importance.

The original taxation or fiscal arrangements relating to Shannon trading licences expire in July 1990 — I do not think they go to December of that year. What will happen after that expiry date next year in relation to existing companies and those that may come in? The answer to that question is absolutely crucial to the future development of the region and, in particular, the airport and surrounding facilities. One hears all sorts of conflicting rumours as to what will happen and one hears that quiet little deals are being done behind the scenes and so on, that assurances, nods and winks are being given to X, Y and Z and that there is no need to worry. I do not think that is enough.

That issue should be discussed openly in the House. We should be told what the arrangements are and, if legislative changes are needed, if they will be introduced here and, if so, when and the nature of them. It is unreal to be talking about this region in the terms that the Minister for Industry and Commerce used this morning. It is a great disappointment that he would not avail of the opportunity to comment on some of the real problems and the real opportunities that exist in that region.

I remember making the suggestion ten years ago that the Shannon Free Airport Development Company was the body most suited to take over the development of the estuary as a whole and that that might be seen in the context of the difficulties that obtain in relation to a single estuarial harbour authority there. Various efforts were made by successive Governments in relation to that and various Bills were produced. I had reservations about the Bills we saw earlier but, to some extent, they were reservations of detail. I have more than reservations about what faces us on today's Order Paper and which we are supposed to discuss this afternoon. What they are now proposing is absolutely lunatic. It will totally undermine the position of SFADCo, the IDA and Bord Fáilte. Where do Bord Fáilte stand in relation to this? I have already examined the position of the IDA and I should like to know if Bord Fáilte are supposed to produce maps, as the IDA have, with Northern Ireland and the mid-west region blanked out?

The Deputy will appreciate that he is now indulging in repetition, something that we are trying to avoid. The Deputy has already made these points and, I suggest, rather tellingly.

I made those points in relation to the IDA and I was about to look at the tourist side.

The purpose of the legislation before us is to extend the region to include that of north Kerry for industrial development.

If that was all that was entailed my speech would be one minute. I would say that that would make sense and that it would not cause any bother but the reality, as so often is the case——

The Deputy will appreciate that his undoubted capacity to range rather widely does not automatically make this relevant to the legislation.

I agree that the extension into north Kerry is not a world or a region shattering event. It is the other things that are happening, or not happening in relation to it that really count.

They will have to be discussed at some other time.

My understanding of a Second Reading of a Bill is that Members can discuss not just what is in the Bill but what one thinks should be in it. Deputy Carey quoted the former general manager of the company concerned as saying, before an Oireachtas committee, that the opportunity which the Dáil had to discuss the affairs of his company and the policy it was pursuing came in the form of the various Bills that were introduced every two or three years in relation to them. If we are to be deprived of that opportunity it will be unsatisfactory.

I do not want to indulge in repetition although I wanted to deal with the tourism aspect of this issue. It is important and Shannon Development have some responsibility for it. It is utterly unclear what that responsibility is but they have some of responsibility. What appears to have happened since July 1987 is that Shannon Development have taken over the functions of the former Shannonside, which was the local or regional tourist organisation. The latter has been dissolved. Outside of that, as far as I know and in spite of the Government decision, they do not do anything else because, they say, it would be futile to do so. They are not going to waste their money, and the taxpayers' money, trying to do it. That is fair enough; it makes sense. If they could do the same in relation to industrial development it would make equal sense. Certainly, their reaction to this other Bill is one of incredulity, as it must be, because a further layer of overlap is added to it.

I would love to see that region, the most regionally developed in institutional terms, held up as a headline to the remainder of the country but one cannot hold up the legislative mess we have here as a headline to anybody. We cannot hold it up and suggest that other regions copy it. Why should there be four or five agencies all responsible for the same thing in the same place? One cannot say to any other region or to anybody else in the community for that matter that that is the way things should be done. The mid-west is a geographic coherent unit by virtue of the fact that it is located all around the estuary and the estuary is the focal point. It is easier to bring about regional development, first, through the institutions and, second, on the ground in that region than it is in any other region of the country. It is the place we should start. What has happened over the last two years was that the regional development organisation there — which was perhaps the only one nationwide which had any pretentions to effectiveness at all — was dissolved by the Government. It does not seem to me to make sense that that one, which tried to bring them all together, should have been dissolved on the grounds that it was costing of the order of £20,000, £30,000 or £40,000 annually to run. The Government should stand back from this plethora of legislation, competing agencies and so on and say: down there we have an ideal regional area that could be held up as a model for sensible and rational development; the way things are at present that is not happening, nor will it happen. They should stand back from it, try to plan as if none of these various agencies and so on existed, and ask themselves what they would do if they were starting from scratch. Perhaps they should put something in there to enable that be done sensibly and logically. They should then introduce a Bill in the House and proceed from there.

The potential there is enormous. What is killing it are all these local, jurisdictional, agency, departmental rivalries. I find there quite a high degree of cohesion between all the people concerned. Everybody now realises that if that estuary as a unit and region prospers, everybody who lives within a radius of 30 or 40 miles will prosper also. Hopefully they do not see it any longer in the very parochial terms some of them might have done in the past. They see this as being a time of opportunity. I wish that the legislative arrangements being made in that connection reflected and grasped that opportunity.

As Deputy O'Malley said, the main provision of the Bill is the extension of the geographical mandate of SFADCo. It would be indeed difficult to contribute to this debate if one were to be confined to dealing with the various townlands mentioned in the Bill. I take it that some comment must be allowed on the value of merely extending the remit of the company or advocating whether something more should be done.

I am not opposing the Bill. Regional organisations are absolutely necessary. Rather my criticism would be of the lack of planning in regionalised development. There is one point on which I would seek clarification from the Minister. I understand it is the intention also to alter the remit of the company and this does not appear to be referred to in the Bill. I understand the present responsibility of SFADCo to be the promotion of small industry in the region. The general understanding would appear to be that henceforth the company will promote the development of medium and large industry in the mid-west region and the other areas referred to. All that is referred to in the Bill is the extension of their mandate. Therefore it would appear to me that, within their extended boundaries, they would simply continue to promote small industries. I do not know whether it is the Minister's intention to introduce another Bill altering the mandate of SFADCo, in turn withdrawing the mandate from the IDA. There is no provision in this Bill to the effect that the IDA will no longer be responsible. It appears to me that henceforth SFADCo will deal with all matters formerly dealt with by the IDA. The whole point is that SFADCo henceforth will be taking over a region from the IDA and will deal with all matters formerly dealt with by the IDA in addition to tourism formerly dealt with by Bord Fáilte. That is not at all clear from a reading of the Bill; it is not clear to me and I believe would not be to the general public. Perhaps that is not the case but, from everything I have heard, that would appear to be the general understanding of the intent.

If that is the case the first question that springs to mind is whether there is a plan for the remainder of the country. It must be acknowledged that SFADCo have done a fastastic job within their area of remit. There is the danger that the extension of their remit boundaries will lead to the whole operation falling apart, their efficiency being lost in the wider region. I presume that is dependent on the staff and funding to be provided for the purpose. That leads me to ask why not have a Knock Airport development company dealing similarly with Mayo, Galway, Roscommon, Leitrim and the Sligo regions responsible for industrial development, tourism and everything else there? Have the Government any plans for regionalising the development formerly undertaken by the IDA on a national basis? If not, then this type of exercise is meaningless, resulting in what Deputy O'Malley described as constituting merely maps with portions of the country missing. That is the end result of that type of so-called planning. Otherwise it means that IDA representatives are travelling worldwide endeavouring to attract industrialists to a country, large portions of which are missing.

Are we to understand that henceforth SFADCo will be in direct competition with the IDA, approaching the same industrialists, advocating that they come to the Limerick, North Tipperary, Clare or part of Kerry areas but not the remainder? Are SFADCo to advocate that industrialists be confined to those areas rather than those recommended by the IDA, such as south Kerry, east Offaly, South Tipperary or wherever? It renders this nation and the whole exercise ridiculous internationally if this is to be the kind of silly competition that is to be engaged in. There has been no indication that the Minister has any planned redevelopment in mind for the IDA, for the manner in which industry and tourism should be attracted here on a nationwide basis, or to some areas in particular, depending on Government priorities at any given time. For example, the disadvantages obtaining in the various regions vary from time to time. The question of providing tax incentives or whatever to attract industry to a region with high unemployment or a high incidence of emigration has arisen frequently in this House.

The major problem confronting the Government is that at present every area has high unemployment and massive emigration. Indeed the latest figures for emigration furnished in the House show that 32,000 emigrated last year and 116,000 over the past five years. That figure of 116,000 constitutes 25,000 more than the whole population of Clare and gives some indication of the enormous scale of development required by way of job creation to halt emigration and create jobs for those already unemployed in the regions. This is an enormous task and whether SFADCo are capable of carrying it out I do not know. Particular emphasis will be placed on the region as regards the creation of jobs and there is no doubt jobs are required in that region. The first thing the company should do in their new remit is to ensure that these new jobs are created in Thurles as soon as the Sugar Company close down.

Another point raised by Deputy O'Malley relates to Ballylongford and the huge tracts of territory that are owned by the IDA and are being sold off. That land was purchased a number of years ago for the purpose of building a lead and zinc smelter to deal with the huge quantities of lead and zinc ore produced here every year. We export 350,000 tonnes of raw ore to Belgium, France, Spain and Italy each year. The intention was that we would have a smelter in Ireland and Ballylongford was chosen as the site. At that time there were ore mines in Galway but now the only one in operation is in Tara. It was intended that all the ore from the lead and zinc mines would be smelted in Ballylongford and that there would be subsidiary industries which would manufacture parts for cars, washing machines, cookers, fridges and all sorts of household goods. A whole new industry with various spin-offs would have been created in Ireland and based in Ballylongford where there is a harbour from where the goods could be exported.

That was a great idea but it came to nothing because Rio Tinto Zinc told the Government they would not agree to it as they had smelters already in Europe and they needed our raw ore to keep the smelters in operation. The new SFADCo should look again at the possibility of having a lead and zinc smelter in Ballylongford because all the ore in Tara mines will be used up in the next 15 to 20 years. There are prospects of ore being found in the Galmoy area and that could be equally as successful as the Tara mines. There is no end to supplies. I suggest that the board consider that area for development and make sure that the land in Ballylongford is not sold off.

The other industrial development authority which is normally completely excluded from discussion is Údarás na Gaeltachta who proved themselves highly efficient in the development of new jobs and who are being starved of funds. If the funds are not available for Údarás na Gaeltacha to develop industry and tourism in the Gaeltacht regions in the west and south-west, how are we to provide the funds for the new pepped-up SFADCo which will have responsibility for the region from north Kerry to the Galway border, across to the middle of Offaly and down to Tipperary North Riding? It would be quite easy to provide the money when one considers the amount that has been wasted by the IDA in recent years. They have indicated that £177 million in grants was paid to firms which went bust in a period of nine years. In that nine years IDA-attracted industries created 117,422 jobs. One may say that is not bad but 36,438 of those — three out of every ten — were lost. That information is contained in the IDA annual reports.

Another report indicates that despite spending £1,077 million in a six year period, from 1981 to 1986 inclusive, 28,000 jobs were lost. That is quoted in Determinants of Profit Outflows from Ireland, an ESRI report by Eoin O'Malley and Sue Scott in December 1987. That report pointed out that the profit outflows from Ireland increased from £258 million in 1981 to £1,346 million in 1986. Profit outflows increased at a huge rate but jobs were still being lost and the IDA were still spending money on industries that were going bust. I suggest to the Minister that serious consideration needs to be given to the structure of the new company. They must look at what the IDA have been doing wrong as well as what they have been doing right in the past number of years to ensure that there will not be the same level of jobs losses and firm closures in the mid-west region in future.

I would also suggest that the new company examine the IDA record in another area. SFADCo attract companies to Ireland and decide what companies get grants and how much they will get. The Government should ensure that what happened with the IDA does not happen with this company. That organisation were in touch with a group called W and E Products who were in the mercury soap manufacturing business. They called their company The Soap Company of Ireland. At that time Ms. Heather MacSharry was a business analyst in the IDA who gave a grant of £1 million to that company, 45 per cent of their investment in Ireland. Six months later Ms. MacSharry joined the board of that company and became marketing officer. Before people opt to leave companies like the IDA, SFADCo or Údarás na Gaeltachta, who deal with taxpayers' money and decide on allocations to different industries, there should be a stay period of at least five years to ensure that conflicts of interest would not arise in such matters.

While I cannot say I welcome the Bill I am not opposing it. I am not sure that it will be great for the region but it has prospects of doing much good for the region. What I am opposed to is the piecemeal attitude of this Government. I do not know whether this is being done in some spiteful way for some reason or other through the IDA or whether it is being done as part of a plan. If it is being done as part of a plan we would all like to see a similar regionalised development plan for the whole country which would be structured and which we could all understand.

Debate adjourned.