Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Visit to Killarney.

Dick Spring

Ceist:

4 Mr. Spring asked the Taoiseach if he will make a statement on his visit to Killarney.

I addressed the IMI Conference in Killarney on 25 April 1992 on the theme "Competitiveness — Ireland's Challenge in the Global Market". In my address I focused on the place of consensus in fostering a competitive economic environment, the importance of tax reform in underpinning our competitiveness, the need for business restructuring, the restructuring of key sectors of the economy in our new national development plan, now being prepared, and the importance of the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty. If the Deputy wishes, I can arrange to furnish him with a copy of my entire address.

I inform the Taoiseach that the Deputy does not so wish. It is apparent that when the Taoiseach was talking to the news media in Killarney he mentioned that the Government have plans or have in fact commenced to develop the Shannon estuary as a top port. The Taoiseach said that in addition to the natural amenities in the Shannon region the infrastructure was already in place. When making those statements, did the Minister know that reports commissioned in the past number of years indicate that expenditure of at least £20 million on infrastructural development in the area is required before the Shannon estuarial area could be sold for the development of an international port?

Could the Taoiseach comment on those facts?

The Deputy is raising a specific matter worthy of a separate question.

With respect, a Cheann Comhairle, I submitted questions to the Taoiseach on the specific matter the week before last. Those questions were passed on to the Minister for the Marine, who did not make statements in Killarney. I thought that it would be more appropriate for the Taoiseach to have an opportunity to inform the House of the plans for development which neither Members of his Government nor anyone else in this House heard before the Taoiseach spoke, quite frankly, off the cuff in Killarney.

We now come to questions nominated for priority which are directed to the Minister for the Environment. I need the co-operation of all concerned so that these questions, for which 15 minutes only is provided under Standing Orders may be disposed of in a fair and equitable manner.