Dáil Éireann - Volume 78 - 28 February, 1940
In Committee on Finance. - Vote 73—Irish Tourist Board—(Additional Estimate).
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. MacEntee) Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. MacEntee)
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. MacEntee): I move:—
Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £3,500 chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1940, chun Deontas-igCabhair ar Bhord Chuartaíochta na hEireann (Uimh. 24 de 1939).
That a sum not exceeding £3,500 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1940, for a Grant-in-Aid of the Irish Tourist Board (No. 24 of 1939).
Perhaps in introducing this Estimate it would be advisable that I should detail to the House how the position stands at the moment in regard to the operation of the Tourist Traffic Act and the activities and functions of the Irish Tourist Board. The House will recall that the Tourist Traffic Act was enacted at the end of July, 1939. That Act provides for the payment of grants and advances out of public funds to the Irish Tourist Board which is constituted by the Act. Section 15 of the Act provides for the payment out of voted moneys of sums not exceeding £45,000 in any one financial year to the board in the form of non-repayable grants. Section 16 provides for the making of advances to the board out of the Central Fund to an amount not exceeding in the aggregate £600,000, which sum is to be expended by the board solely on works, investments, or loans of a profit-earning character. It was estimated that of the free grant at the rate of £45,000 per annum to which I have referred, £20,000 would be required for administrative expenses and £25,000 for advertising and publicity.
The Irish Tourist Board having been duly constituted, it was necessary during the Summer Recess to provide funds to pay the remuneration of  the members of the board and the preliminary administrative expenses. Accordingly, an advance of £2,000 was made to the board from the Contingency Fund, the intention being to introduce an Additional Estimate for the new service when the Dáil would have reassembled last October. The war intervened, however, and naturally the question arose as to whether or not the Tourist Traffic Act should be suspended for so long as the Emergency Powers Act remained in force. After mature consideration it was decided that while in present circumstances it was, for financial reasons, perhaps undesirable and, for other reasons, perhaps impracticable for the board to proceed with its original programme, involving the Exchequer, as I have said, in an annual Grant-in-Aid of about £45,000 and imposing on the Exchequer the obligation of making repayable advances up to a maximum of £600,000; nevertheless, it was felt it would be a grave mistake to suspend the operation of the Act altogether and to put it in cold-storage for the duration of the war. I think in the present circumstances it would be folly to undertake that widespread publicity campaign and other activities which were contemplated when the Act was passed. But it would be equally foolish now when the competitive attractions of other countries have greatly diminished, while at the same time, the regular volume of traffic from external resources has been automatically reduced not to utilise this period to survey thoroughly the situation as a whole; to prepare plans for the future of the industry and to try out those plans on an experimental scale, so that when the time becomes more propitious the board may be able to go ahead with its estimates for the fulfilling of the work allotted to it under the Act.
That is the decision at which we have arrived, The original estimate of £45,000 will not be required. Only a sum of £9,000 will be wanted now. In order to enable certain experimental projects to be undertaken, it may be necessary later on to provide sums aggregating from £60,000 to £70,000.  How much will be required for the repayable advances will naturally depend upon the duration of the war and upon the success or otherwise of the experimental projects. If these justify themselves it may be assumed that they will be enlarged and the expenditure upon them naturally will increase. During the period of the survey, planning and experimentation to which I have referred, it is the intention of the members of the board to give the closest personal attention to the work and to share a large part of the administrative burdens between them. Consequently the staff required will be the minimum possible; and such as will be recruited will be required to have certain technical experience. The chairman of the board will act as secretary, and chief executive officer, and in this way no salary will be payable for these offices. In this way it is hoped to get a great deal of valuable public work done at a minimum of expense.
The question may naturally arise, why under present circumstances are we spending £9,000 per annum upon work of this kind? There are some considerations in that regard which it may be well to put before the public eye. First of all, we have to remember that expenditure on public holidays in this country runs into millions of pounds per annum. This money finds its way to all parts of the country and to all classes of our people. Hotels and boarding-houses on which depends the livelihood of more than 20,000 souls along the seaboards are almost entirely dependent upon this traffic for their existence. In many Gaeltacht areas the tourist traffic provides the income for hundreds if not for thousands of non-economic landholders. The receipts from this industry are of vital importance, too, to public transport and other contributory services. The industry itself is a decentralised industry, requiring no imported raw materials or factories or the congregating of the population into abnormally large communities. The industry contributes substantially to general and local taxation; directly through fishing and shooting licences, visa fees, driving  licences, and so on, and indirectly through increases in fees and incomes from fishery rights, and so on. The guaranteeing of its maintenance by the State during the present war emergency is almost as essential in counties like Kerry, Donegal and Galway as is the guaranteeing of minimum prices for beet and wheat in many of the inland counties.
The holiday habit, I may say, is now regarded not so much a luxury as a necessity. The fostering of its further growth is a matter of great social importance to the State and to the community as a whole. There are still thousands of Dublin workers who, instead of spending their savings at the week-ends with nothing more to show at the end of the summer than a number of Sunday trips to neighbouring seaside resorts, ought to be educated for the sake of their own and their children's health to save up for holidays which would give them a chance of having enjoyable holidays amidst extremely healthy surroundings. The war has limited us to a virtual monopoly of our own home traffic as against the loss of the American and the greater portion of the British tourist traffic. Because of these facts we can assume that practically all our own people will spend their holidays in Ireland during the present year. If they get satisfactory treatment, that alone will induce many of them to continue to take Irish holidays. The passage of the Tourist Traffic Act in itself was an admission of the Government's interest and responsibility in this matter. The suspension of the Act and the dissolution of the Board would now virtually black-out the holiday industry, and the Irish Tourist Association could not hope to continue the work that it has been doing up to the present.
The Irish Tourist Association obtains its money mainly from public bodies. It is doubtful whether these would continue to vote funds to continue its activities if the Government itself, by its suspension of the Tourist Traffic Act, indicated that the continuance of such activities was a matter of no concern to the State or to the community for whom the Government  would be presumed to act. There is little doubt in my mind that if the existing machinery for the maintenance and development of the holiday industry were to be put out of action we would at the end of the war be back to the unorganised and comparatively impoverished position in which that industry found itself in 1925. I think there is no justification for taking a course which would be tantamount to suggesting that our holiday industry is at the moment of no value or that at the moment it is not of great potential value to the country. But the fact is that out of our total normal traffic over 70 per cent. of the volume and over 60 per cent. of the revenue may be said to come from our own people. The increase in that traffic arising from the fact that our people cannot go abroad will, if carefully conserved, ensure the survival and comparative prosperity of all engaged in the industry even during the war. The central organisation which here, as in all other countries, it has been found desirable to establish for the control and development of this industry is necessary, in my view, for the maintenance of the industry during the war and I am sure there will be few to question this in relation to the effective revival of our traffic from other countries on the return of international peace.
Of the activities in which the board proposes to engage during the period which must intervene between now and the days of peace, I shall endeavour to give a broad outline to the House. When the House hears it, I think it will agree with me that there a great deal of valuable work can be done even in the somewhat circumscribed circumstances in which the board finds itself. There is, in the first place, the question of our existing holiday resorts. As the main bulk of our holiday traffic is handled by these resorts, whether seaside or inland, they may be taken to rank as first in importance in the mind of the board. Most of those resorts are lacking in one or more of the services or general amenities recognised as essential for the holiday-maker of to-day. Every one of them requires planned reorganisation over a period of years, and  their enlargement and improvement would normally absorb the greater portion of the £600,000 provided in the Act under the head of “Repayable Advances.” Though it is not proposed, during the war-period, to go ahead with any schemes involving big expenditure, it is necessary in the first instance, to prepare a plan for the reorganisation and development of every resort of importance, keeping in mind the requirements of health and sanitation, enlarged traffic in future years, the safety and convenience of existing roads, the provision of adequate facilities for recreation and amusement for all classes in all weathers, the application of the Town and Regional Planning Act in co-operation with the local authorities and the increase of existing accommodation to suit the requirements of those classes of traffic which each resort is considered to be most capable of attracting and satisfying.
This will all take time. Provided money can be made available for the administrative expenses of the board, the importance and urgency of this work is in no way lessened by the existence of an international war. In every resort of that type I think I may say that the people concerned recognise the need for improvement. It is hoped that they will readily co-operate in this preliminary work, knowing that, after the war, the Tourist Board will be enabled to give effect to its plans. It is possible, therefore, to proceed at once with the correction of many abuses and to proceed with many minor but important improvement works at comparatively little expense by way of loan or investment. Many of the resorts to which I have referred are qualified for attention under the heading “Unemployment Relief Schemes”. The Tourist Board is satisfied, from a preliminary survey, that in such cases it should be in a position to suggest works which will be, on the one hand, attractive from the point of view of such relief schemes and which, on the other hand, can be readily assimilated as part of its ultimate development plans. The Board in this connection has mentioned the excavation of sites for swimming  pools, the clearing of ground and ruins as a first step towards the provision of handball alleys or other recreational facilities, the making or improving of paths, minor works of drainage and so on. Naturally, the future development of each resort must be planned before works of this kind are undertaken, and, during the war, it is proposed to incur expenditure by way of loan or investment only in those cases in which the expenditure of small sums, complementary to the money to be provided under the relief schemes, would render possible the immediate provision of essential amenities. We may envisage, perhaps, an expenditure of £10,000 during the experimental stage under this head.
In connection with the programme for developing holiday resorts, it will be necessary for the board to set up at every resort a council, committee or company of a representative nature. At many of the resorts in question there is no urban authority to ensure local goodwill and co-operation. Contact with such bodies is of vital importance to the work of the Tourist Board. It cannot be deferred until after the war. The development of these resorts may cost considerable sums spread over a long period, but, even under normal conditions, the board could not provide more than a fraction of the finance which would be required. The purpose and effect of the Board's efforts in this matter would be to encourage further expenditure of much greater magnitude by local authorities and by private enterprise. It is necessary now, and it would be part of the board's immediate duty, to convince those who may be concerned that such expenditure will be worth undertaking.
Next in line of the Tourist Board's activities will be the question of our hotels, their management and improvement. We need increased hotel accommodation in practically all parts of the country. Such hotels as we have are lacking even in matters of major importance. Many others require a complete overhaul. It is proposed to avail of the war period to examine, in the first place, the hotel resources of the country in relation to the types of traffic which  it is considered desirable and possible to attract; secondly, to estimate on a five or ten year basis the conditions necessary for dealing with such traffic and to relate these to our existing resources, and thirdly, to decide on the best methods of securing these necessary conditions at the least expense to the board and with the least cost or inconvenience to those at present engaged in the hotel business.
It is not proposed, during the war period, to go ahead with any large-scale schemes by way of loan or investment. We must wait until the prospects of stimulating private enterprise are brighter than they are now before proceeding with such work. In the meantime, however, the board hopes, as I have said, to undertake the preparatory work and to consider in advance the cases in which loans or investments may be necessary or desirable and the conditions which should be attached to their provision. The shortcomings of our smaller hotels and guest-houses, catering for what might be called second-class traffic, represent probably our greatest source of complaint at the present time. In normal times a large volume of traffic goes from this country to the Isle of Man and to the British West Coast, because of the higher standard of accommodation which resorts there offer at competitive prices. A very large number of people who previously went abroad will take Irish holidays in 1940, and these people cannot be persuaded to continue “seeing Ireland first” unless we are able to bring about an improvement in the general standard of such establishments here. To that end we feel that the board should be enabled, in the year 1940-41, to provide, by way of loan, for improvements in a number of such houses in various parts of the country—not as even a partial solution of the main problem, but as examples which will encourage the adoption of a higher standard by others, and which will demonstrate the type of accommodation which it is hoped eventually to standardise and publicise as guest-houses. This category, it will be remembered, was specially defined in the Tourist Traffic Act with that end in view. It is anticipated that, perhaps,  in the course of this preliminary campaign, the board may have to find, via the Exchequer, the sums necessary to finance repayable advances, totalling more than £25,000.
The next large division of this holiday industry, to which the Tourist Board will require to devote its attention and to which it intends to give a great deal of consideration during this emergency period, is that of hostels and holiday camps. We have not been able to have any extensive investigation of that matter yet, and of the problems which it may present. It is a new type of business in this country, and presents difficulties which require to be very carefully examined. With a holiday camp in the Isle of Man, capable of accommodating 4,000, and with another recently built in North Wales, at a cost of £500,000, it is obvious that group accommodation has attractions which we cannot ignore. The two establishments referred to are examples of the accommodation which we may anticipate will exist on the west coast of Britain after the war, and of the types of accommodation which, accordingly, in that period, our own resorts will have to face in competition. If we are to retain in Ireland the money spent by our industrial workers during the holidays, we must be able to compete with such places, and if we do not take steps during the war period we shall be late in the race when the war is over, and shall have no ground for complaint if the workers of Dublin and our other cities choose more attractive and less expensive fare offered elsewhere than in this country. It is the view of the board that it will be possible, within the coming financial year, to formulate a scheme for an experimental development under this head. If the board's expectations in this regard be fulfilled, we may require, during the year I have mentioned, 1940-41, a repayable advance of about £20,000. Naturally, in regard to this too, as with other activities of the board, the Minister for Finance, as well as the Minister for Industry and Commerce, will have to be satisfied that the advance can be justifiably and profitably made.
One of the principal functions of the Board, under the provisions of the Act,  is to set up and to maintain a register of hotels and guest-houses. It is hoped that it may be possible to give effect to the provisions of the Tourist Traffic Act in this respect during the year 1940-41, and the board may find it necessary to engage a limited but technically competent staff for that purpose. On the other hand, it is not intended to operate the provisions of the Tourist Traffic Act for the scheduling of tourist resorts as special areas during the war period unless, of course, there is an overwhelming local demand in any resort for such action, but it will be necessary to study carefully the implications of the procedure and to work out, in relation to a few resorts, full and detailed schemes to ensure the practical and successful application of the provisions of the Act in this regard. This work, of course, will require the close and careful consideration of the board. Apart from the requirements of an enlarged catering industry, there is immediate need for additional competent hotel staffs in all parts of the country. The difficulties of hotelkeepers, and so on, will be rendered more acute in Gaeltacht areas if the board requires, as a condition of registration, that within a limited period hotels and guest-houses in the Gaeltacht shall employ none but Irish staffs. The Board has been assured of the co-operation of the Department of Education in connection with training schemes, but proper training in most departments will require a number of years. This work can be undertaken during the war period, and it is the intention of the Board to give the matter its most urgent attention in the hope that the necessary personnel may be available at an early date.
In relation to everything I have said, it may be desirable to stress that the Tourist Board is to give special consideration to Gaeltacht areas in connection with the development of the holiday industry. Its policy in that regard is to do everything that it is possible to do in order to develop the industry in those districts—to do everything that can be done, that is to say, without detriment to the survival and revival of the Irish language. If the  Gaeltacht is the backbone of language survival, and if for that reason its people must be given every encouragement to remain there, the board feels that it can help substantially to this end by improving the economic position of the Gaeltacht population through honourable, gainful employment, and not through grants or doles. There has been, in recent years, a welcome increase in the demand for holiday accommodation in Gaeltacht areas for both adults and children. We cannot, however, remain blind to the fact that the conditions under which many such visitors are housed leave much to be desired. At the best, they impose an unnecessary strain on patriotism, and they may be full of more acute physical dangers.
The board's programme for developing the holiday industry in the Gaeltacht will proceed upon certain assumptions. First, those in the Gaeltacht who are employed in registered hotels and guest houses must have a competent knowledge of Irish. The best, easiest and quickest method of learning Irish is by staying with Irish-speaking families. Suitable accommodation must be provided for people who appreciate that fact, and the number of visitors to the Gaeltacht for that purpose can and must be increased by the use of judicious publicity. Accordingly, but naturally subject to such modification as a fuller examination of the problem on which the board is now engaged requires, it is proposed to proceed in this matter on the following lines: First, the concentration of a large number of visitors in any one area is to be avoided so as to ensure that the local Gaeltacht influence will predominate. Accordingly, a few houses in each of a number of parishes are to be selected in consultation with local committees. Each such house is to be provided with one or, if possible, two spare rooms, and in practically all cases these will have to be specially built. The houses are to be equipped with suitable sanitary arrangements, and to be furnished with good beds and bedding and simple furniture, and, where practicable, a turf-burning stove and sundry other minor equipment. The owners of the houses selected will have to arrange  for all the construction work, but loans will be given to cover the cost of materials and equipment. Such advances will be made on presentation of the certificate of completion of the work, and will be repayable over a reasonably long period.
In the case of houses fitted and equipped as I have described, through the instrumentality of the board, it will be an essential condition that visitors can only be accepted through the Board or an approved agent thereof, to whom an initial payment by way of deposit shall be made. Such deposits will be retained by the board towards repayment of the principal and interest on the loan, the balance of the visitor's bill being paid to the owners of the house at the end of the holiday. In the case of visitors coming without notice, the secretary of the local committee will act as the booking agent for the board. The board, in co-operation with the Government Departments, and with the help of the county vocational committees and agricultural committees, will endeavour to see that the owners of houses operating under its aegis will be induced to cultivate a wider range of vegetables and fruits than is customary with them, and provision will also be made to enable female members of the households to receive the necessary training in cookery and domestic economy.
Finally, the board will utilise its resources in Dublin and elsewhere to secure for the owners of houses in the Gaeltacht, who possess the necessary accommodation, clients who are either Irish-speaking or who are genuine, would-be learners of the language, and care will be taken to ensure that none but those are booked through the agency of the board. It is hoped that the new standard which will be set by the improved houses envisaged by the board will attract visitors to them. If these hopes are fulfilled, the success will have the double effect of encouraging neighbouring houses to come into line, and it will make language enthusiasts feel that they can book accommodation with Irish-speaking families for themselves  and their children with every assurance of comfort and convenience. The board has indicated to me that it may require repayable advances up to £20,000 to enable it to try out a number of experimental schemes upon the plan which I have outlined.
In normal conditions the development of the sport of angling would be one of the major features of the Tourist Board's programme. The intervention of the war naturally limits its opportunities in this regard, but certain considerations make it highly desirable that a programme of work adjusted to war conditions should be proceeded with. Angling, in fact, has distinct claims upon the attention of the board. The angling resources of this country, relative to those of other countries in Europe are, I understand, unique in their extent and in their capacity for further development. It is possible to increase enormously the number of people who patronise our rivers and lakes, particularly from amongst our own people, of whom the proportion interested in angling is amazingly small. Anglers as a class are a desirable type of tourist. Their requirements do not involve a big expenditure in the way of amusements and amenities at the various resorts.
Angling visitors from Great Britain have been a source of big revenue in the Gaeltacht areas, and the reduction and possible total loss of such traffic during the war will inflict severe hardship on those who profited from it during previous years. I understand that in a good year in Galway alone, apart from the main expenditure of the visitors in hotels and guest houses, up to 500 men, most of them uneconomic land owners, earned at least £30 per head each year by acting as boatmen for the anglers and bailiffs for the board of conservators. These occupations left them naturally plenty of time to look after their own holdings and in many cases represented their main source of money income. In peace time the development of our angling resources, which could by no means be described as over-ambitious, would enable us to increase substantially that already important income of £15,000  per annum to probably the most deserving section of the people of Galway, the majority of whom are native Irish speakers; and that applies likewise, I am sure, to other parts of the country. During this war we must at least try to minimise the losses which these districts suffer and that can be done by developing an increased interest in angling amongst our own people and planning for a greater patronage of our lakes and rivers when peace returns.
Bearing all this in mind, the Tourist Board proposes, in conjunction with, and through the publicity activities of, the Irish Tourist Association, to endeavour to promote increased interest in angling among our own people, most of whom wrongly regard the sport as a rich man's recreation, and in that connection to endeavour to direct new traffic to fishing districts in the Gaeltacht and secure any changes in and additions to the hotel and guest-house accommodation there that may be necessary. The board is also negotiating an option to purchase by lease a large series of lakes in Connemara with the object of their being developed, either under the direct operation of the board, or through a company to be formed for that purpose. Naturally, no commitments in this regard will be made by the board without the prior agreement of the Minister for Finance and myself. The board believes, and I share the belief, that success in the carrying out of a scheme of this nature would be of very great value from the purely commercial point of view on the one hand, and as an example of what can be done with similar stretches of water all over the country.
I have already mentioned the steps which the board propose to take to improve accommodation in Gaeltacht houses for language enthusiasts. This, to some extent, is linked up with the board's plan for improving angling attractions. They hold that it is possible to make many a language enthusiast a keen angler, to house him comfortably within the reach of good water, and, proceeding on the reasonable assumption  that the man of the house can fish as well as talk Irish, it is likely that the language enthusiast will become not only an Irish speaker but an angler and visitor to the Gaeltacht for the rest of his active life. The possibilities of angling are illustrated from another aspect by an experience of so recent a date as last year. Nobody in this country bothers about coarse fish.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: Oh! oh!
Mr. MacEntee Mr. MacEntee
Mr. MacEntee: Well, few people, I am speaking perhaps relatively, but few people bother about coarse fish except to exterminate them as a menace to the salmon and trout population. Last year, as an experiment, over 200 men from Lancashire and Yorkshire came to Irish midland centres for the pleasure of angling such fish. I understand they went back feeling that they had the time of their lives here and the best of sport, hoping that they will be able to come back themselves, and that thousands of others will come this year. These were ordinary British workmen who had saved up during the past year perhaps the £5 or £10 which gave them that holiday. The board feel that our people can be persuaded to take up this sport in the same way, and that it will be one of its endeavours to persuade them to do so. In doing that they will be developing our angling attractions not merely for our own people but also for those visitors who perhaps in happier times will come back to us again.
Generally, that is an outline of the programme which the Tourist Board has set before me. I think it is worth trying, and, as a consequence, I have come here to the Dáil to propose this Supplementary Estimate which it is hoped will meet the expenses of the board during what remains of the current year. It is part, as I have said, of the amount, not exceeding £9,000, which will represent the normal grants-in-aid which we may make to the board for the purpose of carrying out the programme which I have outlined during the war period.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: I congratulate the Minister on the comprehensive statement  he has made. I think the House will appreciate the fullness with which he has gone into the programme wherewith he justifies the Additional Estimate he has brought before us. I think he is quite mistaken if he imagines that the humble worm and grub are unknown to anglers of this country. There are many of us who, in addition to our more stylish performances with the dry fly, are to be found on discreet occasions playing the worm and other humble baits as well. I do not think there can be any doubt that, while there is room for the entertainment of visitors, very welcome visitors such as those to whom the Minister referred from England, our primary concern must be, of course, for the development and protection of the trout and salmon fishing, and that where the interests of these and their due preservation conflict with the continued existence of pike or perch in the rivers, then the coarse fish must give way before proper preservation methods designed to maintain and increase the trout and salmon population of our rivers.
The Minister has gone over this ground very carefully. He spoke of the new departure in the Gaeltacht. I understand the outlook that inspires the Minister in this matter, but I do put it to the House that we ought to take a deliberate decision in regard to this matter with our eyes fully open as to what we are about to do. Do we want to instal a Blackpool in the Gaeltacht? I put this to Deputy Hickey, that Blackpool 40 years ago was about as barren and abandoned a stretch of sand as there was in the world with that great industrial population that lay behind it. It has to-day been built into one of the greatest amusement centres in the world. I do not expect that we are going to be able to put up an amusement centre of that kind in the Gaeltacht, but do those of us who are familiar with West Donegal, Connemara, West Cork and Kerry, deliberately intend to turn these areas into centres for trippers? I use that word in no disrespectful or disparaging sense. I mean the short-holiday maker from Great Britain, Dublin, Belfast and Cork.  Now, we ought to make up our minds about that. I do not think that we are wise if we do that. There is no use pretending that, for that class of trade, we can ever compete in the Gaeltacht with the attractions of the Isle of Man, Blackpool, Southend or places of that kind, and I do not think that we ought to try.
I think there is a trade for the amenities that the Gaeltacht has to offer to a very limited, a very restricted body of persons who, in the words of Emily Lawless, seek the “Still Shore”, “Where wearied men may from their burdens cease”. The Minister, who is a poet, will remember Emily Lawless's poem, “A Retort,” in which she describes very beautifully all that the Gaeltacht has to offer to us, and, speaking for herself and all those with whom she thought, she rejects very definitely the modernity and amenities of the modern world and chooses, with all its poverty, the “still shore”. I think that our object should be to emphasise that quality of the Gaeltacht. I would prefer that the lot of the uneconomic holder in the Gaeltacht should be relieved by other methods than those designed to draw down into that part of Ireland a miscellaneous collection of trippers who would find much greater amusement and much more congenial surroundings in the Isle of Man and such centres of amusement as we know exist. That does not mean at all that I am suggesting we should not seek to cater for that kind of visitor in other parts of the country; but I would be sorry if I thought the Minister for Industry and Commerce was prepared to sponsor plans designed to hand over the Gaeltacht to them. I would quote for the Minister those beautiful words:
“I see an envied haunt of peace,
Calm and untouched; remote from roar.
Where wearied men may from their burdens cease
On a still shore.”
I invite him to inscribe those words upon a card and set them upon his desk, so that, when proposals are made to him for the development of tourist traffic in the Gaeltacht, he may read them again.
 In saying this much, I do not wish to be taken as underestimating the importance of the tourist traffic. I think it is very important and that it is well all of us should contribute all we know to the common pool of information. I know nothing of this business from the angle of such distinguished authorities as Deputy Mongan or others who approach it from the point of view of hosts. I know it only from my experience of travelling in the world, and I suggest to the Minister that the average tourist wants the following things. He wants good motor roads with plenty of signposts on them. Why is it that nobody ever will put up enough signposts? The reason seems to be that the county surveyor, when you suggest that a signpost should be put up at the corner of the road, meets you with the reply: “Sure, does not everybody know that Inchigeela is only half a mile down that road?” But the trouble is that the lady who comes from Pennsylvania and who is struggling miserably to Inchigeela, has not the faintest notion whether it is a half a mile or 50 miles down the road, or what road. That is the experience that I have had in countries all over the world. I remember finding myself out on one occasion in the middle of the Australian bush, and I think there were five roads which lay before me. There did not seem to be any living creature within 250 miles, and there was no signpost. Eventually I did establish contact with a woodman in the bush; he laughed at my ignorance, saying: “Does not everyone know that Bateman's Bay is half a mile down the road?” It might have been 250 miles down it, but it turned out that, when you did go down one of the roads and turned the corner, you came to a comparatively large town. But I did not come from Bateman's Bay; I came from Ballaghaderreen, which is 17,250 miles away. When a visitor comes to us from Bateman's Bay, I hope he will find on the roads of this country not only comfortable accommodation for his car but adequate guidance to the place to which he desires to go. I have never yet come across a road with too many signposts, but I have found  roads in every country in the world which have had too few. Let us bear that in mind.
Secondly, I would suggest that the Minister should bear another fact in mind. Some enthusiasts, when they are erecting signposts, seem to think that it is a case of “per ardua ad astra”. The signpost is elevated to a level which makes it impossible to read it after dusk. If you have keen sight and are travelling in broad daylight, you can; but the moment artificial light becomes requisite, all you can see is a straight stick, and unless you are an agile man and climb up the thing it might just as well not be there at all. That is a matter which should be examined. They have found that same difficulty in England and in other countries and have taken steps to remedy it. A signpost is intended to be read: it is seldom decorative, and certainly it is not intended to adorn the landscape.
Another thing the tourist wants is good trains. Has the Minister travelled recently in a train in this country? I suppose since he got the Dodge car he has not bothered about trains any more. The trains in this country have become laughable. I clambered into a first-class carriage on the Dublin-Sligo line last Friday night, and the carriage was illuminated with one gas mantle.
Mr. Everett Mr. Everett
Mr. Everett: The black-out.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: I sat in the corner of that carriage and asked myself this question: Is there any country in the world—civilised or uncivilised—which has as bad a railway carriage in it as this? I do not think there is; honestly, I do not think there is. I do not believe that in the darkest recesses of Nicaragua you would find a railway carriage such as the one in which I sat on the Great Southern Railway the other night.
That is absolutely true. In many of the primitive South African countries, they are served by international railway companies, the rolling stock of which is excellent. The kind of rolling stock their resources might permit them to supply is never produced: you travel in wagons-lit or something of that  kind. There is no country in the world where the railway carriages are as bad as ours. Now, there are a few good ones; but the majority are absolutely appalling. Not only is the equipment scandalous, but they have reached a degree of dirt in which they breathe dirt out upon you. It is not that you find gross dirt on the floor of the carriage; that is not true, you do not find cigarette butts and rubbish on the floor; apparently that is all swept away. But you cannot touch any part of the railway carriage without getting black—is not that true?—the carriages positively exude dirt, which seems to be so ground into them that it is past the ability of the railway authorities to clean them at all. I do not say it is past their capacity to clean them if they try. I do not know whether any vacuum cleaning is done on our railway rolling stock at all, but can you imagine the feeling of an American woman who gets into a first class carriage in a white piqué dress and emerges at the end of the journey, plastered from stem to stern with dirt? Can you imagine the impression which it creates? She can only get the idea that she is living amongst barbarians.
Mr. Hickey Mr. Hickey
Mr. Hickey: The third class carriages are even worse.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: I am giving them the best end of the stick. I do not want to say anything about the third class.
Mr. Hickey Mr. Hickey
Mr. Hickey: If you travelled third class, you would.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: I do, except when I am travelling at the expense of the Government, as the Deputy probably does when he draws his green voucher.
Mr. Hickey Mr. Hickey
Mr. Hickey: I never did.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: Well, I always travel first at the expense of the Government and third at my own expense. The third class is beyond belief. It is dreadful. Now, let me say something that affects the population. The dirt of the third class carriages is due in no small measure to the people who travel in them.
Mr. Everett Mr. Everett
Mr. Everett: The Deputy now is changing his indictment from the employees to the public.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
 Mr. Dillon: And it is not popular to do that; but I am trying to tell the truth.
Mr. Everett Mr. Everett
Mr. Everett: Do not exaggerate.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: I am not exaggerating: I challenge any person to say that I have exaggerated to-day. I am blaming the railway company, particularly, in respect of the first class carriages, as I do not believe that passengers travelling in the first class railway carriages place such a strain upon the railway company to keep the carriages clean. We know that, when we are travelling third class, if we peel an orange we throw the skin on the floor; I have done it myself.
Mr. Hickey Mr. Hickey
Mr. Hickey: What about the first class?
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: The Deputy may pretend to be democratic.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: What do they do in the first class? Do they eat the orange skins?
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: I do not know what they do. The Deputy has the same experience as I have.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: I saw as many orange skins in the first class carriages.
Mr. Everett Mr. Everett
Mr. Everett: The people in the third class carriages cannot afford them.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: The democratic Labour Party are championing the poor and down-trodden, and making the case that there is nothing whatever wrong with the condition in which those carriages are kept. I say that there is. I say that there is a litter problem in the third class carriages which imposes a strain upon the railway company, but not beyond what should be their capacity to keep them clean. I say that, even without that additional difficulty in the third class carriages, the carriages are filthy, and I say it is a scandal that the railway company is not compelled to take some steps to remedy that situation, and that no tourist is going to avail of their services so long as that situation is allowed to continue. I am not complaining so much of the archaic nature  of the rolling stock, because they can plead that they have not the capital sum to replace it, but at least they can keep the carriages clean. I do not care whether the seats are covered with American cloth, or with moquette as at present; whatever covers they have ought to be kept clean. The woodwork, the fixtures and lavatories ought to be kept clean, and they are not. The latest reform which has been introduced is that, instead of having decent towels, they have disgusting paper towels, which is about the lowest depth to which inconvenience and discomfort can be reduced. Let that matter be attended to. It is a simple matter. It is purely a matter of soap and water and a vacuum cleaner. If the Tourist Board can prevail upon the railway company to put that matter right, it will be a contribution towards improving the amenities for tourists in this country.
When one reaches the end of one's journey, one requires a decent hotel room, hot and cold water, sanitary arrangements, and convenience to take a bath. Those seem to me to be the essentials with which a tourist should be provided in an hotel. I trust that the Tourist Board will do whatever they can to secure that they will be everywhere available in an hotel holding itself out as a tourist hotel. Mind you, we can get an inferiority complex on this problem which would do us grave injustice. There are hotels in the tourist centres of this country as good as or better than any tourist hotel in the world, and I know, because I have been in them. I have seen ostentatious establishments in tourist centres abroad, the amenities of which could not compare with the amenities available in a well-run tourist hotel in parts of the West of Ireland; but in addition to that there are some hotels in rural Ireland so loathsome that words fail me to describe them: and the same is true of the United States of America, and every other country in which I have travelled. Let us try then to model all our tourist hotels on the best ones we have got. There is no necessity to go outside this country to find  models of what a tourist hotel in this country should be. I beg of the Minister to ensure that when the model is being taken it will be the model of a good Irish hotel with some character about it, and not a horrible pill box such as one infrequently encounters in the middle West of America. I will say a word about that later.
After those essentials have been provided, I suggest that one of the great difficulties of the Irish rural resort is the lack of amusement in the evening. Most people can amuse themselves during the day. They are bathing, or lying on the strand, or walking or fishing or doing one of the things that they went to that particular resort to do, but it is in the evening that humanity in our day and generation finds the greatest difficulty in amusing itself. Conversation is dead; those who play cards can so amuse themselves, but there are many who must have some amusements provided for them to occupy their leisure hours, and those amusements are dancing, cinemas and fancy fairs—things with hobby horses, such as one finds on the piers in the big amusement resorts on the coast of England; boats, and competent persons to operate them, persons capable of showing the uninitiated how to indulge in sea fishing. That kind of thing is badly wanted in our tourist resorts. In fact, if we are catering for tourists we have got to provide artificial fun for them, because most tourists of our day and age are quite incapable of making fun for themselves, particularly in the evening.
I want to turn for a moment to the improvement of hotels. If we are going to deal comprehensively with hotels and add to their number in certain areas, I do beg of the Minister for Industry and Commerce that some regard be had to architecture, that is to say that we should avoid the erection of hopelessly incongruous structures in the rural parts of Ireland. You will find them in striking numbers in America, dreadful square blocks of concrete, which are so unhygienic that one feels one is living in a bath house. They are hideous beyond words to describe, and they are identical over thousands of miles of country. We  ought to try to avoid that here, and have some regard to the general appearance of the countryside. We should insist that when new buildings are being put up they will not be incongruous looking or grotesque.
The Minister spoke of the holiday camp business. That is a very difficult business, and if a group of civil servants or quasi civil servants imagine they can embark successfully on the holiday camp business in this country they have another guess coming. It cannot be done. It is an extremely complex and difficult business which has grown up over the last 15 years in Great Britain, largely under the direction of a man called Butlin, I think, who evolved the idea. It is now an immense organisation, and there is no use trying to get into a business of that kind—which is well established, high geared, and extremely efficient— with something that is only a kind of half-imitation. It simply means that we will throw a whole lot of money away, and the whole thing will be a fiasco. The only way you can get into the holiday camp business efficiently is to get one of the British holiday camp organisations to run it for us. Give them a chance in this country. They are extremely astute fellows. They do not give a fiddle-dee-dee whether they are running a camp on the west coast of England or in Zanzibar, if they can make a profit on it. They are not going to run a camp here with English people, because they know they will run more efficiently if they train an Irish crowd. They will do it effectively and efficiently if there is a prospect of profit in it. It has this immense advantage: if you get this big organisation operating here you will get increased traffic between the two countries.
They will deliberately urge certain of their guests who have familiarised themselves with the camp in North Wales and who are tired with the camp in the east coast of England to try the camp in Ireland next time, just in order to keep them on their visiting list and to keep them circulating. We will get a great influx of English travellers accustomed to the holiday camp life, accustomed to the general régime obtaining in the Butlin  camps and other camps in England that we all know of, and we will have undoubtedly a considerable efflux of our people who have become acquainted with the holiday camps here to the holiday camps in Great Britain. That is all to the good. We will get far more from Great Britain in the way of visitors than Great Britain will ever get from us. Of course, if the camp idea takes on it will spread here, and if the camp is a success in Bray there may be one started in Tramore; there may be one started in Cork and, possibly, one somewhere in the West of Ireland. I think you will find that most of them are located near large towns in order to ensure an adequate supply of cinema entertainment and outside entertainment of that kind which the camp does not attempt to encompass within its own organisation. That is the kind of wrinkle that experienced organisers in England have learned from experience. I put it to the Minister most strongly, for these and other reasons into which it may not be expedient to go here in the House, that enterprises of that kind must be run by experienced people who have learned, sometimes from bitter experience, of the dangers and difficulties of such an organisation. Of course, I know that there will be a howl that we ought to have self-sufficiency in this matter, in which case we will have dilapidated camps, a poor imitation of something that is going on in Great Britain, not because we are any less capable of organising the thing but because we have not got the experience of organising them, and we cannot possibly get the volume of business that they get in England on which to learn the difficulties of this trade. Therefore, I strongly urge the Minister to avail of the existing organisation, seeing that our principal purpose is to bring visitors to Ireland.
The Minister made reference to-day to fishing. That seems to me to call for comment on the lack of co-ordination between the Ministries of the Government. The Minister for Industry and Commerce wants to facilitate fishing and encourage everybody to engage in it, and the Minister for Agriculture wants to put a tax on  everybody's trout rod. One horse is not as good as two horses provided the two horses are pulling in the same direction, but one horse is much better than two horses if the two horses are pulling in opposite directions. There is no use in the Minister for Industry and Commerce trying to make fishing popular when the Minister for Agriculture is putting a tax on the trout rods. I quite agree with the Minister for Industry and Commerce. We have here an asset, an invaluable asset, which compares most favourably with anything Great Britain has to offer or anything that Scotland has to offer. We have in this country that astonishing survival of free fishing. I know towns in this country in which you can pick up your rod, walk out and fish three good trout rivers without leave from anybody. I do not believe such a thing exists in the whole of Great Britain at the present time. That is the line we ought to follow. These rivers ought to be restocked and their stock improved. Steps ought to be taken to encourage those who live along their banks to erect keshes and stiles so that passing anglers will not be knocking down their fences or blocking their drains by throwing stones into them in order to provide dry footway across them. The local anglers' associations might be availed of to help in the restocking of rivers and I think they would be very pleased to co-operate. There are dozens of good lakes in this country on which there is no boat at all. I think the Minister might very profitably exert himself to ensure that on any lake where there is fishing to be had, coarse or trout, boats would be available and fellows would be encouraged to have boats there and earn whatever was going, and to notify persons who were prepared to put boats on such lakes that the Tourist Board would advertise the amenities they had to offer.
Lastly, I think we have in this country another asset unrivalled in any country in the world—free shooting. There are hundreds of thousands of acres in this country on which any man can go if he has a £2 licence, shoot grouse, woodcock, partridge, and  snipe. I am certain that no such amenity is available in Great Britain and I have seen what an immense influx of tourists similar amenities have produced in the United States of America. I think that whatever measures can be taken—and I believe effective measures can be taken—should be taken to increase the numbers of grouse, partridge and woodcock. I do not think snipe require much stimulation because there is an immense snipe population already. Plans should be devised, if such be practicable, to increase the wild duck population of the country. I know that immense work has been done in that direction in the United States of America by the preservation of duck in certain areas. I do not know on what lines such measures could be most profitably pursued in this country, but emphasis should be thrown on the freedom of our fishing, on the freedom of our shooting and our resolve to improve them. Albeit we are going to get no direct return by way of licence fees for the amenities we provide, we should be none the less resolved, in order to create that special tourist asset in this country, to improve the fishing, the stock of our rivers, the stock of our moors and mountains, so that those who pass by may enjoy that free amenity which is regarded as justifying the payment of such immense fees as are paid in Scotland and the east of England. There are grouse moors in this country which, I am sure, would be let for £1,000 per annum if they were in Scotland or Yorkshire. Here they are perfectly free. Let us improve, develop, and expand them so that they may be enjoyed by all those who come to visit us and so that in time we may build up two entirely different types of tourist traffic to Ireland, one type that is provided for by the holiday camp and the pseudo Blackpool, on our east coast, and the other those disciples of Emily Lawless and those placid sportsmen who are not looking so much for luxury as peace and the still shore.
Mr. Davin Mr. Davin
Mr. Davin: The Minister undoubtedly furnished the House with a very interesting review of the proposed programme  of the new Tourist Board during what he called the emergency period. The Government having decided, and rightly so, to set up a Tourist Board for the purpose of developing what the Minister now calls the holiday industry are, in my opinion, quite right in not completely suspending the activities of that body during the emergency period. The Minister, in his lengthy and interesting statement, indicated that the annual cost for the carrying out of this programme during the emergency period would come to something like £9,000 but, as far as I can recollect, he did not indicate what portion of the £9,000 per annum would be set aside for publicity purposes. I am not quite sure whether he has any information to give the House on that very important aspect of the work of the Tourist Board during the period covered by his statement. The reason I ask for that information is that I believe that no matter what the nature of the programme may be the success of the proposed programme will depend to a great extent upon the publicity side of the work of the Tourist Board. A considerable sum was mentioned originally to be used for publicity purposes out of the total annual amount voted to the Tourist Board under the Act already passed by this House.
The Minister informed us that the works to be carried out during the emergency period would be works of a minor nature, something like the works carried out at very small cost and known to Deputies and others as minor relief schemes. I suggest that during the emergency period the Tourist Board should engage in the making of tourist roads. If they decide to go ahead with the making or remaking of tourist roads, that work cannot be carried out by means of the small grants that are generally allocated from year to year for the carrying out of minor relief schemes. I have a fairly good knowledge of most tourist roads, that is, coast roads in this country. I have endeavoured to travel over most of the coast roads of this country. There is in the making or remaking of coast roads, commonly called tourist roads, very valuable work for some of  our unemployed. If the Minister sees anything in that suggestion, I think he will agree that the work cannot be undertaken in bits and scraps and carried out on the same lines as works normally carried out as minor relief schemes. I would suggest that the Minister might have a word with the chairman, the secretary and other members of the Tourist Board on that matter. We are constantly reminded of the fact that there is plenty of money available to carry out any useful or reproductive work that may be mentioned in this House. If the money is available, then I think there is work there to be done, and the sooner that work is taken in hands the better it will be. These roads will be there at the end of the European War to accommodate the increased number of tourists which I am sure will come to this country at the conclusion of hostilities.
The Minister in his remarks referred to the judicious publicity of the scheme so far as it referred to the Gaeltacht areas. I wonder what amount of money he had in mind when he talked of judicious publicity, or was he under the impression that the Gaeltacht scheme could be carried out for nothing? I should like to know if any portion of the £20,000 which he mentioned in connection with the Gaeltacht portion of the scheme, is to be set aside for publicity purposes. Even if the proposed scheme for tourist development during the emergency period is to be confined to attracting our own citizens, publicity is desirable in the same way though, I agree, not to the same extent, as it would be if we were advertising the tourist development scheme to people in America, Great Britain or Continental countries. I am definitely of opinion—I am not sure whether the Minister is—that many tourists can be brought to this country even during the emergency period. We have, I should say, at least 250,000 people working and living in Great Britain who have Irish ties. A great many Irish-born citizens now working in Britain, and also the sons of those who in former days went to Great Britain, have their families and their wives living here at present. Apart  from that, there is this fact staring the Tourist Board in the face. The average British citizen, with or without Irish ties, will be glad to get away from the dangers of possible air raids while the war goes on. He will be glad to get away from the black-out conditions so far as these conditions have any bearing on his holiday period. He will be glad to get away from the food-rationing scheme at present in existence in Britain, and to come over to a country where he will get plenty of good, wholesome food.
I am definitely of opinion that, with a little bit of publicity and organisation by the Tourist Board, the increase shown during the past few years in the number of tourists coming here will be maintained, if encouragement, by way of facilities provided here, is given to them. They will be glad to get away from the warlike conditions that prevail in the country where they have to live and work, and to come over here, where there is much more freedom than in Britain at present. I venture to express that view, having come in contact with people who had something to do with the development of the tourist business, and who have made some contribution in that direction during the past few years. If the Minister and the Tourist Board share that point of view, some money is necessary to carry out publicity work. A very high percentage of the tourists who have been coming to this country from Britain during the past few years in increasing numbers are workers, both male and female, from the highly-industrialised centres. On the average these people spend at least £5 a week during the period they remain here. It is not well-to-do British citizens that have been coming to this country in increasing numbers. The well-to-do people have been going to Continental countries. Whether they will come here during the emergency period for the reasons I have given, is another matter.
It is quite true, as the Minister has stated, that quite a number of well-to-do British citizens, and even a number of people from the Continent, have  been coming over here and going to the West of Ireland, spending money on fishing and other forms of sport in that part of the country. If they were to be furnished with a verbatim report of the speech just delivered by Deputy Dillon, I doubt when they come over here if they would travel in railway carriages, or even if they would come here at all. Portion of the speech he has delivered is not very helpful to the activities of the Tourist Board, and is a reflection on a considerable section of those who make use of the railway carriages in this country. He suggested that he did not know whether the railway carriages were cleaned or not. I am personally aware of the fact that Deputy Dillon travels from Westland Row to Ballaghaderreen, or to Timbuctoo, or wherever he goes, and, if he opened his eyes before he went into the railway carriages, he would find out whether there was any vacuum cleaning done at railway termini such as Westland Row. At any rate, if the Minister believes half of what Deputy Dillon said about the condition of the railways, upon which Deputy Dillon himself has been travelling, the only cure is to send for the whole Board of the Great Southern Railway Company, and the General Manager, put Deputy Dillon up against them, and let him prove whether his statements are well-founded or not.
If the statements are half true, they are a reflection on the Minister's Department, because that Department is responsible for seeing that the railways are kept in a proper state of repair; that the railway coaches are kept clean, and in a condition of safety as far as the travelling public is concerned. I may tell the Minister, in case he does not know it, that Deputy Dillon has the reputation in railway circles of making unfounded complaints against the railway management as well as against railwaymen. I will leave it at that. As far as I am concerned I took a note of the time taken by the Minister in making his very interesting and informative statement on behalf of the Tourist Board. It took him 25 minutes, while it took Deputy Dillon 35 minutes to talk a lot of tripe. The Deputy did not make  any valuable suggestion, or say anything that could be said to be in the nature of constructive criticism of the proposals outlined by the Minister. I hope the Deputy will not take as long on another occasion in this House to say so much about something of which he admitted he knew nothing.
Portion of his statement was an undeserved reflection on poorer people who travel in third-class railway carriages. I wonder would he find out from the traffic manager of the Great Southern Railways the next time he is talking to him, what percentage of the gross receipts of the railway is derived from first-class travellers, who pay their fares on the railway, as against the receipts derived from those who travel in third-class carriages? It is quite true, undoubtedly, that the railway rolling stock is in a very bad state but the Minister knows better than I do why that is so. Certainly there are railway coaches at present being used on the trunk lines, and on the midland section as well as the southern section, which are as good as the railway carriages in any continental country, or even on the trunk lines in England. The pity of it is, as far as I am informed, that sufficient capital is not available to provide the railway company with the same class of rolling stock on other sections of the system. I certainly support the Minister, as far as his request for this small sum is concerned. It is, as Deputies can see, to be devoted mainly to administrative and other expenditure. If we are going to go ahead with the work which is there to be done by the Tourist Board, I suggest to the Minister that a good deal of publicity will be required, whether that work will be confined to providing better facilities here for our own citizens during the emergency period, or whether it will be extended to other places, from which considerable revenue has been derived in the past, from tourists to this country.
Seosamh O Mongáin Seosamh O Mongáin
Seosamh O Mongáin: Is maith liom go bhfuil an tAire ag tabhairt an bheagáin airgid seo don Tourist Board. Is furusda aithinte ar an mbealach ar thug an tAire an Vóta seo isteach agus  cho glan is bhí sé i ndon a mhínú agus cho soiléar is rinne sé dhúinn uilig é go raibh an Tourist Board ag obair roimhe seo, mar tá mise annseo ó 1927 agus níor chuala mé aon rud dhá mhíniú cho maith is mhínigh an tAire é seo. Ba ceart go mba shin céim suas don Bhord; mar tá mé cinnte gurb iad a mhínigh don Aire é.
Tá mé an-bhródúil go bhfuil an tAire ag tabhairt airgid as ucht seomra eile no dhó a chur le cuid de thithe na Gaedhealtachta le haghaidh strainséaraí a choinneál. Déanfar sé sin maith mhór chois na fairrge ag daoine atá ag iarraidh snámh agus iasgach na fairrge agus folántas na fairrge, agus ar thaobh na lochanna ar nós Loch Coirib agus Loch Measca le haghaidh daoine atá ag iarraidh iasgach a dhéanamh ar na lochanna i bpoibleacha ar nós Pobal na Fáirche, Ath Cinn, Uachtar Ard agus a leitheidí.
Go cinnte, tiubhra sé airgead is na háiteacha seo. Beidh na mná ag saothrú sa teach ag gléas agus ag feisteadh an tighe dóibh. Beidh na fir ag déanamh airgid dhá dtabhairt ar na lochanna agus ar an fhairrge; agus tiubhra sé na strainséaraí as an tír seo againn féin agus as na tíortha eile isteach imease na fíor-Ghaedhealtachta agus na bhfíor-Ghaedheal.
Tá daoine ag rá go mb'fhéidir go ndéanfaí Blackpool den tír. Nár leige Dia, ná rud ar bith mar é. Níl na fíor-Ghaedhil seo cho réidh iad atharú is cheapas go leor daoine ná a nós gálanta féin atharú. Dá mba fíor seo bheadh siad atharuithe fada ó. Le céad bliain nach bhfuil Sasanaigh agus a leitheidí ag teacht sa tír seo? Nach bhfuil siad ag iasgach ar na lochanna seo, nach iad athaireacha agus athaireacha móra na ngiollaí atá againn faoi láthair a bhí ghá dtabhairt amach ar na lochanna? Nach bhfuil fhios ag an domhan go léir nar atharuigh sé seo blas daoine na fíor-Ghaedhealtachta? Nach bhfuil sé cho Gaedhealach indiu agus bhí sé céad bliain o shoin? Agus nach bhfuil an Ghaedhilge chéanna ann? Ní atharófar duine ar bith ón nGaedhilge go dtí an Béarla ach cuid de na boicíní seo againn féin a cheap go mba galánta é an Béarla agus go  mba ag na daoine galánta bhí sé. Tá an saol sin caithte.
Fíor-Ghaedhil atá ar an mBord seo. Fír cuid acu labhras an Ghaedhilge agus labhair ariamh í. Fear amháin acu an Fear Mór a rinne níos mó leis an nGaedhilge a choinneál beo ná mórán fear sa tír seo. Anois, a gcreideann duine ar bith go dtiubhra sé seo cead rud ar bith a dhéanamh chuirfeadh síos an teanga?
Is maith liom go bhfuil an Bord ag dul ag déanamh rud eicínt le haghaidh an iasgach locha chur ar feabhas mar is féidir feabhas mór a chur air le beagán airgid. Dá ndéanfaí é sin bheadh a chúig oiread daoine ag obair ar na lochanna seo. Tá scéim ag an mBord faoi'n áit sin i gConamara idir an Clochán agus Cloch na Rún. Tá na céadtha loch annsin gan blas dhá dhéanamh leo ach, le congnamh Dé, ní bheidh siad i bhfad eile mar sin.
Spáineann sé go raibh an Bord dá ríribh: go dtí Conamara, don FhíorGhaedhealtacht, chuaidh siad ar dtús. I gConamara rinne siad a gcéud oráid puiblithe thar éis iad a chur isteach. Dubhairt siad nar thimpiste ar bith é seo gur tháinig siad ann ar dtús mar go raibh siad a cheapadh gur ag an nGaedhealtacht agus ag an nGaedhilge a bhí an chéad ghlaodhach orthu agus gur le haghaidh áiteacha mar seo chuir an tAire ar bun an Bord.
Déanfa siad maith agus go n-eirghe an t-ádh leo!
Mr. Brennan Mr. Brennan
Mr. Brennan: I am very glad this Supplementary Estimate has been brought in, because when this House, some time ago, realised the importance of tourism, it was felt, at the same time, that with the stringency brought about by the war and all that comes with it, it might not be possible to go ahead with any of the work of the Irish Tourist Board. It is satisfying, in the midst of the unrest and uncertainty, that a beginning is about to be made. It is time it was done, because this country has lagged behind for a long time in this matter. Other countries have developed tourism, and have made quite a lot of money out of it. What I should like to impress on the  board, if I can impress anything, is that whatever development to attract tourists there is in this country, it will be an Irish development, and that if people come to Ireland they will not come with the idea of finding Continental hotels or European ideas. We ought to cater for them in an Irish way, and that is a big matter. Those who travel to France or Germany find themselves in a French atmosphere in France, and are served with French dishes; they are quite satisfied with them, and positively relish them.
I hope that in any development, with regard to hotels particularly, and any educational programme devised for this country, we will keep an eye to that right through, and see to it that the development will be upon Irish lines. I am sure it will be, but there is just that danger that we might possibly try to develop on Continental or American lines, instead of Irish lines. This country offers very great attractions indeed to tourists, and I have no doubt that development upon Irish lines, so far as food is concerned, can be made quite a success. So far as hotels are concerned, I believe an effort has been made in the past to bring them up to date. A great deal lies ahead in that respect still, and a great deal lies ahead with regard to transport; but my purpose in speaking at all is to impress, so far as I can, on the people who will be undertaking the organisation of this great work, that it ought to be organised upon lines which are distinctly Irish, so that visitors to this country will know that they are in Ireland, and that they will be treated in such a way that they will like to come back to Ireland to enjoy the Irish dishes and other comforts provided.
Mr. MacEntee Mr. MacEntee
Mr. MacEntee: I am sure the debate on this Estimate will be read with much interest and given a great deal of consideration by the members of the Irish Tourist Board, but I think I ought to correct the misapprehension which, apparently, Deputy Dillon was under as to the personnel of the board. The board is not composed of civil servants, or semi-civil servants. There is, so far as I know, no civil servant and no person who might be described as a quasi-civil servant on the board. It is constituted  of men who, because of their own practical interests, it was thought would be the most suitable council to administer the general functions of the board and to carry through the great project of, as I prefer to call it, holiday development in the country. The chairman of the board is a gentleman who was the very able and efficient secretary of the Irish Tourist Association. I do not suppose there is any person—at least, there is no person in the Government, and I do not know of any person in the Government service—who would be at all as competent to deal with that problem as he is. Another member is a gentleman who has an intimate knowledge of the Gaeltacht; another is a gentleman who has a great deal of practical experience as an engineer; and another was chosen because of his knowledge of country pursuits like fishing and shooting, to which Deputy Dillon has referred, and which we believe can be made a very valuable asset to the holiday industry in the country. Another member is a gentleman with a great deal of experience of local boards and as the chairman of a county council, and who, I think, was also president of the Irish Tourist Association. It will be seen that the board has been very carefully chosen, so that it will bring to its work that assortment of special experience and knowledge which is essential.
Let us be quite clear about the powers of this board. They are laid down by the Bill, and the Government cannot exercise any detailed control over the board, except to the extent that the board may have to come to us for a Grant-in-Aid during the period. Once that grant is given, however, while it would be subject to audit in the same way as other Grants-in-Aid, we have no control over the management or administration of the board. All we can do is to look at the results of the board's activities and, if we are satisfied with them, to renew the grant, or to increase it, and if we are dissatisfied, to reduce the grant, or to discontinue it altogether.
I think it is necessary to say that because a number of matters have been raised here over which the board has  no control, and over which I have no control. For instance, the board cannot control the manner in which the Irish railways choose to run. I am not either criticising or commending the railways; I am merely putting the fact to the House. If the carriages are unclean, the board, I presume, can make representations, but it cannot compel the railway company to keep clean carriages. Similarly, the board has absolutely nothing to do with the construction of tourist roads and it has no power to construct them. The board's powers are laid down in the Act. It can recommend the construction of tourist roads to the Government Department or local authorities which are charged with such works, but so far as the board itself actually undertaking the execution of these works is concerned, it has no power and will not endeavour to do so. It is not designed to do that sort of thing.
In regard to advertising, which has been mentioned by Deputy Davin, a limited amount of money is made available to the board under this Grant-in-Aid and it is the maximum which the board and I have agreed, in existing circumstances, it can profitably and suitably dispose of and the maximum which the Minister for Finance can afford. It is quite true that this apparently small sum does not make any great provision for advertising. It does provide for a certain limited amount, and that particularly associated with the board's work in the Gaeltacht; but over and above that, over and above the work of the board, it is anticipated that the Irish Tourist Association will continue its normal activities in relation to advertising and the other matters with which is was concerned before the establishment of the board. The principal concern of the board at the present time will be to survey the ground and to make plans for future development. It is for the purpose of providing it with the rather specialised staff to enable it to do that; to keep the board itself together and to allow the men who have been set up as a great council in this matter to make a survey for themselves, in some cases; to consider the results of their surveys and of those made by their  officers; and to formulate definite plans for future development on the basis of those surveys, that we are making the grant this evening.
I do not know anything that I said that could have been responsible for the very strange misapprehension under which Deputy Dillon seemed to labour when he got up to speak. I did not say that we proposed to turn our Gaeltacht areas into Blackpools. I said nothing of the sort; on the contrary, I said that while the board was prepared to do everything it possibly could to develop the industry in the Gaeltacht areas, it would only do what could be done without detriment to the survival and revival of the Irish language. I went further and said that one of the things which the board was concerned to avoid, in relation to the Gaeltacht areas, was a concentration of a large number of visitors in the area, that we wished that the native influence should be predominant and accordingly, so far as the Gaeltacht is concerned, we hoped that the visitors there would reside in the houses of the people; that we wished to put the people in a position to keep such visitors in reasonable comfort, and that, in regard to these houses which were operating under the ægis of the board, the board would be concerned to see that only genuine Irish speakers or persons who were genuinely desirous of acquiring a knowledge of the language would be sent to these houses. That is the policy which the board has in mind. I myself think it is the only policy which we can try out if we are going to utilise the Gaeltacht as a holiday resort.
I am not an Irish speaker by any means, but I do go year after year to a part of the Gaeltacht, and I have seen the beneficial effects on the condition of the people which have resulted from the fact that Irish speakers, in the first instance, and people who are genuinely desirous of learning the language have gone for holidays to that area. There is very limited hotel accommodation in that area, but there are a large number of houses the owners of which have laid themselves out to attract Irish-speaking students, and I can say for myself that  the influx of these students there has had a revolutionary effect upon the appearance and, so far as I can see, upon the economic conditions of the people in the Gaeltacht.
The influx of people who, with the advantage of a liberal education which many people in the Gaeltacht have been denied, go there to learn the Irish language, has given the people of that area a pride in their language, I will not say which they never had before, because they were always proud of it; but it has intensified their pride in the language and it has broadened their outlook and, strange as it may appear, I believe it has expanded the use of the language in that district. I know one kitchen where native speakers come in and discuss all sorts of world and scientific affairs through the medium of the language, and, so far as I can follow it, they utilise the language as flexibly and as fluently as Deputy Dillon uses the English language in this House—and that, I may say, is saying a great deal. I, therefore, agree with the members of the Tourist Board that if we can find the right sort of way to develop this industry in the Gaeltacht we can do good not only to the Gaeltacht, but also do a great deal of good to the Irish language.
Vote put and agreed to.
Vote reported and agreed to.
Dáil Éireann 78 In Committee on Finance. Vote 73—Irish Tourist Board—(Additional Estimate).