Dáil Éireann - Volume 295 - 15 December, 1976

Salmon, Eel, and Oyster Fishing Licences (Alteration of Licence Duties) Order, 1976: Motion (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following motion:

That Dáil Éireann approves the following Order in draft:

Salmon, Eel and Oyster Fishing Licences (Alteration of Licence Duties) Order, 1976,

a copy of which Order in draft was laid on the table of Dáil Éireann on the 3rd day of December, 1976.

—(Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries.)

[871] Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries (Mr. M.P. Murphy): I had almost completed my remarks when the debate adjourned earlier this evening. The only opposition to the motion asking the House to approve of an increase in licence fees was in respect of drift net licences. I think I have dealt adequately with that question and that there is nothing further to say, taking into account the fact that the licence fee of £50 compares very favourably with the fee that was set down earlier in 1848.

It is pleasing, however, that despite the fact that our stock quantities are giving us cause for worry, the total income from our salmon fisheries, as provisionally estimated, stands at more than £5 million. I can assure the House that any additional moneys collected by way of this measure will be utilised to develop our salmon fisheries, and that utilisation will be carried out jointly by the boards of conservators and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. I am, therefore, asking the House to voice approval of this measure. It is more or less a measure that was invited, and I see no reason, at a time when salmon are, on the average, making more than £20 apiece, why we could not ask——

Mr. Gallagher: How much?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Twenty pounds in money. As I indicated on the last occasion, the average price for salmon this year is £1.61 per lb, so that the Deputy can see that a 12 or 13 lb salmon is worth £20. I am asking the House to give approval to this measure. I confined my remarks to the drift net increase, because, seemingly, those who contributed to the discussion did not refer to the other increases embodied in the order.

Mr. Gallagher: Could the Minister say when this Bill will become operative? Does it apply to the coming year?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: 1977.

Mr. Gallagher: Does that mean that fishermen now getting licences will come under this Bill?

[872] Mr. M.P. Murphy: Fishermen applying for licences in respect of the year 1977 will be paying these licence fees if the House approves of them.

Mr. Gallagher: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that licences are being issued at the moment under the old system and that the money is being collected before the 1st January?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: The Deputy referred mainly to the drift net licences. Drift net licences must be applied for before the 31st December, 1976, and I am not aware of any drift net licences being issued already in respect of 1977.

Mr. Brosnan: In view of the unconscionable increase in the price of the drift salmon licences, would the Parliamentary Secretary and his Department consider setting up some machinery for the payment of these licence fees by instalments? Is he aware that the fishermen in my constituency, in Youghal, for example, in addition to paying £50 for a salmon licence also pay the Duke of Devonshire £20, and is he prepared to accept the fee in moieties?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: I cannot accept that suggestion. The number of licences issued is relatively low, 1,046, and the intake from the licences is exceptionally high. As Deputy Brosnan knows, a Deputy representing a coastal area, those who pass the test and qualify for a drift net licence are a favoured section of the community. At present we have representations from people all over the place, many of them quite justified applicants if we had the licences to spread around. I spread them around much more than my friend, Deputy Fahey, but we have to take conservancy into account. I had occasion to mention in the Seanad earlier this evening that, were licences £1,000 a piece in 1977, we would have more applicants than we have licences. However, that is not the yardstick it is measured by. This is a once-for-all payment so far as the licence is concerned, and we are taking cognisance of the views expressed [873] here and in the Upper House by the Opposition as to whether levies should be imposed. What we are asking is an increase of £110,000 from an industry which has yielded £5.3 million this year. All that money, together with additional funds from the Exchequer, will go towards further developing this industry. The contribution in the current year was 8 per cent, and surely that was not a realistic contribution so far as the moneys provided for boards of conservators are concerned.

[874] Mr. Brosnan: Where is a fisherman who is on the dole going to get £70 in January, £50 for the Parliamentary Secretary and £20 for the Duke of Devonshire, who only increased his licence by £2, 11 per cent as against 1,500 or 1,600 per cent?

An Ceann Comhairle: The Parliamentary Secretary's reply concluded the debate. The Chair has allowed some questions, but there cannot be a reopening of the debate.

Question put.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 63; Níl, 55.

Barry, Peter.

Belton, Luke.

Bermingham, Joseph.

Bruton, John.

Burke, Dick.

Burke, Joan T.

Burke, Liam.

Byrne, Hugh.

Clinton, Mark A.

Cluskey, Frank.

Collins, Edward.

Conlan, John F.

Coogan, Fintan.

Cooney, Patrick M.

Corish, Brendan.

Cosgrave, Liam.

Costello, Declan.

Coughlan, Stephen.

Crotty, Kieran.

Cruise-O'Brien, Conor.

Desmond, Barry.

Desmond, Eileen.

Dockrell, Henry P.

Dockrell, Maurice.

Donegan, Patrick S.

Donnellan, John.

Dunne, Thomas.

Enright, Thomas.

Esmonde, John G.

Finn, Martin.

Fitzpatrick, Tom (Cavan).

Flanagan, Oliver J.

Gilhawley, Eugene.

Governey, Desmond.

Griffin, Brendan.

Halligan, Brendan.

Harte, Patrick D.

Hegarty, Patrick.

Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.

Jones, Denis F.

Keating, Justin.

Kelly, John.

Kenny, Enda.

Kyne, Thomas A.

L'Estrange, Gerald.

Lynch, Gerard.

McLaughlin, Joseph.

McMahon, Larry.

Malone, Patrick.

Murphy, Michael P.

O'Brien, Fergus.

O'Connell, John.

O'Donnell, Tom.

O'Sullivan, John L.

Pattison, Seamus.

Reynolds, Patrick J.

Ryan, John J.

Ryan, Richie.

Staunton, Myles.

Taylor, Frank.

Timmins, Godfrey.

Toal, Brendan.

Tully, James.

Níl

Andrews, David.

Barrett, Sylvester.

Brady, Philip A.

Brennan, Joseph.

Breslin, Cormac.

Briscoe, Ben.

Brosnan, Seán.

Brugha, Ruairí.

Callanan, John.

Calleary, Seán.

Carter, Frank.

Colley, George.

Collins, Gerard.

Connolly, Gerard.

Crinion, Brendan.

Cronin, Jerry.

Crowley, Flor.

Daly, Brendan.

[875]Leonard, James.

Loughnane, William.

Lynch, Celia.

Lynch, Jack.

MacSharry, Ray.

Meaney, Tom.

Molloy, Robert.

Moore, Seán.

Murphy, Ciarán.

Noonan, Michael.

de Valera, Vivion.

Dowling, Joe.

Fahey, Jackie.

Farrell, Joseph.

Faulkner, Pádraig.

Fitzgerald, Gene.

Fitzpatrick, Tom (Dublin Central).

Gallagher, Denis.

Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.

Gibbons, Hugh.

Gogan, Richard P.

Haughey, Charles.

Healy, Augustine A.

Hussey, Thomas.

Keaveney, Paddy.

Kenneally, William.

Kitt, Michael P.

Lalor, Patrick J.

[876]O'Connor, Timothy.

O'Leary, John.

O'Malley, Desmond.

Power, Patrick.

Timmons, Eugene.

Tunney, Jim.

Walsh, Seán.

Wilson, John P.

Wyse, Pearse.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kelly and B. Desmond; Níl, Deputies Lalor and Healy.

Motion declared carried.