Dáil Éireann - Volume 324 - 20 November, 1980

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Publication of Reports.

[947] 1. Mr. Keating asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry if he will outline his policy in relation to the publication of all reports commissioned by his Department or other agencies funded in whole or in part by his Department; if he will introduce changes to the present arrangements to ensure that all such reports are published in future; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Lenihan) (for the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry): Reports of general interest commissioned by my Department or by agencies funded in whole or in part by my Department are normally published but I could not give a general undertaking in relation to all such reports as some contain information which companies or organisations have furnished in confidence.

Mr. Keating: Does the Minister agree that there are some such reports relating, for example, in this case to research findings or helpful data which would be of assistance and use to associations and interests in that field? In that situation would the Minister be agreeable to review the restrictions existing at present on any type of research or report undertaken by his Department and perhaps view more benevolently the possibility of circulating and publishing such reports where they are obviously for the common good?

Mr. Lenihan: The Department of Fisheries have been very open in regard to the publication of such reports. To hand at present we have the ESRI Report on the Development of Irish Sea Fishing and its regional implications which was financed 50:50 by the Irish Government and the EEC Commission. This has been [948] published. There is a report on marketing of maricultural products which was commissioned by An Bord Iascaigh Mhara and is available on request to individuals and organisations. There is a scientific study of the Mourne herring stock. This was presented earlier this year and will be published. Then there is the Report of the Wildlife Advisory Council covering the period from its establishment to the end of June 1979, published by the Department, and which is available also on request. These are the only current ones. Certainly I know there is a lot of latitude in regard to the publication of reports on wildlife in the Department of Fisheries and Forestry.

Mr. Keating: How many such publications have there been in the last three years in the Minister's Department.

Mr. Lenihan: They are the recent ones I have just mentioned, four.

Mr. Keating: Am I right in drawing the Minister's attention to the fact that he said that some of those will be published. I am talking about the ones published?

Mr. Lenihan: Three have been published and one will be published.

Mr. Keating: Is three the sum total?

Mr. Lenihan: Four, of these recent ones. I am talking about the past 12 months.

Mr. Begley: Can the Minister tell the House if he has had An Bord Iascaigh Mhara Annual Report in his possession for the past few days and why it has not been placed in the Library?

Mr. Lenihan: I do not have that information. I will check on it and see that the Deputy is written to as well.