Dáil Éireann - Volume 335 - 03 June, 1982

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Donegal Services.

29. Mr. Harte asked the Minister for the Environment the progress he has made since he met Donegal Deputies on the question of additional moneys for housing, road development and repairs, sanitary services and other important needs in County Donegal.

Mr. Brady (Dublin South-East): On 2 June 1982 I allocated an extra £800,000 to Donegal County Council towards the financing of further new work which the council propose to commence this year on their local authority housing programme.

I sanctioned loans of £45,000 and £40,500 on 13 and 18 May for repairs and improvement works to the harbour at Portevlin pier and for the purchase of four fire appliances. I propose to notify Donegal County Council shortly of their allocation under the special border areas programme.

Shortly before my meeting with the deputation, I had notified Donegal County Council of a supplementary capital allocation of £430,000 for road [1088] improvement works. I also notified them of an allocation of £272,000 in respect of environmental works, youth employment.

I might add that since taking office, the Government have reversed the previous Government's requirements that the entire proceeds of sales of local authority houses should be diverted to capital purposes. This gives Donegal County Council an extra £187,000 for revenue account purposes. Donegal County Council will also benefit by almost £74,000 from my decision to limit the demand made on local authorities in respect of supplementary welfare allowances and drainage works.

Mr. Harte: The Minister of State should appreciate that while the answer he gives sounds convincing Donegal County Council at the moment are unable to pay caretakers to keep our public toilets open. They have had to let these people go. The streets of many of the towns are without street cleaners because they have not money to pay for the cleaning. The public baths are being closed because they cannot afford to keep them open. The roads are in such a bad state of repair that they are recognised to be the worst roads of the Republic — I can say that with a lot of authority because I do a great deal of motoring throughout the Republic. We have the worst housing record, the highest emigration and the highest unemployment in the Republic. Is the Minister now telling us that there was no need for the deputation to meet the Minister for the Environment recently?

Mr. Brady (Dublin South-East): I would not infer that at all. If the Deputy's question refers to the progress since the meeting, my purpose in the reply was to outline what had actually taken place since then. I acknowledge what the Deputy has said about some of the less desirable features of the very fine county of Donegal.

Mr. Harte: The Minister will appreciate that the matters which I have mentioned are not being exaggerated. They [1089] are part of life in Donegal at present. Is the Minister now telling us that this is the sum total of his efforts as a result of the deputation of all Deputies of all parties from Donegal who approached the Minister, Deputy Burke, a few weeks ago? Is this the end of the story, the end of the line?

Mr. Brady (Dublin South-East): Not at all. It would never be the case with local authorities that it would be the end of the line. Every local authority, as I said earlier, is monitored on a continuing basis and Donegal will be reviewed continuously.

Mr. Harte: Does the Minister not know from his Cabinet colleague that on the Adjournment last evening I mentioned that £½ million was needed to finance housing loans? These loans have been approved and applicants have proceeded to build the houses but cannot get the money from Donegal County Council because the Government have not given the money to that council.

Mr. Brady (Dublin South-East): I will have the matter considered further.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Question No. 30 is for written reply.