Dáil Éireann - Volume 338 - 02 November, 1982

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers - Drainage Schemes.

16. Mr. Blaney asked the Minister for Agriculture whether he will not only restore the £1,000 per hectare ceiling, which was reduced in August 1982, on grant aid under the western drainage scheme, but will increase it in order to relate it to present-day costs, bearing in mind that most of the projects now being carried out under the scheme are of a more difficult and costly kind than those undertaken in the first years of the scheme and that in most cases the projects are being undertaken by the smaller and less well-off farmers.

Mr. Cowen: The limitation of grant aid under the western drainage scheme to a cost of £800 per hectare is necessary to ensure that limited public resources are used to the most economic advantage. A similar limitation applies to Feoga recoupment and therefore any grant aid paid on costings in excess of £800 per hectare would have to be met entirely from the Exchequer. The limit in question is a generous one and I do not propose to alter it.

Mr. Nealon: While willingly accepting that the previous Government did not increase the costing base which is now at 1979 level despite inflation——

[413] Mr. L. Allen: You reduced it.

Mr. Nealon: It would be more accurate to say that we did not increase it. Has the Minister made any plans for the increasing of this base because of the excessive inflation which has taken place in the meantime?

Mr. Cowen: As I said in my reply, I do not propose to alter it at present.

Mr. Nealon: What about next year?

Mr. Cowen: As Deputy Allen pointed out, in 1981 the National Coalition Government reduced the limit.

17. Mr. Coughlan asked the Minister for Agriculture the reason work has ceased on a group drainage scheme in the townlands of Sandfield and Ballykilduff, near Ardara, County Donegal.

Mr. Cowen: A joint application under the western drainage scheme has been received for improvement of an area north of Ardara in the vicinity of the townlands of Sandfield and Ballykilduff, Co. Donegal. It appears that the drainage works could have a detrimental effect on a wildfowl habitat and pending a resolution of this environmental aspect consideration of grant-aiding the proposed drainage works has been deferred.