Dáil Éireann - Volume 372 - 14 May, 1987

Written Answers. - Functions of Local Authorities.

18. Mr. Sherlock asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport the plans, if any, the Government has for the involvement of local authorities in the promotion and development of tourism.

Minister for Tourism and Transport (Mr. Wilson): In the first instance I would like to point out that the whole area of local government reform, including the functions of local authorities, is being examined by the Minister for the Environment with a view to bringing forward proposals as soon as possible.

Local authorities are, of course, [2057] already directly involved in the development and promotion of tourism at regional level through their membership of and representation on the boards of the seven regional tourism organisation. In addition, they are responsible for a wide range of activities such as the preservation of the environment, pollution and litter control, the upgrading of sanitary services, the maintenance of roads and signposting, the provision of lay-bys and car parks, the control of caravan and camping developments and the protection of amenities in tourism areas in the administration of the planning laws. All of these activities impinge directly upon tourism and by their very nature reflect the important and crucial role of the local authorities in the promotion and development of tourism.

19. Mrs. Taylor-Quinn asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport if the 1963 Tourist Transport Act is relevant to the present tourist needs in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Tourism and Transport (Mr. Wilson): The Tourist Traffic Act, 1963, is only one of 14 Acts which provide a basis for the activities of Bord Fáilte and the development of the tourist industry. The 1963 Act merely provides for an increase in the then applicable aggregate statutory limit on Bord Fáilte's capital expenditure. This has been raised on a number of subsequent occasions and indeed I intend to introduce a Bill to raise the current limits within the next few weeks. I am satisfied that taken together the Tourist Traffic Acts, 1939-1983, constitute an adequate statutory framework to meet the needs of tourism in Ireland today.

20. Mr. Wyse asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport the basis for assessing 400,000 more tourists into Ireland this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Tourism and Transport (Mr. Wilson): In launching the Government's [2058] new and comprehensive programme to boost the tourism sector in 1987 I stated that this was part of the Government's overall programme for growth through sectoral development. The programme is designed to achieve a substantial increase in tourist numbers in 1987 with consequential spin-offs for employment and wealth-creation through a concerted national effort by everybody involved in tourism. Following analysis of capacity in the industry and consultations with the main operators I decided that a revised target for growth in visitors numbers in 1987 of 400,000 was appropriate. While this is an ambitious target it can be achieved provided there is the will to do so, backed by the concerted national effort I have referred to.