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Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Building Industry.

Wednesday, 26 January 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 220 No. 2

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15.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan asked the Minister for Local Government if, having regard to growing unemployment in the sector of the building industry devoted to the erection of dwelling houses, he will have steps taken to expedite sanctions for all housing projects and public works; and when he expects the situation to improve.

16.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan asked the Minister for Local Government what steps the Government are taking to prevent a continuing fall in building activity, particularly in the erection of private houses.

Minister for Local Government (Mr. Blaney): Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 15 and 16 together.

The review of capital expenditure on housing and sanitary services which has been in progress on the basis of the Government's White Paper on Public Capital Expenditure has now been completed and I hope to be in touch with local authorities shortly in regard [192] to the amount of capital which will be made available to them from public funds within the next financial year for these purposes, and the schemes which they may proceed with within that allocation. Sanctions to schemes will issue accordingly.

As regards private enterprise housing the records of my Department to date do not indicate that there is any general fall in the overall building activity in this sector. On the contrary, on the basis of the completion figures to date, it is expected that the total number of completed houses for the current financial year will exceed the record total reached in 1964-65. Allocations of new house grants are also proceeding at record levels.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan Is the Minister aware of the catastrophic position in the building industry, particularly in Dublin city and county at present ? Has he not received urgent representations from builders for some assistance in order to prevent the entire collapse of the building industry? In the light of this, will he now state what effective steps he will take in the near future to prevent the total collapse of the industry ?

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney Regardless of what views the Deputy expresses, the position is as I have stated in my reply. In so far as effective steps are concerned, I have indicated in the first part of the reply that the review that was taking place has been completed and I will be shortly indicating to all housing authorities their share of the moneys available for next year and that sanction will accordingly be given to the housing authorities on foot of their requests for finance for their various projects.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan Do I understand that the Minister totally repudiates the complaints made to his Department by the building industry? Has the Minister not received urgent representations from the builders about the serious financial difficulties facing them at present and what is he going to do about them?

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney I am not repudiating something that is not in fact before [193] me, nor am I going to be led into giving answers to questions that are not really being asked. However, I will say that the amount of house building in the country as a whole during the present financial year will, unless something strange happens between now and the end of March, show greater activity on the local authority side and on the private side than last year and furthermore, that the activity we may anticipate under both heads in the coming year, if related to the amount of money being made available by the Government, will not be less and may be more.

Mr. Lyons: Information on Michael D. Lyons Zoom on Michael D. Lyons I think the whole statement of the Minister is slightly misleading. The activities regarding building have been carried out but activity with regard to——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy is not asking a question; he is making a speech.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney There is a question down today relating to payment of grants in the West of Ireland—I presume it relates to the West of Ireland as a West of Ireland Deputy has tabled it—with which I shall be dealing later. I do not agree with Deputy Lyons.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Will the Minister say if, in view of his statement, we are to take it that local authorities will not receive any further financial aid in respect of the present year?

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney No; the Deputy is not to take anything of the sort from what I said.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully That is what the Minister said.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney It is not.

Mr. Coogan: Information on Fintan Coogan Zoom on Fintan Coogan Did the Minister not state that last week to Galway Corporation?

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney I do not think so.

Mr. Coogan: Information on Fintan Coogan Zoom on Fintan Coogan The Minister said that he would make a statement shortly. Can we pin him down on when “shortly” will be?

[194]Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully He referred to the next financial year.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney You will not pin the Minister down to anything. If the Deputy had been listening to the reply, he would know that what he is referring to is next year, not this year.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan I am talking about this year, not next year, although it appears as if next year things will be worse.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney You are hoping they will be.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan We have been trying since last February to get the Minister to get something done about the building industry. Now there are 8,000 more unemployed.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney A greater number of houses has been completed during the year than in the previous year.

Mr. Coogan: Information on Fintan Coogan Zoom on Fintan Coogan You have not got the price of a wheelbarrow.


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