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Ceisteanna — Questions Oral Answers. - Potez Aerospace.

Thursday, 29 September 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 224 No. 3

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47.

Mr. Barrett: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will give details of the total amount to date made available from Irish sources to Potez Aerospace, and details as to the amount of employment originally envisaged and now actually being provided by the Company at its Baldonnel factory, County Dublin.

48.

Mr. Barrett: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is in a position to make a statement as to when production of aeroplanes is expected to commence at the Potez aeroplane factory at Baldonnel, County Dublin, giving details of such aeroplane parts, if any, as are being produced at present.

49.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if in view of the anxiety of the staff in Potez Aerospace concerning their future employment he will make a statement on the up-to-date position of this industry.

50.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce when it is expected that employment at Potez Ltd. and Aerospace Ltd. at Naas Road, Dublin, will expand to a figure commensurate with an investment of £1,319,000 from State funds.

[436]Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 47, 48, 49 and 50 together.

The total amount paid to date from Irish sources to Potez Aerospace Ltd., is £405,000. All of this sum has been paid to the company by An Foras Tionscal out of a grant of £463,000 approved for the project. A sum of £914,000 has been invested by Taiscí Stáit in Aviation Development Ltd., an associated Company. Potez Aerospace Ltd. is responsible for the manufacture of aircraft and parts and Aviation Development Ltd. for design and development work.

It is not the practice to give information regarding actual employment in individual firms but it is no secret that the employment given at present is not substantial.

The possibility of eventual employment for 1,700 people was mentioned in newspaper publicity regarding the project. I am not in a position to say when employment may be expanded or to what extent.

I am informed that, as is usual in the aircraft industry, Potez Aerospace Ltd. have commenced with the manufacture of parts. They have made parts for ailerons, flaps, tail units and wings; they have assembled ailerons and flaps and are now assembling tail units and wings.

I am not yet in a position to make a statement regarding the production of aeroplanes at Baldonnel or a general statement on the project but I can assure the Deputies that the Industrial Development Authority are in constant touch with the interests concerned.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Could the Minister tell us when he hopes he can make a statement, because this is something about which there is a vast amount of public disquiet? The amount of money invested in loans and grants by the State is huge and it should be treated in a different way from any other failure we might perhaps have.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley It is not possible for me to indicate at present when I can make a full statement to the House but [437] I can assure the House I am anxious to do so as soon as that is possible without damaging the prospects of the project.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Has the Minister this information: How many Irish nationals are on the board of directors of this company?

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley I am afraid I would require notice of that question.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Are there any, in fact? Would the Minister not consider that in respect of a project in which the Irish taxpayer has £1¼ million invested, an effort should be made to have somebody on the board of directors who would take an interest in the people of this country who, in fact, subscribe to it?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan That is a separate question.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley In all fairness, I should say that the Potez interests have invested approximately £3 million.

Mr. O'Leary: Was any fresh encouragement given to the undertaking by the recent visit of the Potez family.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley I do not think I could appropriately comment on that.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton From the information at the Minister's disposal, does he see any prospect of this firm ever turning out planes and selling them? Is he not aware that it has been in existence for a long time and that only 54 people are employed. Is he not aware that they have not exported anything in that time? Is there one firm order for a plane or any prospect of a firm order?

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley As I said, the Industrial Development Authority is keeping in very close touch with the parties here. There are certain things taking place about which, when they are completed, I hope to be in a position to make a statement to the House. In the meantime, it would be inappropriate for me to say anything more than I have said.

[438]Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton It has been inappropriate for too long.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Does the Minister not think that the loan, leaving the grant out, and irrespective of the investment made by Potez, is an indication that there should be an Irish director?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan That is a a separate question.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan The loan is £914,000.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan That raises a separate matter.


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