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Ceisteanna—Questions Oral Answers. - Price of Tomatoes.

Thursday, 16 June 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 223 No. 5

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21.

Mr. P. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne Zoom on Patrick Byrne asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries what steps are being taken to effect a reduction in the present exorbitant price of tomatoes.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey The price of tomatoes, which had been affected by the Dublin dock strike and by extra demand during the recent spell of fine weather, has dropped sharply this week. Home-grown supplies are being marketed in increasing quantities and are expected to meet the demand adequately from now on.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton The Minister said we were interested in riding two hobby horses but he is interested in two hobby horses here. Was the Minister aware when he was issuing the [776] licences that the Guernsey Tomato Board were the only people who had British tomatoes for export, and was he aware that they would supply only two importers and that they would give them only half enough so that they could get 6d or 1/- per chip more than in the United Kingdom market?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I am not interested in becoming a tool of any pressure group in the Dublin wholesale fruit market. I issue the licences on an absolutely fair and equitable basis and what members of the trade do with their licences, or where they get their supplies, is not a matter for me. If Deputy Clinton wants to become the spokesman of one of these pressure groups, he is welcome to.

Mr. Lindsay: Information on Patrick James Lindsay Zoom on Patrick James Lindsay The Minister is now in the dock.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I am not in the dock.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton Is it not a fact that in Northern Ireland they appointed an agent to import tomatoes? The Minister favoured two importers.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey That is a lie.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I withdraw the word “lie”. It is a complete fabrication, an untruth.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton Is it not a fact that those importers in five weeks got approximately £11,000 or £12,000 out of this?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I do not know what they got. I want to say that what the Deputy has just said is a complete and utterly unjustifiable fabrication. I want to explain that I favour nobody. I have consistently refused to be involved in these internecine wars in the Dublin wholesale fruit market. I issued licences on a fair and equitable basis to all the members of the trade. What the Guernsey Board do and whom they appoint as their agents has nothing to do with me.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton Have we reached the point where the British Trade Agreement [777] is to be used to set up monopolies to charge what they like to the Irish people for produce which we have to import? The Minister has excluded 22 importers.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I wish Deputy Clinton would get his mind clear on this. He is talking now about setting up monopolies, but on the other hand, by implication, he praised the system in Northern Ireland where apparently one man is appointed to act.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton Are there no more people to import tomatoes and distribute them according to licence?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey If two is a monopoly and one is not, I cannot understand what a monopoly is.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton The Minister just cannot wriggle out of it.


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