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Ceisteanna — Questions Oral Answers. - Cavan Sheep Subsidy Schemes.

Thursday, 29 September 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 224 No. 3

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[399]7.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries the number of hogget ewes presented for inspection in County Cavan under the mountain sheep subsidy schemes; and the number which qualified for subsidy.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Under the Hogget Ewe Subsidy Scheme a subsidy is payable only in respect of Greyface hogget ewes and Half-bred hogget ewes adjudged suitable for the purpose of the scheme by officers of my Department.

The basic purpose of the subsidy scheme is to encourage the culling from mountain flocks of Blackface and Cheviot ewes at an earlier age, and their replacement on the mountains by younger ewes of these breeds. When Blackface or Cheviot ewes are drafted from the mountains after from three to five seasons, they make prolific mothers under lowland conditions and when crossed with Border Leicester rams produce fat lamb dams, which when further crossed with Suffolk or other suitable Down type rams produce a lamb most suitable for fat lamb trade.

Up to 19th September approximately 500 hogget ewes, mainly of a Blackface/Cheviot cross, were presented for inspection in County Cavan but these were not eligible for subsidy under the scheme.

To date under the other scheme 2,030 wether lambs were presented in Cavan and 1,753 of these were accepted for the 10/- subsidy.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Having regard to the fact that the Minister's Department, through subsidies for rams, has influenced the type of sheep produced in West Cavan, will he not consider accepting the hogget ewes which were produced in this year as qualified for subsidy? Does the Minister agree that his Department has influenced, through subsidies, the type of sheep produced in West Cavan?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey This scheme was prepared at my request by an expert group on which my Department, an Foras Talúntais, the National Farmers' [400] Association and others were represented. It had two specific objectives. The first was to increase directly the income of the sheep producer by subsidy payments on ewes and lambs. In addition, the scheme has the objective of endeavouring to improve the productive capacity of our hill farms by encouraging the movement off the hill farms of these particular type of hogget ewes and the replacement by younger ewes so that the hill sheep farmer will be able to carry more and younger breeding stock. That is why the scheme is operated in this particular way. To depart from that it would, to a large extent, defeat this particular objective of the scheme.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Does the Minister agree that his Department have been sending Cheviot rams into the West Cavan area for the past 20 years, approving and subsidising them ?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Yes.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Is it fair, then, that these ewes, produced in accordance with departmental policy should not now qualify for the subsidy?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey The lambs produced by those Cheviot ewes qualify for this new subsidy. It is the first time in this country that we have ever had a subsidy——

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): A thousand out of three thousand.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange Is the Minister aware that, this year, the farmers in the hill areas of West Cavan have had to take £1 per head less for their lambs and that a man in West Kerry got 11/6d. for a lamb and had to pay 10/10d. for two ounces of tobacco?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan This question refers to County Cavan.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange In the hill areas of West Cavan, the farmers took £1 less per head for their lambs this year.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey The farmers of Cavan received a subsidy of 10/- per lamb on [401] 1,753 lambs, something they had never received before. There were 2,030 lambs presented and 1,753 qualified for subsidy.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): I hardly expect the Minister to agree that the people of Cavan believe that was an election gimmick and was never intended to be implemented.


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