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Ceisteanna — Questions Oral Answers. - Milk Production.

Thursday, 29 September 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 224 No. 3

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8.

Mr. T. O'Donnell: Information on Thomas G. O'Donnell Zoom on Thomas G. O'Donnell asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries whether milk production has increased over the 1965 figure; if so, by what percentage; and whether An Bord Bainne will be able to fulfil all its 1966 market commitments.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Milk deliveries to creameries so far this year exceed those of the corresponding period of 1965 by 2.9 per cent.

On the occasion of the Deputy's previous question on this subject on 28th June, I indicated that I was satisfied that there was no question of An Bord Bainne being unable to meet any market commitments which it had entered into. There has since been no change in that situation.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Is it not a fact that milk destined for other products has had to be diverted into butter production? Further, does the Minister think that it is a good thing that the higher priced products, which make a better price for milk, should suffer under his Free Trade Agreement?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey There is little difference these days in the various subsidy arrangements. The essential thing, in my view, is to maintain the supply to fulfil our butter quota on the UK market. I believe this should take priority.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Does the Minister understand this has affected employment in the cheesemaking industry?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I do not think it has.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish It has. The Minister knows as a result of the information I gave him that men have been laid [402] off in a certain cheese factory because the factory could not get the requisite amount of milk.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Will the Minister not agree that the 2.9 increase is 2.1 per cent less than his forecast?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Not my forecast. Bord Bainne planned their allocations originally this year on an output of 425 million gallons and, because of the very severe spring, they had to cut back subsequently to a basis of 415 million gallons and, ultimately, they had to make a final allocation on the basis of 400 million gallons. They divided the milk available up very fairly between all the various interests involved. I think they did a very good job of rationing it out on a fair basis.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan But other diversified products must suffer so that the Minister's arrangements shall be fully carried out.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Has the Minister any information about the reduction of employment in the cheesemaking industry?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Naturally all the various interests engaged in the production of cheese and other products have been complaining they have not been able to get the supplies they wish. This is nobody's fault. Because of the adverse season, the total quantity of milk did not materialise and everybody has had to be cut back.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Does the Minister think it is more profitable to send butter subsidised by the Irish taxpaper rather than cheese, which is not subsidised?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey Cheese is heavily subsidised.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Is it not a fact that this is yet another banana peel on which the planners have slipped?

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey That is a very picturesque phrase.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Planners are always planning until someone puts an orange peel under their feet.

[403]Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey The situation is that we decided as a matter of policy that it was necessary to fulfil our butter quota. Our position in the UK market has always been weak because we have been intermittent suppliers and we are determined from now on that, in so far as we have a quota in the UK market, we will fulfil it as top priority. That makes good business sense.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish It would be better to employ people making cheese.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey People are employed in making butter, too.


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