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Ceisteanna — Questions Oral Answers. - Ever Fresh Foods Factory.

Thursday, 29 September 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 224 No. 3

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45.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will cause a public sworn inquiry into the amount of public money spent by Ever Fresh Foods at Banagher, County Offaly, if he will state (1) the amount spent, (2) the amount of debts outstanding, (3) the amount of debts to be paid by the firm, (4) on what the money was spent, (5) the main cause of financial losses, and (6) if some employees were in receipt of £45 per week while the factory lasted; and if at such sworn inquiry he will invite the evidence of local farmers and others who wish to come forward with inquiries and helpful evidence.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley I see no necessity for holding such an inquiry.

A grant of £130,000 was approved by An Foras Tionscal in respect of this undertaking. According to the published reports of An Foras, £124,900 of the grant was paid up to 31st March, 1966. Grant payments were made against certified expenditure on the establishment of the Ever Fresh Foods factory.

[433] As the Deputy will recollect, the Minister for Finance, in reply to a question on 23rd February, 1966, indicated that Taiscí Stáit Teoranta had, inter alia, advanced a loan of £96,600 to Ever Fresh Foods Ltd. of which £4,900 had already been repaid. I have no function in regard to loans provided by the Industrial Credit Co., Ltd.

The remaining queries relate to the internal affairs of an individual firm and it is not the practice to furnish information of the kind requested. As Deputies are aware, the affairs of this company are in the hands of a Receiver.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Is the Minister not perturbed by the number of occasions he or his predecessor, has had to rise here to give information of this kind? Does he not think that an inquiry at this stage might find the flaws which were there obviously from the start and help us to stop making these mistakes again?

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley I agree with the Deputy that we should learn by any mistakes which occur. Indeed, the Deputy has a question down later which shows that he is aware of the fact that we are taking steps to try to improve the functioning of our system of attracting and financing industries. But, having said that, I want to make it quite clear that the proportion of failures in industries which have been State-aided in this way is something under ten per cent and that this compares more than favourably with what has happened in other countries who have embarked on the same kind of activity. There is one country larger and richer than ours and they have had a failure rate of between 30 per cent and 40 per cent.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan Does the Minister not agree that a failure rate of ten per cent would be a far higher rate than one would find in normal business practice where nobody got a grant?

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley This would not be true at all. The failure rate for non-State aided industries must be at least ten [434] per cent. In fact I would say that would be a bit conservative.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan If the Minister thinks again, he will find that the failure rate is far less than ten per cent when you are using your own money.


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