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L'Estrange, Gerald

Thursday, 26 May 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 222 Nbr. 15

Committee on Finance. - Vote 38 — Agriculture (Resumed).

The country awaits with interest the announcement we know the Minister is about to make as regards increased prices for the tillage farmer, the dairy farmer and all other farmers. We agree it is l...More Button

But the people of the country should not be fooled any longer. When the Minister makes that announcement, they are entitled to be told where the money will come from. Those of us on public bodies...More Button

Am I not entitled to say I believe the farmers are in a bad way?More Button

Perhaps I said it before you came in, Sir.More Button

In my opinion, the farmers of Ireland are in a bad way and they are entitled to an increase. The milk producers are entitled to a fair deal. They have not got it from the Government. The Governme...More Button

It is a sad state of affairs when decent, law-abiding citizens, as the farmers have proved themselves to be in the past, have to leave their homes, their families and their work and come to Dublin ...More Button

In his opening remarks, the Minister said:More Button

I want at the outset to repudiate any suggestion that the Government have been indifferent to the interests of the farming community or that they have been prepared to let every other sector improv...More Button

Nothing could be further from the truth than the Minister's statement. The NFA and other farming bodies co-operated with the Minister for years but got very little in return. As far as the farmer...More Button

The farmers cannot afford the kind of progress Fianna Fáil propose for them. Fianna Fáil policy has been a failure. No wonder during Deputy O'Connor's contribution the Minister look...More Button

The Minister talked about farm incomes but the gap between farm incomes and industrial incomes is widening every year. The average income of people living on the land is about £7 a week and ...More Button

It has often been pointed out here that the farmers were always in the front-line trenches in every war in this country, national, social and economic. Now the farmers claim justice and they are e...More Button

It has been very depressing for me in the past month to be meeting, night after night and evening after evening, small farmers in the west of Ireland, in Longford and in my own constituency. They c...More Button

The standard of living of every man, woman and child in this country depends on what the farmer and his labourers are able to get from the land. Because the primary producers, the backbone of the c...More Button

It is a pity that there is a division in the farmers' organisations and whatever announcement the Minister makes today, I hope he will not try to perpetuate that division. The Parliamentary Secret...More Button

In former years Fianna Fáil campaigned for a big increase in the price of milk. In 1956, when the Milk Costings Commission was sitting, Fianna Fáil Deputies asked questions day after...More Button

That was not the reason for the Fianna Fáil campaign. The reason behind it was to put out the Government of the day and Fianna Fáil used the milk marchers to good effect. They did p...More Button

If the farm labourer were to get £15 a week, any Government in office would have to put the small farmer into the position that he also would be able to earn that amount so that he and his wi...More Button

If we study the statistics since Fianna Fáil came into office, we find that there has been a drop in milk prices and a drop in the acreage under tillage and under wheat. We have all heard p...More Button

Let us take the wheat farmer. Away back in 1953, he was getting £4 4s. a barrel for wheat. Last year, according to a reply to a question asked in this House, the price paid by the millers o...More Button

Compare it with what you like, those are the figures at that time.More Button

If the Minister looks at page 328 of the Statistical Abstract of Ireland, he will see that in 1953 the price was 32/- per 112 lbs; in 1963, it was 29/4d. The £ was then worth 20/- as compare...More Button

Let us take oats. The same statistics show that in 1953 the price was 24/6d per 112 lbs., and in 1965 it was 20/3d, a reduction of 3/3d per 112 lbs., and we must bear in mind that the pound was w...More Button

Let us take barley. In 1953 the farmer was getting 39/4d per 112 lbs. The Minister need not tell me the official statistics are wrong. In 1963 he was getting 26/2d. If my arithmetic is correct,...More Button

For feeding barley, the farmer was getting 27/6d per 112 lbs. in 1953; in 1963, he was getting the glorious price of 18/5d per 112 lbs. That is nearly £1 a barrel less than he was getting 13...More Button

The dairy farmer is dependent to a large extent on the price of the calf. In 1958, the average price at which a calf under six months old was selling was £18 17s. 9d. In 1963, it was down to...More Button

In 1958, the price of young cattle six to 12 months old was £30 15s. 9d; in 1963, it was £26 6s. 6d. The Minister knows that this year many farmers cannot sell them. I know a small fa...More Button

That is not uncommon.More Button

The Deputy should get up and make his maiden speech and contradict me if he wishes.More Button

He did not make many before I came in. Let him make his maiden speech. In any case we have to go by the figures that are here and the Deputy will hardly deny the accuracy of the official statisti...More Button

I am stating what is here.More Button

Let us take fat cattle. Page 328; Table 343 of the Statistics shows that the average annual price paid for cattle was £60 17s. in 1955. The average annual price in 1963 dropped to £57...More Button

The figures are there.More Button

The Deputy was supporting Fine Gael at that time and England was paying only £4 10s., due to the Suez crisis and the economic conditions in England. It is different now.More Button

(Interruptions.)More Button

The figures are here and if the Minister can deny them——More Button

The Deputy knows that the small farmer who fed his cattle for six or eight months got less than he paid for them, in many cases.More Button

(Interruptions.)More Button

The Secretary can laugh at any joke he likes.More Button

I did not.More Button

The rules should apply to everybody.More Button

I withdraw the remark.More Button

I did not comment on your ruling.More Button

Take the price of fat cattle three year old and over, Table 343. Take the average price of livestock at fairs and marts. Some people might not like marts included but they are going well in spite...More Button

In all categories farmers were getting much better prices five, six, seven or eight years ago, despite the fact that the value of money has fallen considerably since.More Button

(Interruptions.)More Button

Deputy O'Connor also mentioned that there had been a reduction in the acreage of wheat and beet and tillage generally in the past few years. We are entitled to ask where is the Fianna Fáil ...More Button

——he made the best Trade Agreement ever made in this country. He negotiated a Trade Agreement in Britain and tied the prices our farmers were to get to the prices that British farmers ...More Button

When thorns are thrown across the House——More Button

Deputy Dillon did more for the farmers than many others did. Although his policy was condemned as a grass policy, is it not true that there is a huge reduction in tillage now under every heading? ...More Button

It has been cut by many a 12/6d since.More Button

The Fianna Fáil Party were returned to power in the following year. Why did they not increase the price of wheat?More Button

The average price paid last year was £3 6s 3d per barrel and has not the value of the £1 dropped to about 14/- so that the price of wheat has fallen by over 33? per cent? The acreage h...More Button

The same applies to oats. On 24th February, 1966 the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach in reply to a question gave the acreage of oats sown in 1954 as 533,100. The corresponding figure in ...More Button

Will the Minister or any other Deputy deny those figures? Is it not true that this year farmers got, on the bottom rung, 22/- and on the top rung, 23/- less for their cattle than last year, despit...More Button

Deputy Cluskey raised a very important point and it is up to the Minister to clarify it. It is in regard to cattle, whether or not the quality of our cattle will qualify for this subsidy. If what ...More Button

We all remember what we were told in the past by those people who swallowed every promise they made over the past 25 to 30 years. I remember when they told us that the British market was gone and ...More Button

When the Taoiseach was going over to negotiate——More Button

No, no “down” on them at all. I could love them. Is it not a great thing that we had cattle over the last few years, that the cattle industry was saved, and that when the Taoiseach, the Minister ...More Button

No matter what may be said here or elsewhere, it will take years to repair the damage done to the farmers of Ireland through Fianna Fáil policy—high taxation, high rates and, as I have...More Button

The Minister has responsibility for the high taxation rate.More Button

The Minister's policy, in association with the Government's policy of high taxation——More Button

It is very hard to know what the Minister is responsible for.More Button

If he is responsible for it, God help Ireland, because he has been a definite failure. He does not seem to be showing responsibility in that position because, as I have stated, the farmers are not...More Button

The farmers represent approximately 33? per cent of the population. They are responsible for 75 per cent of our exports. Last year, they got only 20.3 per cent of the national income. Unfortunat...More Button

The percentage of the national income that the farmers receive has dropped over the past five or six years. In 1953, the farmers got 29.4 per cent; in 1958, 25 per cent—they still were not g...More Button

Last year, there was an adverse trade balance of £147 million in which there was £14 million for grain and foodstuffs we could have grown in this country. At least the Minister for Hea...More Button

The farmers' reaction to the Budget was one of disappointment. They got no compensation in it for last year's huge increases in their overhead expenses. There is little use in the Minister telling...More Button

Fianna Fáil Ministers, including the present Minister for Agriculture, are under the illusion that talk about increased production will lead to increased production. It will not. It is ti...More Button

We deplore the tendency of the Government, especially of the Minister, to make important announcements outside Dáil Éireann. One day last year I asked him at 3.15 p.m. about the pric...More Button

As I have already stated, the farmers are leaving the land because of the bad prices they are getting for their produce. If there is a more depressing fact in Irish life today than the flight from...More Button

Statistics, if viewed merely as such, can present deadly and dull reading but when they relate to the number of people driven from the land, they spring to life as vital elements of human nature. ...More Button

I am sorry—which the Government and the Minister envisage will be driven off the land between now and 1970. I think both sides will agree that in the financial mess in which we find ourselve...More Button

If you read the Irish Independent for the day before yesterday, you will see that Dr. Lucey stated that 10,000 farmers had been liquidated last year and driven off the land. He stated that ...More Button

Certainly, the time has come when there should be a decent standard of living provided for the farmers and for the people generally in rural Ireland. Some people will argue that there will be emig...More Button

The fact that so many farmers are leaving the land is a blazing indictment of the policy of the Minister, or a policy that has masqueraded as an agricultural policy. Each and every one of us publ...More Button

We all know there was a time when the maladministration natural to a foreign occupation could be blamed for our national illnesses when wealth accumulated and men decayed. The present flight from ...More Button

Deputy Smith, the former Minister for Agriculture, realising that some sections of the community, whether through the strength of their organisation or because they were holding the Government up t...More Button

Never in the history of the country was it more necessary than at present to have a period of stability so that our primary producers, the farmers, can prepare and equip themselves for the more com...More Button

Today there are thousands of acres of land not producing half what they are capable of producing if the farmers were given the wherewithal to do the work. The farmers ask nothing from any Minister...More Button

No. I said there will never be prosperity in the country unless his wage is fixed at something like that.More Button

I said he should be put in the position to do it.More Button

Oh, Lord!More Button

If you take credit for the sun, you must take credit for the rain.More Button

It has done its job. It may be abolished today.More Button

But it gets only one-fifth of the national income.More Button

It took you a long time to learn that.More Button

You disagreed with the Government at that time, when you were a student at college. That was when the Minister was in Fine Gael.More Button

Why do they not stop Deputy MacEntee from living in the past?More Button

They are exterminated. They are gone—300,000 of them.More Button

If reports could save them, they would be well saved.More Button

The Minister can teach us a lesson in that regard.More Button

That one will be hopping for a while.More Button

I was told that figures can be very misleading.More Button

The Minister told us that these official statistics could be misleading.More Button

Are we to take it that the Minister is being honest?More Button

Deputy O'Connor criticised it.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Reunification of Ireland.

It is so long ago he has forgotten.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Yield of Increased CIE Fares.

Is it true that the company envisages the laying off of 5,000 men?More Button

The whole country has a strong rumour that they intend to do that.More Button

The announcement will be kept back until after next Wednesday but everybody knows well that it is going to happen.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Penalties on Seamen.

The public is being well flogged by the Government.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Local Elections.

asked the Minister for Local Government if he is now in a position to announce the date on which the local elections will be held.More Button

Surely the Parliamentary Secretary is aware that we were told that the announcement would be made before the end of April? We should like to know what is the reason. Is it for political consider...More Button

The Minister has never given us the reason.More Button

Committee on Finance - Vote 38 — Agriculture (Resumed).

We wanted the Minister to make it in the House.More Button

After next week.More Button

It would be in operation but for the Presidential election.More Button

We will hunt you into your dens.More Button

You never had much respect for him when he was here.More Button

After the election.More Button

On the electorate.More Button

That is more of our policy you have swallowed.More Button

That there is a Presidential election next Wednesday.More Button

So they were at Budget time, too, but you did not do it then.More Button

It is still not back to the 1954 price.More Button

The price is less than it was 20 years ago when Deputy Dillon fixed it in 1948.More Button

The Minister is looking into everything for the next week.More Button

Buying the Presidency.More Button

Threepence? That can be 6d.More Button

We know the Minister's promises from before.More Button

To win the Presidential election.More Button

We know the urgency. Tom O'Higgins is doing a little too well.More Button

More margarine.More Button