Wednesday, 23 October 1946
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Hughes: asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will state, with reference to the recent Food Mission to London: (a) what proposals were made by the British Ministry of Food to secure increased imports from this country; (b) whether such proposals were acceptable to our delegation; (c) whether the British Ministry was specially interested in any particular class of food; (d) what efforts were made by himself and his officials to secure a more equitable scale of livestock prices when compared with British home prices; (e) whether the offer of ld. a pound increase in the price of beef was accepted by our representatives in the form of an agreement, and (f) why he considered it necessary to have the personnel of the mission exclusively drawn from the Civil Service.
Dr. Ryan: Conversations took place recently between the British Ministry of Food and my Department in regard to certain matters, which subsequently were discussed by me with the Minister of Food. These matters were fat cattle prices and a long-term contract  for the sale of eggs. The discussions in regard to eggs resulted in agreement being reached on the terms of a contract for a period of three years commencing in February next, which will be the subject of a formal agreement. In the case of cattle prices, the best offer that could be obtained was an increase of 1d. per lb. in the current price schedule for fat cattle and beef carcases. No formal agreement was entered into in respect of this increase, which became effective from the 1st October, 1946.
With regard to the final part of the question, before the negotiations referred to were undertaken, the matters to be dealt with were fully discussed by my Department with representatives of the trade interests concerned. There was no food mission, as that term is generally understood, and negotiations were confined to the two subjects I have mentioned—eggs and fat cattle prices.
General Mulcahy: Would the Minister say whether a statement recently made by a member of the British Government, to the effect that we here had no butter or bacon to offer as exports to Great Britain, was made as the result of consultation with the Government here?
General Mulcahy: Are we to understand from the Minister that there have been no conversations between our Government here and the British Government in relation to the export of either butter or bacon?
Dr. Ryan: In regard to eggs, the council which sits for that purpose was consulted. In regard to cattle individual traders were consulted, but I could not say that the cattle trade was consulted in a formal way.
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