Friday, 20 May 1949
Dáil Éireann Debate
That a sum not exceeding £1,534,000 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1950, for Agricultural Produce Subsidies, etc.
Mr. Lemass: I think I made it clear that, while we were discussing policy on the main Estimate, there were specific matters on these subsidiary Estimates for which Deputies would require an opportunity for consideration. We are not agreed to the putting of these Estimates without our being afforded an opportunity for discussing them.
“An Ceann Comhairle: I should like to know whether the House desires that Votes Nos. 29 and 30 should  be discussed together. In the case of No. 30, of course, an opportunity could be afforded for a division, if it were desired, on the question to refer back by putting that formally. Votes Nos. 29 and 30 are usually discussed together.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Votes will be discussed together so far as policy is concerned. Minor questions may be raised on Vote No. 30. An opportunity to vote on the question to refer back will be afforded on Vote No. 30.
Mr. Dillon: If the well-established practice of the House is followed, questions can be answered. I should like the Leader of the Opposition to say, however, if he proposes to withhold from us a division on this Vote to-day.
Mr. G. Boland: The practice of the House has been this: In my Department there was a Garda Síochána Vote and a Vote for the Office of the Minister for Justice. It often happened, when we agreed to discuss the whole lot together, that there was a prolonged debate on the Garda Síochána Vote. This is a similar situation. There are separate Votes, but if Deputies want to speak on the second Vote, I maintain they have the right.
Mr. Lemass: The Minister indicated, in the course of his introductory speech, that he is anticipating a substantial increase in the production of creamery butter this year. This Vote provides money for subsidising creamery butter. Nevertheless, it shows no increase over last year. I want the Minister to explain to the House, as one of the matters arising under this specific Estimate, whether we are to assume from that fact that the rate of subsidy per cwt. is to be reduced and the price to the consumers increased, or that the Minister for Finance has deliberately ignored the possibility of a higher demand for subsidy arising on this Vote and prepared the Budget on a false basis. That is one matter upon which I think the House should get information.
Mr. Smith: I move that the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration. I was anxious that we should have a separate discussion on this Vote as the price of milk was fixed as far back as 1947 on my recommendation.
Mr. Lemass: The debate on this Vote could quite easily have been concluded to-day if the Minister had allowed the Dáil to do so. I take it he talked at such length in order to prevent the Dáil from doing so.
Mr. Smith: I was anxious to have the matter discussed because, as I said, the price of milk was fixed as  far back as April, 1947, I think, on my recommendation by the Government of which I was a member. Many things have happened since that took place. I was anxious to single out this one particular item because of the fact that, following the fixation of the price of milk in 1947, I was pilloried by a number of people, some of whom were then members of this House and some who were not then members but who have since secured election to the House, largely because of the dissatisfaction expressed by them as to the manner in which I treated the milk producers. Irrespective of the case, or the alleged case, made by the Minister, I believe that, from the point of view of the live-stock industry, unless the Minister for Agriculture and the Government make up their minds to treat the dairy farmers in a manner different from that in which they have been treated by them since they came into office, then, apart altogther from the question of milk and butter and the difficulty of disposing of any surplus butter we have, there is no hope of our being able to increase the live-stock population.
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