Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Export of Low-Price Sugar.

Tuesday, 7 April 1964

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 208 No. 7

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[1029]41.

Mr. McQuillan: Information on John McQuillan  Zoom on John McQuillan  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he has seen the statement by Lieutenant-General M.J. Costello, general manager of the Irish Sugar Company, that there was a racket in the exporting of low-price sugar by some interests; whether he has investigated this matter; if he will give details of what this racket is; and if he will make a full statement on the matter.

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  I have seen this statement but I do not understand it. The export of sugar as such or in goods is prohibited except under licence. Licences to export sugar are issued only to the Irish Sugar Company and licences for the export of goods containing Irish-manufactured sugar are issued only on the certification of the Sugar Company that the appropriate export price has been paid. In the case of the limited quantities of sugar which are being imported for the export trade under special authorisation granted in respect of this year to two manufacturers of sugar goods the export licences are limited to the quantities imported.

Mr. McQuillan: Information on John McQuillan  Zoom on John McQuillan  Surely the Minister is not serious when he states he does not understand what was reported in the daily papers recently as being a statement made by Lieutenant-General Costello in which he further stated that backstage pressure was being used by people who wanted to make money quickly in the export market when he referred to people looking for export licences. If this is true and if it is also true that there was a concerted move, according to General Costello by some of the manufacturers of goods which use sugar, not to buy industrial sugar but to buy commercial sugar in order that they would get commercial sugar at the industrial price at a later stage, would the Minister not consider that there is every reason for an inquiry by him on behalf of the community into whatever has taken place behind the scenes in the export of Irish sugar, processed or otherwise?

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  Where disputes arise [1030] between the supplier of sugar and the manufacturers, the contract for the provision of such sugar provides for a system of arbitration by which the dispute can be investigated. In the two cases which the Deputy may have in mind that procedure is being followed so that at this stage the matter should be regarded as sub judice.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Would the Minister say who is conducting the investigation?

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  There is an arbitration procedure which provides for the appointment of an arbitrator with the agreement of both sides to the contract. I do not think I should comment any more. This is a legal matter outside my responsibility.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  The Minister is responsible to the House.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. McQuillan: Information on John McQuillan  Zoom on John McQuillan  Is the Minister aware that it is publicly believed that at least £100,000 has been made by certain people by the manipulation of sugar prices in this country?

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  This is most improper.

Mr. McQuillan: Information on John McQuillan  Zoom on John McQuillan  If this is the position will the Minister now have a public inquiry and forget all the hypocrisy and nonsense about arbitration?

Mr. Crotty: Information on Patrick J. Crotty  Zoom on Patrick J. Crotty  The Tánaiste says it is most improper.

Mr. McQuillan: Information on John McQuillan  Zoom on John McQuillan  Of course, it is most improper——

Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  It is most improper that the Deputy should be here——

(Interruptions.)

Mr. McQuillan: Information on John McQuillan  Zoom on John McQuillan  Does the Minister want this on the Adjournment or is he going to answer the question?

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  I shall answer the question to the extent that the procedure to which I have referred has been availed of by the parties to the dispute. I do not know where the Deputy got the information about £100,000 profit——

[1031]Mr. MacEntee: Information on Seán MacEntee  Zoom on Seán MacEntee  He imagined it.

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  If there is means of verifying that, it will be verified and proven in the course of the arbitration proceedings and the arbitrator will find accordingly.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I cannot allow these questions to go on forever.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Is the arbitrator appointed by the Minister?

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  As I have already explained, he is agreed between those concerned in the contract made between the two parties. In the form of the usual arbitration two persons act, one on behalf of each party, with an independent chairman.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan  Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan  Is the arbitration——

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  I think this is most improper because this is a legal proceeding.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  On a point of order, there are no legal proceedings. There is no issue sub judice or any judicial person involved in this matter. If the matter were in the hands of the courts we would understand at once, but I want to submit, as a point of order, that there is no matter in the hands of the court.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I am not acting on the question of legal proceedings but there have been about 20 supplementary questions already.

Mr. McQuillan: Information on John McQuillan  Zoom on John McQuillan  May I ask——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I shall allow no more questions on this subject. I have already allowed at least 20 supplementary questions.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  There is something wrong with the Chair's calculation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  There are several questions dealing with the matter. I have allowed 20 questions at least and there is nothing wrong with my calculation.


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