Thursday, 23 October 1969
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. O'Hara: asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he is aware of the serious unrest amongst farmers because he has not discussed their problems with representatives of farmer organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Mr. Blaney: I would refer the Deputy to the statement which I made  on this subject in Dáil Éireann on 10th December, 1968, when I said, with reference to talks then proceeding between the two main organisations aimed at defining functions and working relationships between them:
In the Government's view it is very important that these talks should lead to satisfactory undertakings between the organisations, as this is the real kernel of the problem of how the Government are to carry out effective consultations on policy matters with farmers' representatives.
Personally, I am not wedded to any particular type of representative machinery for the purpose of discussions with Government and Ministers, provided the major organisations can agree about it. If the main farmers' organisations wish to form their own council, I am quite prepared to deal with it and give it a reasonable share of my time and that of my officials. Agriculture is confronted with many problems at the present time, and the sooner organisations get down to the serious business of examining these in consultation with the Government, the better pleased I shall be. If they can agree on some way of working together and on the machinery which should form the basis for consultations with the Government, there would be no difficulty whatever in establishing close relations with the Minister and his Department.
This is still the Government's position. The farm organisations and their members are well aware of it. Agreement among the main farm organisations on the form of representative machinery is the kernel of the whole problem. Meanwhile, the organisations are being given the opportunity individually to express their views as and when the necessity arises. I had full-scale meetings with them in March and April last and I have agreed to meet them again soon to discuss current problems.
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