Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Membership of EEC.

Wednesday, 7 July 1971

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 255 No. 5

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8.

Mr. O'Hara: Information on Thomas O'Hara  Zoom on Thomas O'Hara  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if any special consideration is being given by this country's [790] negotiators for EEC membership to the problems that will arise in the small farm areas in the Republic where there is large scale unemployment and emigration and where there is a growing fear that EEC membership will bring about a worsening of this situation rather than an improvement; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Transport and Power (Mr. B. Lenihan) (for the Minister for Foreign Affairs): Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  I do not accept the Deputy's suggestion that EEC membership will bring about a worsening of the situation of small farmers and I would refer him to the reply given by the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries on 1st July to questions by Deputy Hogan on this subject.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  Did the Minister see the Late Late Show on television some months ago when the small farmers, as distinct from big farmers, made it quite clear that they are very concerned in this regard.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  I am not answering questions about the Late Late Show.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  Those people, who appeared en masse on the show, were representing the small farmers. They were not members of Fianna Fáil or of any other party.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  It is apparent that the immediate benefits that will come into effect on the 1st January, 1973 in respect of the agricultural community cannot but have a beneficial influence.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  The small farmers do not think so.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  They are misled.

9.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether any information under the heading of alternative choices to full membership of the EEC will be given in the proposed White Paper.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  The Government intend to place before the Oireachtas and the public in the proposed White Paper the terms of accession and all other considerations which are relevant [791] to our application for membership of the European Communities.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  Arising out of the Minister's very exact reply—exact according to the Minister's standards— may I ask him whether he will give the Irish people a real choice in this matter by supplying them with the information which would suggest what would be the debit or credit side of not entering? The Minister has confined himself to saying that they will merely give information relevant to the Government's own application.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  It is quite clear to anybody with common sense that the White Paper must inevitably have regard to the implications for Ireland of remaining outside the Community.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  Therefore, the answer to the question is “Yes”.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  Yes, of course it is.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  There will be a quantified assessment of the effects of not going in?

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  “Quantification” is a very large term but the facts relating to our remaining outside and what these facts would mean as far as the Irish community is concerned will be contained in the White Paper.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  And quantified.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  I do not know the precise nature of the quantification.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The Minister should.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Question No. 10.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  Will the Minister agree that we have had enough official prose on the matter of the Government's application and it is time we had the figures?

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  All aspects will be contained in the White Paper, sufficient for a mature decision to be reached by the Irish Parliament and by the people.

10.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether his Department is aware of trade union [792] reaction to the EEC Commission's proposal that protection should cease for the motor assembly industry by 1980; and what action is being taken to lengthen the period necessary for adaptation beyond 1980.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  The position is that the Community has not as yet put proposals to us in regard to the motor car assembly industry. Until proposals are adopted by the Council of Ministers and formally put to us, I do not think that it would be appropriate to comment publicly on their likely content.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  When will the Minister be in a position to give more information to the House on this vital matter?

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  First things first. The Minister has been seeking to have meetings with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions this week on this matter and owing to their involvement in a conference in Limerick this has not been possible but at the earliest possible date such consultation will take place prior to the Minister's own meeting of July 12th.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  Does this mean that the Government accept that motor cars will not be assembled in Ireland after 1980?

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  This is a matter of very detailed and delicate discussion at present and the Minister is in full touch with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions on the matter.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte  Zoom on Patrick D. Harte  I fully appreciate that this is a serious matter. That is not an answer to my question. What I am asking the Minister is whether the Government accept that after 1980 motor cars will no longer be assembled in Ireland.

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  This is a matter under discussion at the present point of time.

Mr. Coogan: Information on Fintan Coogan  Zoom on Fintan Coogan  Why is it delicate?

Mr. B. Lenihan: Information on Patrick J. Lenihan  Zoom on Patrick J. Lenihan  Obviously any negotiations must be delicate in the national interest.

(Interruptions.)


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