Thursday, 23 November 1972
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. O.J. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries the representations made by the Government to the EEC Commission and Council in connection with the Community's proposal that only farmers having more than ten adult cattle should be eligible for the proposed Community aids to beef and veal production, in view of the fact that Irish owners of small herds would wish to avail of such grants.
Mr. O.J. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries whether the proposed Community incentives to beef and cattle production and the proposed grant for the slaughter of heifers after calving and for the non-marketing of milk and milk products will be a disincentive to Irish dairy producers and tend to increase the relative incomes of large grassland farmers as against dairy farmers, with harmful consequences in rural Ireland; and whether he has made any representations to the EEC in the matter.
I understand that, in view of the objections voiced by this country and some of the existing member countries, the proposal mentioned in the first question has been shelved. Our objections to certain features of the other proposals were also conveyed to the Commission and the Council of Ministers.
 As indicated in my reply of 9th November to Deputy Bruton, no final conclusions on those proposals were reached at the Council meeting of 31st October and the whole matter is to be considered again.
Mr. J. Gibbons: There are a number of different proposals. Some of them, as far as we can see, are not of great value, either to the Community or to us. The scheme which seems to me to offer the best possibilities is a scheme similar to the calved heifer scheme which we operated some years ago. Any beef development scheme should pay particular attention to bringing about an increase in breeding herds rather than making an all-out flat payment as some of the suggestions before the Council of Ministers seem to want.
Mr. J. Gibbons: Yes. The objections which we had to a lower limitation in some of these proposals were voiced by me at the meeting of Ministers in Luxembourg. This, in our context of large numbers of small herds, unless the limitation were very low indeed, would be unsuitable for our conditions.
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