Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Investment in Agriculture.

Thursday, 2 May 1974

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 272 No. 5

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118.

Mr. Meaney: Information on Thomas J. V. Meaney  Zoom on Thomas J. V. Meaney  asked the Minister for Finance if he is aware that agriculture in Ireland will require an input of £1,000 million over the next ten years to make the industry viable; and if he will state how this will be raised and the amount that will be available this year.

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  I am aware that a figure of £1,000 million over a ten-year period has been published by the IFA Livestock Committee as the amount of investment required to implement an expansion programme which they consider desirable. If an investment of this order is required it will be financed primarily by farmers reinvesting their own income, by Exchequer grants and by borrowing from the ACC, the banks and other financial sources.

The amount of public funds available to aid farmers' investment in [816] agriculture in the period April-December, 1974, is—

Loan capital from ACC £34.0m
Capital grants from the Vote for Agriculture £7.3m
Other public investment in agriculture £11.0m
£52.3m

In addition to that sum the banks will of course provide normal credit for agricultural purposes.

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  Does the Minister accept that £1,000 million is necessary and by his own statement he is now saying that he is putting in only £52 million?

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  No, that is not so.

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  Is the Minister expecting the banks to supply the rest?

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  Perhaps the Deputies are not aware that the banking system holds most of the money available for agriculture here. Is he suggesting that we close the banks?

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  At what price?

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  Is it now Fianna Fáil policy to close banks and nationalise them?

Mr. Meaney: Information on Thomas J. V. Meaney  Zoom on Thomas J. V. Meaney  At 17 per cent?

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  What is wrong with the banking system? Are Fianna Fáil against it?

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  The Minister will not let the banks give the money to the farmers.

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  The truth is that——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy MacSharry and Deputy Meaney must restrain themselves.

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  ——the amount of money now being made available to the agricultural industry is around £120 million per year which, as I pointed out in my first reply, was about £23 million more than was made available by my predecessor. That figure is in excess of the £1,000 million to which the IFA refer.

[817]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am calling Question No. 119.

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  Farmers cannot get the money when they go to the banks.

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  It seems to me that the wrong people are——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I have called the next question.


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