Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Cattle Exports.

Wednesday, 30 June 1976

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 291 No. 14

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16.

Mr. Hussey, Mr. McEllistrim: Information on Thomas Hussey  Zoom on Thomas Hussey  and Mr. Gallagher asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he [2077] considers the present large-scale export of young cattle a serious threat to the size of the national herd in future years.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton  Zoom on Mark A. Clinton  Exports of cattle this year are running at a level substantially lower than in 1975 and I do not consider the present volume of the trade to be a threat to the size of the future national herd. I would also refer the Deputies to what I said on the subject of exports of cattle and calves when introducing the Estimate for my Department on 2nd June.

Mr. Gallagher: Information on Denis Gallagher  Zoom on Denis Gallagher  Does the Minister not accept that it would be in the interests of the economy to rear cattle to a stage at which they would be much heavier, thereby benefiting the economy more as against selling them when they are young and small? By doing this we are doing a certain amount of destruction to the economy.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton  Zoom on Mark A. Clinton  It depends on the particular time. There was a time when it was a big advantage to us to have this sort of outlet.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons  Zoom on James M. Gibbons  It was not.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton  Zoom on Mark A. Clinton  We could not consider it is an advantage to us any longer, but I have heard people roaring across the House at me that calves were being given away and sold at £1 apiece and there were other Deputies opposite, and they are present today, who would agree that this is something we should not make an effort to stop. I understand that we cannot stop it.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons  Zoom on James M. Gibbons  Yes, we can.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton  Zoom on Mark A. Clinton  We have no power to stop these exports. They are substantially down this year on what was going out last year.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons  Zoom on James M. Gibbons  Does the Minister not accept that it is obviously inherently inimical to the expansion of the cattle industry to export young cattle and that temporary circumstances, which would seem to make it profitable in the short term to export calves or yearlings, are [2078] ultimately prejudicial to the longterm interests of the herd and the employment of Irish workers?

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton  Zoom on Mark A. Clinton  Whatever one may feel about this, the Deputy knows as well as I do that I have no power to stop this.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Information on James M. Gibbons  Zoom on James M. Gibbons  The Minister has.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton  Zoom on Mark A. Clinton  There is no power by which I can stop these exports. As well as that, the price of cattle at the moment is very high.

Mr. Gallagher: Information on Denis Gallagher  Zoom on Denis Gallagher  Because they are scarce.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton  Zoom on Mark A. Clinton  That enables Irish breeders, who want to do it, to compete in the export market, and there is no power I have to stop these exports, much as I would like to stop them.


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