Wednesday, 8 December 1976
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Clinton: As I indicated in reply to a question on 2nd December, the operation of the safeguard clause under which imports of cattle and beef into the Community may be suspended is a function of the Commission. A decision of the Commission  on this matter can only be over-ruled by a qualified majority of the Council of Ministers and it is clear from the discussions which have taken place in the Council that such a majority would not be forthcoming.
Mr. Crinion: The Minister's colleague used the veto before and in a situation like this I think he should consider it. Was it not a decision like this in 1974 that created the complete slump in cattle last year?
Mr. Clinton: I do not understand what the Deputy means when he says a colleague of mine used the veto. I am not aware that anybody has as yet used the veto in Brussels. It is a thing to be used very sparingly.
Mr. Crinion: The Minister has not answered the second part of my question. Was it not a situation similar to what will arise after 1st April next that created the slump in 1974 and has the Minister safeguards to ensure the same situation will not arise again?
Mr. Clinton: The first time the safeguard clause was invoked was in 1974 after a long campaign of several months and finally a special meeting. That is what invoked it. It took all that time to persuade the various members to support the implication of the clause. It is a most unpopular clause to invoke with many of the member states. There is a great deal of resistance to it because many of them, for trading reasons, do not want to use it and it is only too obvious at the moment that nobody wants it continued. It is the Commission who have the authority and the right to remove it and they have removed it.
Mr. Clinton: Any safeguards will not be just for Ireland. They will be for all the member states. At the moment we are discussing a suitable import régime to be used when we reach the end of the use of the safeguard clause.
Mr. Callanan: Is the Minister satisfied that what happens next April will not affect this country in about three years' time and is he satisfied we will not have a repetition of 1974? There is no danger for the next five months or two years but I am thinking of the confidence on the part of the people who are producing cattle.
Mr. Clinton: The Deputy knows there will not be any immediate serious effects and the stores are not big enough in Europe to have a carryover effect for three years. What happened before was that there was an over-supply situation, not just in Europe but all over the world, and before it was decided to put a total ban on beef imports you had a great deal of meat already stored.
|Last Updated: 14/09/2010 16:58:45||Page of 48|