Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Irish Biscuits.

Thursday, 24 March 1977

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 298 No. 3

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18.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state the brand names of Irish biscuit manufacturers.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I assume that what the Deputy has in mind is the brand names of biscuits manufactured in this country. A full list of such names is not readily available to me.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  Can the Parliamentary Secretary indicate the manufacturing brand names?

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I do not grasp the distinction between brand names and the manufacturing brand names. In any [389] event, there is not available to me a list of all the brand names. The Deputy will appreciate that, of their nature, brand names can change quickly.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  The question as it appears here seems to be different from the question I submitted. I asked whether, in addition to Jacobs and Bolands, there are other manufacturers.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I have no knowledge of any change in the Deputy's question, which I am answering on the basis of the form in which it appears here.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that there are two manufacturers of biscuits here—Jacobs and Bolands?

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Yes.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  But is he aware that Bolands biscuits on sale in Dublin are made in Great Britain and imported by the Irish biscuit manufacturers? In view of the “Buy Irish” campaign, are the Government concerned about the identity of Irish-made products? Can the Parliamentary Secretary indicate why Bolands biscuits are manufactured in Great Britain and imported into Ireland when we have a biscuit manufacturing firm worried about the importation of foreign biscuits?

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I have noted the Deputy's statement and I will have the matter referred to investigated. I will then communicate with the Deputy.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that Bolands biscuits are on sale in Dublin which are manufactured in Great Britain?

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I have noted the Deputy's statement and I will have the matter investigated.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  The Parliamentary Secretary is not aware of the situation. In view of the confusion to Irish housewives who are anxious to buy Irish goods will the Parliamentary Secretary have this matter rectified as soon as possible?

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  The matter will be investigated.

[390]19.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if Irish biscuit manufacturers have made representations to have restrictions placed on the importation of foreign biscuits.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I have received representations of the nature to which the Deputy refers. The position is that the EEC Commission recently indicated that measures would be authorised by them which would have the effect of assisting Irish biscuit manufacturers to compete both on the home and export markets with biscuits of foreign manufacture. The exact details of these measures are at present being worked out.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  In view of the fact that the Minister has received representations from Irish biscuit manufacturers in relation to the importation of foreign biscuits, can the Parliamentary Secretary indicate why the same biscuit manufacturers import biscuits made in Great Britain?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  That is a repetition of the supplementary asked on the previous question.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  This is a different question. The Minister has received representations from biscuit manufacturers in Ireland in relation to restrictions on the importation of biscuits but the same people are importing biscuits, under their own brand name, from England. Will the Minister investigate this situation?

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I have told the Deputy that I am having this matter investigated. But the Deputy will appreciate that, even if firms are importing a certain range of biscuits and selling them under their own brand name, it does not take away from the fact that they may be manufacturing large amounts of biscuits here. There is the desirability of protecting the employment involved in that latter operation, in spite of any importation that may be taking place by the same firm.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  In view of the fact that the biscuit manufacturers here do not appear to have the capacity to manufacture the biscuits required for [391] home consumption, has any application been made to the IDA for assistance to expand their plants so that Irish workers can be employed in the manufacture of biscuits which Irish housewives are anxious to purchase?

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I do not wish to be drawn into any detailed comment on this matter until I have made the investigation I said I would undertake. I am sure the Deputy is aware that the biscuit market is a very diverse one and that people may require a certain small amount of a particular type of biscuit which it would not be possible perhaps to manufacture here. In the interests of specialisation and the economies of scale it may be necessary for Irish manufacturers to concentrate on particular lines.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Joseph Dowling  Zoom on Joseph Dowling  Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that if there are defects in the biscuits manufactured in Great Britain by Bolands the defective packages are sent back to Tallaght in County Dublin for rectification?


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