Thursday, 20 October 1977
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Bruton: asked the Minister for Agriculture if areas of the EEC are exempt from the EEC milk levy; if he has made representations to have disadvantaged areas in Ireland similarly exempted; and, if so, the date of such representations.
Every effort was made by my predecessor to have these exempted areas extended to include other disadvantaged areas such as exist in this country and elsewhere but these efforts were unsuccessful and the levy regulation in its present form became law on 17th  May last. No useful purpose would have been served by making further representations after that date.
Mr. Bruton: Would the Parliamentary Secretary undertake that the Minister will make representations in the context of the next price review with a view to having disadvantaged areas excluded from the milk levy?
Mr. Bruton: asked the Minister for Agriculture by whom he is represented on the co-responsibility committee which is concerned with the use of the EEC milk levy; when this committee was set up; how he would wish the levy monies to be used; and if there is any agreement as to the amount of money which will be available for the promotion of the sale of Irish dairy products.
Mr. Bruton: asked the Minister for Agriculture the estimated revenue to the European Community from the EEC milk levy in 1977; if decisions have yet been taken as to the use of the revenue; and how the money will be used pending the implementation of such decisions.
Mr. Hussey: With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, it is proposed to take Questions Nos. 18 and 19 together. There are no ministerial representatives on the co-responsibility group which was established by the EEC Commission last month. Having consulted the group, the Commission is to put forward proposals for expanding the market for milk products but consultations have only just commenced and there have been no discussions as yet on the provision of funds for any particular projects.
It is estimated that in 1977 the Community will receive approximately £19 million from member States in respect of the levy. Accounting arrangements for dealing with the levy receipts have yet to be finalised in consultation with the FEOGA authorities.
Mr. Bruton: Would the Parliamentary Secretary not agree that the  European Commission is somewhat remiss in collecting this money from farmers without yet having a clear idea in mind as to what it will be used for? Would he agree to press for a very quick decision on this matter? Can he give an assurance to the House that at least as much money as is collected within Ireland through the milk levy will be used for the promotion of Irish dairy products?
Mr. Hussey: I shall certainly bring the points raised by the Deputy to the Minister's notice. A final decision has yet to be taken on the distribution of the fund and until such time as that is done I am not in a position to say how those funds will be allocated.
Mr. Bruton: I realise that neither the Parliamentary Secretary nor the Minister is in a position to ensure that these discussions in the EEC would conclude at any particular time but could he give at least a guess as to when a decision will be taken by the Commission?
Mr. Clinton: Will member States be expected to use the money allocated to them in their own countries for promotion? Will they be allowed to use it outside their countries, in Third countries for the promotion of sales of milk products? I think there was an inference in the original proposals that the money would have to be used in the member State. That would be little or no good to us.
Mr. Bruton: Would the Parliamentary Secretary agree that that is a serious situation for us in view of the fact that most of the milk products produced here are not sold in Ireland? If we are confined to using this money for the promotion of milk products in Ireland it will not have much effect on the disposal of Irish milk products as a whole.
Mr. Hussey: I have already indicated that I am not perfectly sure about this. I have tried to answer the question that was put down. These other questions are asked as supplementaries and I have not answers to them.
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