Wednesday, 21 May 1986
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Hyland: Does the Minister agree  that to cut the budget for agricultural education and research, as has been done by the Minister recently, and to do it at present is a vote of no confidence in and an abandonment of the agricultural industry?
In view of the fact that the budget has been so severely restricted will the Minister tell the House what areas of agricultural education and research should be scaled down by ACOT and the agricultural research bodies? In view of the fact that profit margins in most farming enterprises are diminishing, with the possible exception of perhaps the dairying industry — and even in that industry profits are diminishing — does the Minister not agree that it is now of greater importance than ever that additional money should be made available for agricultural education and research?
Mr. Deasy: The two bodies in question operate quite effectively within the bounds of the money which has been allocated. Those two bodies received £51 million in the current year, £38 million of which is provided directly by the State. They have the finances which are necessary to perform the activities for which they were set up.
Mr. Hyland: I am going to ask a question but I must lead up to it. There has been a cut of 6 per cent in terms of total allocation to both bodies. In this context there has to be a corresponding cutback in the level of services available.
Mr. Hyland: I want the Minister to tell the House, within the framework of that serious restriction in finance, what areas  of agricultural education and research should be eliminated by those bodies.
Mr. Deasy: I have been accused of many things in my day but never evasion. To suggest that just because there is a cutback in the amount of money provided it will automatically mean a cutback in the quality of service being provided is not a logical sequence.
Mr. Deasy: We feel in this case as in many other cases — and there have been cutbacks right across the public sector in both State and semi-State bodies — that the cut-backs can be borne by the bodies in question without impairing their performance.
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