Wednesday, 26 March 1997
Dáil Éireann Debate
14. Mr. Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the total payment made to a consultancy company (details supplied) for work carried out by it for An Bord Bia; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8417/97]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Mr. Yates): In responding to this question, I want to make it clear that the engagement of consultants is a function of the day-to-day activities of An Bord Bia in relation to which the board and management of the organisation are free to make their own decisions without reference to me or my Department. In this case the company involved has been paid a sum of £136,000 in respect of market research work in the meat sector.
15. Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the number of prosecutions in respect of the use of illegal growth promoters in each of the years from 1992 to 1997; the number of cases in which convictions were secured in each of those years; his views on whether there is little relationship between the fines which may be levied and the relatively low alternative custodial sentences; the plans, if any, there are to review the relevant legislation to provide for more lengthy custodial sentences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8379/97]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Mr. Yates): Details of prosecutions relating to illegal growth promoters which have been dealt with by the courts in the period 1992 to 1997 are set out in the following statement.
Under the legislation the courts may also ban a person who has been convicted, on indictment, from keeping animals, animal remedies or being engaged in the production of food for human or animal consumption. The duration of such a ban is at the discretion of the court and may be for life. In addition, a court may order the forfeiture of an animal or animal remedy to which an offence relates.
 I should add that since 1 July 1996 where an illegal growth promoter is found on a farmer's premises or where residues of growth promoting substances are found in an animal, the farmer is deemed ineligible for bovine headage or premia payments for a period of one year. In the case of a repeated infringement, the period may be extended to a period of up to five years.
I consider that the legislation and the other penalites which I have referred to constitute meaningful sanctions for abuses in this area. The appropriate penalty to be imposed on conviction in each instance is, of course, a matter for the courts.
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