Wednesday, 10 June 1998
Dáil Éireann Debate
 That Dáil Éireann condemns the Government for its failure to honour its pre-election promises to provide funding for the following: (a) a new control of farmyard pollution scheme; (b) a dairy hygiene scheme: (c) Introduction of a new farm installation grant scheme for young farmers; (d) to reopen the live cattle export trade to Egypt and Libya.
Furthermore, Dáil Éireann condemns the Government for its failure: (a) to introduce an efficient farmer-friendly animal traceability scheme; (b) to introduce a comprehensive quality assurance scheme at farm level which is not excessively costly to farmers; (c) to reorganise the area aid unit; (d) to guarantee farmers that results of the 30-day blood tests be made available inside a ten day period and (e) to use its influence to provide for a live cattle shipping service to the Continent.
“Dáil Éireann commends the Government for the effective way it has promoted the agriculture sector since coming into office and, in particular, its efforts in the following areas: (a) the control of farmyard pollution scheme; (b) the dairy hygiene scheme; (c) the introduction of a new farm installation grant scheme for young farmers; (d) the reopening of the live cattle trade to Egypt and Libya.
Furthermore, Dáil Éireann commends the Government for its work on: (a) the introduction of an efficient farmer-friendly animal traceability scheme; (b) the introduction of a comprehensive quality assurance scheme at farm level which is not excessively costly to farmers; (c) the reorganisation of the area aid unit; (d) the guaranteeing to farmers that the results of the 30-day blood tests be made available inside a ten day period, and (e) the provision of a live cattle shipping service to the Continent.”
Mr. Penrose: Contrary to the oft perceived misconception that the Labour Party has no interest in agriculture, I have many colleagues who wish to share my time. May I share my time with Deputy Moynihan-Cronin and Deputy Wall?
Mrs. B. Moynihan-Cronin: It gives me great pleasure to take part in this important debate. As a Deputy from the Kerry South constituency which relies heavily on the agricultural economy for its survival, I am acutely aware of the need to make every effort to support and maintain the maximum number of farm families on the land while ensuring that farm incomes are brought up to an acceptable level.
 A recent study of the South Kerry agricultural economy found that the number of smallholders in the area has decreased substantially in recent years. In South Kerry one in every five farmers in the region must supplement low income from agriculture with social welfare payments. Most of these smallholders have disengaged in dairying as a livelihood because their holdings are no longer viable. About 71 per cent of them operate on holdings of less than 30 hectares. Given the decline in EU supports the fate awaiting these farmers is bleak.
My colleague and Labour Party spokesperson for agriculture, Deputy Penrose, last night demonstrated the case for such farmers. I will add to it by taking up some other important points which in the main focus on the quality of food. It is of vital importance and, indeed, fundamental to the future of the food industry that a truly independent scheme for guaranteeing the health, safety and quality of farm produce is developed. Such a quality scheme for meat and meat products, for example, must be part of a national assurance programme for food safety and quality. To ensure the highest level of acceptance for consumers at home and abroad the scheme must be managed by a truly independent statutory office. This would ensure that sectoral interests do not exert undue influence.
The Government has moved to establish the Food Safety Authority of Ireland on a statutory basis. The ICSA has indicated there should be some liaison between the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and the National Standards Authority of Ireland. This is the designated independent agency which oversees the implementation of the ISO 9000 range of standards as well as guaranteeing food safety in the Departments of Agriculture and Food and Health and Children. All interested parties would have a right to consult the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. In any such arrangement groups representing the interests of consumers, food industry employees, the medical profession, scientists, the veterinary profession, farmers as the primary producers and others deemed by the Food Safety Athority of Ireland to be appropriate, could be consulted from time to time.
The classification of Irish food and food products, including food ingredients, to an internationally recognised standard such as the ISO 9000 standard, which everybody accepts to be a truly objective standard, would increase the confidence and respect of consumers who are extremely important in this matter. The standard is internationally recognised in the export market and the fact that a significant proportion of Ireland's foreign trade is accounted for by food exports, the ISO 9000 standard has become extremely important.
Consumers rights must be respected. I implore the Minister to show his commitment to the farming community, many of whom are in difficult circumstances, and reintroduce the control of farmyard pollution scheme, the dairy hygiene scheme  and honour the pre-election promises to various farming organisations.
Mr. Wall: I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in this debate. Agriculture is facing a challenging time and unless we develop structures and safeguards to deal with these challenges many farm families will be wiped off the rural landscape. Rural depopulation and the difficulties in attracting young farmers into farming are already serious problems for the economy. An ageing farming population coupled with a host of disincentives preventing young people from staying on the land contribute to our inability to meet the demands of highly competitive world markets. The Agenda 2000 proposals will further damage the prospects for farm families. If they are implemented in full young people will not be attracted into farming. While most of the proposals in Agenda 2000 will be negative for Ireland, I am particularly concerned at the implications for our beef industry.
Beef and livestock farming represent our largest farming sector involving 100,000 producers. If we do not vigorously defend this sector the entire economy will suffer. In any proposal to deal with the beef sector there will have to be a major effort to deal with the segments of the industry which were totally excluded from the CAP reform package in 1992. Unless we implement programmes to assist drystock farmers, how will young people be attracted into farming? A great deal of agricultural policy is centred on the big producer and the factory based producer. Forage support is £100 per acre. In this case the winner is the continental producer and the loser is the Irish smallholder. The new extensification rules are of benefit to factory type feed users but drystock farmers will be the losers. Agricultural policy must focus on the real needs of farmers. Beef support must be targeted at drystock farmers and small dairy quota holders. Every support should be given for grass and silage production and there should be an increase in suckler cow premiums.
Last night my party colleague, Deputy Penrose, referred to the accelerated fall off in the numbers employed on farms. According to the first quarterly household survey, published on 26 May, every economic sector, except agriculture, has indicated an increase. If there were to be job losses on a similar scale in any other industry there would be a public outcry.
Ms Coughlan: Cé go bhfuil an Rialtas anseo le bliain anois tá lucháir orm a bheith páirteach sa díospóireacht seo. Guím gach rath ar an Aire agus ar na hAirí Stáit sa Roinn mar tá sé an-deacair cabhair a thabhairt do na feirmeoirí sa tír seo. Ag an am céanna creidim go bhfuil sár obair  déanta acu agus ní aontaím ar chor ar bith leis an rún atá os ar gcomhair anocht.
The agriculture industry is a multi-million pound industry here. Its annual output of approximately £8.8 million provides jobs for more than 195,000 of our citizens. It is important that we adopt a sensible approach to the development of agriculture and support of the agriculture industry. While I thank the Opposition for introducing the motion, there is a little devilment in what it has proposed.
Ms Coughlan: That being said and politics taken out of the equasion, the Government has taken tremendous initiatives with regard to the agriculture industry since taking office. I commend the Minister for providing additional funding for the headage schemes in the budget. Those who come from rural constituencies will be aware that support schemes and support structures are essential to the industry. I commend the Government in providing additional funding for headage payments and also funding for the control of farmyard pollution schemes. It is easy for the Opposition to be critical but it left the mess and expected Fianna Fáil to tidy it up. I commend the Government in providing funding for commitments given. I commend it too on its initiative to support the live export trade. It is important to have competition in the beef industry but it cannot be developed in the absence of live exports. Will the Minister ensure every effort is made by him and his Department and by the Department of Foreign Affairs to emphasise the importance of live exports? The initiative involving State assistance for the MV Purbeck was welcome but I hope there will be an extra impetus in ensuring the live export trade is supported and that we get additional markets for our beef.
The Government has rightly supported the REP scheme. The Minister of State is involved in rural development and in rural policy making. I support the REP scheme which has given excellent incentives to farmers and addressed the concerns of the environmental lobby. I hope more farmers will be included in the scheme because from now on, with the exception of Leader, it will be the only scheme supported by the European Union.
I would have been as critical as any other Member of the House of area aid and the problems that have arisen in that regard. Those problems caused a great deal of frustration for Members who made inquiries of the area aid unit and with regard to digitalisation. I am glad we have grasped the nettle and hope we will be in a position to address any problems that may arise in the future. I commend the Government, and particularly the officials in the Department, for ensuring that so many people have been paid. More  than 10,000 people have been paid in full while the number of queries is in the region of 2,000.
When new schemes are introduced it is important that, first, we ensure there is a sufficient number of officials to deal with any problems and, second, that farmers are facilitated with regard to their applications. The number of people available in the Teagasc offices is minimal and consideration should be given to employing additional staff in those offices.
Some of the regulations that have been introduced in European Union schemes are nonsensical. They do not address the problems of the farmers we represent or those that arise in animal husbandry. The Minister should examine the possibility of changing some of the regulations. For example, if a person who has moved sheep applies for a ewe premium or a sheep headage payment, he must write to the Department of Agriculture and Food to get permission to do so. That is farcical and should be changed.
The turn around figure of 21 days with regard to blood samples is fair and reasonable. Consumer confidence in beef has been restored. That is obvious when one goes to a restaurant for an evening and discovers that beef is back on the menu. That is to be welcomed. I welcome also the initiative by the Food Safety Authority.
The approach to dealing with the problem of farmyard pollution, which will cost millions of pounds to address, should be twofold. We should offer tax incentives to those who offer to participate in the scheme and grant aid to those who cannot afford to participate in it.
We need regional policies in the farming sector because my needs in Donegal are not the same as those of the large farmers in the south. Will the Minister consider coming up with a regional response to the problems in farming?
Mr. B. Smith: I welcome the opportunity to make a brief contribution on this important topic. I fully support the amendment to the motion commending the Government for its positive promotion of the agriculture sector and the leadership the industry has been given since the end of last June by the Minister for Agriculture and Food and his Ministers of State.
Conveniently, the Opposition ignored the progress made by the Minister. This Government, by its actions, demonstrates clearly its commitment to the agricultural sector and the importance of this sector for the national economy. The importance of the sector is clear when one considers that the total expenditure of the Department in 1997 exceeded £2 billion. The importance of the compensatory payments to farmers is underlined by the fact that the £941 million in direct payments amounted to 47 per cent of aggregate farm income in 1997.
As public representatives, we are all aware that  the administration of the various livestock schemes and the issue of payments has improved. As Deputy Coughlan said, all of us experienced frustration and annoyance in the past with the operation of the schemes. Obviously any area of public administration can be improved and that is the case with the administration of the various schemes under the Department.
I appreciate the work of the officials who deal with our representations. They are courteous and efficient and the recent customer service action plan initiative brought forward by the Minister is to be welcomed.
All of us will recall clearly that this time last year, prior to the change of Government, farming was in a depressed state. The necessary and welcome improvements that have been made in agriculture in the meantime are due to the efforts of the Minister, his Ministers of State and the Department.
Mr. B. Smith: The facts hurt the Deputies opposite. I will give them some statistics. Nothing can demonstrate the marked improvements better than the prices paid to farmers. This time last year the price of beef was below 79p per pound while the price this year is 90p per pound. The price of milk in May 1998 was £1.05 per gallon whereas 12 months previously it was under £1 per gallon. We know who was supposed to be in stewardship of the Department at that time.
In recent months, many farmers experienced undue delays in having brucellosis tests returned. This caused hardship to many farmers who needed to sell stock. I welcome the initiatives taken by the Minister to cope with the extra volume of work arising from brucellosis testing. The news that the processing of blood samples will commence on the date they are received in the laboratory will be welcomed by the farming community.
The control of farmyard pollution scheme is extremely important. In less than 12 months in office, the Minister has secured an additional £32.5 million for the scheme, which is welcome. I  urge the Government to make every effort to reopen this scheme for new applicants as soon as possible. The scheme is of particular importance to my own constituency where agricultural activity is intensive. Coupled with intensive farming we have drumlin soil which is not free draining and, therefore, additional cattle housing and effluent facilities are needed.
The farmers I represent want to put in place proper pollution prevention facilities. Generally, they have small to medium sized holdings and they cannot afford the enormous expenditure that would be involved without grant assistance. The reintroduction of the scheme is vital for the future well-being of many farmers. The Minister's announcement that he will examine the possibility of funding for more focused schemes to control farmyard pollution and dairy hygiene is welcome.
I hope the Minister's ongoing efforts to secure additional markets for cattle and beef will be successful. He continues to address these important issues by seeking more markets and by taking direct action to provide livestock carriage by air and sea. Indeed, the development of the Lebanon market provides a valuable market for live cattle.
Mr. J. Brady: As a farmer, I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this debate and to commend the Government on its support for the agriculture sector over the past 12 months. Judging by its record over this short period, I look forward to the day when the industry will make an even greater contribution to our economy.
A vibrant farming sector is vital to the development of rural Ireland. The family farm is the cornerstone of rural society. The position that obtained under the rainbow Administration, when the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry had his hands tied behind his back, was disastrous for farming. During his term in office the control of farmyard pollution and the dairy hygiene schemes ended. I welcome the Minister's commitment to the reintroduction of these schemes.
Mr. J. Brady: The Government has also acknowledged the importance of the agriculture and food industry to the economy. These industries have an annual output of approximately £8.8 million and provide jobs for over 195,000 people. The work of the farming community is at the root of this country's economic success. Fianna Fáil's agricultural policy shows a strong desire to provide leadership, sensible policy, a regulatory framework and working support to ensure that  this important industry continues to play a major part in the developing economy.
Mr. J. Brady: The Minister's improved REPS package will bring close to £205 million per annum to rural economies. He is also to be commended for his efforts in placing emphasis on ensuring the funding provided under the 1999 Leader programme is utilised before the termination of the 1999 deadline. His defence of the national interest in CAP reform area by establishing a consultative group from farming, food processing, State agencies and universities to advise him on negotiations as they evolve is important.
The Government has also taken major steps towards the introduction of animal traceability and quality assurance. The Food Safety Bill, 1998, provides for the establishment of a Food Safety Authority. The reorganising of the area aid unit has recently taken place and will ensure farmers will not encounter delays in respect of their 1998 area aid payments. Significant measures have been introduced to speed up blood tests, including the appointment of 18 extra staff to ensure the processing of samples is commenced on the day they arrive at the laboratory. Additional funding has been provided for headage payments and for control of farmyard pollution. Last month, an extra £20 million was provided for control of farmyard pollution.
Mr. J. Brady: Beef, milk and lamb prices are significantly higher than this time last year. Some 55,000 livestock have already been exported this year. This compares to last year when there were no exports of live animals.
The Minister is acutely aware of the importance of agriculture to the economy. His colleagues in the Cabinet and our parliamentary parties  support him in his endeavours to fight the cause of farmers to the bitter end. The Minister does not share the attitude of the previous Minister that the problems which faced Irish farmers in the midst of the BSE crisis and which was not condemned by any of his colleagues in Government.
The Opposition motion is a joke in that, when they were in Government, they treated farmers with contempt and brought confidence in the industry to a new low. Ministers in this Government do not have their hands tied and I do not doubt that the Minister for Agriculture and Food can deliver for the farmer and rural Ireland for the next four years.
Miss Fox: I welcome the opportunity to speak on a number of matters mentioned in this motion. While I recognise the Minister for Agriculture and Food has made strides to address some of the matters, there is still a major shortfall in many areas of agriculture and these must be clearly stated so that the situation can be rectified.
Control of farmyard pollution grants were suspended in April 1995. My family is involved in the dairy business so I fully appreciate how important these grants are to farmers who need to upgrade their yards. Many farmyards are in serious need of an overhaul to fall in line with basic and acceptable pollution control. If there had been a more tightly focused scheme at the time, the bulk of the funding could have gone to the smaller, more disadvantaged farmers who had a greater need to upgrade their farms in the first place. This would have been a more bottom up approach. However, the position is that hundreds of farmyards need to be upgraded for environmental reasons. Among these are farms prevented from entering REPS schemes because their farmyards are not up to standard. In effect, some farmers are being penalised twice because of the suspension of CFPs. Many feel the cart is being put before the horse.
Installation aid is another vital grant which has been suspended and this is having a negative effect on the farming community, particularly younger farmers. I have been in touch with the Minister a number of times in this regard. We were given a commitment that a more tightly focused scheme would be drawn up between the Departments of Finance and Agriculture and Food. However, this commitment was given in December and it is now June. It has been six months since the commitment was given so I ask the Minister to deal with it with greater urgency than before.
Miss Fox: That is not for me to say. I want it to be dealt with quickly because it is important. Money was allocated for the backlog of files in Teagasc and I have received numerous calls, some as late as today, to say that many files have not been dealt with. Installation aid is a vital  grant for younger farmers. It is a once-off payment to ensure a lifelong job and it is vital that everything is done to encourage young people to stay on farms and to maintain rural life.
Regarding third country markets, we cannot hold the Minister responsible for BSE and that Egypt and Libya banned European beef. I acknowledge efforts are being made to have these markets reopened with various successes such as Lebanon. I urge the Minister to keep trying. We are all at one on this: live exports are vital. I do not understand how we have survived for so long with the restrictions which have been imposed on us.
The area aid unit has been operating almost as a fire brigade service and that is not acceptable. Instead of closing to clear a backlog of 20,000 files, the office should have remained open to farmers to advise them so that the type of mistakes which caused the backlog in the first place could have been avoided. Farming has undergone many changes over the past number of years and more forms must be filled out. This results in payments being delayed for the most ridiculous reasons. Much of this can be prevented with a little advice and help at crucial times. The area aid office could not have been closed at a worse time and I would not like to see it happen again.
Miss Fox: The situation has deteriorated and farmers now have to drive to Tallaght which is worse than driving to the city centre. I urge the Minister to provide a temporary office in the meantime to facilitate farmers in their own area. This facility should have been provided years ago.
Blood tests have taken longer than they should. I have heard numerous farmers complaining that they could not sell cattle because of inexplicable and inexcusable delays. Results not being returned within 21 or 22 days is unacceptable and inexcusable and I do not want it to happen again.
I have also had problems with the calf registration centre. Time and again farmers have had forms returned to them stating they made a mistake. In one case a farmer had a form returned four times stating a mistake had been made. He sent the form back each time without change and on the fourth occasion obtained the card he originally sought. What is the excuse for that? Was a different person working on the fourth occasion? What was the problem? These are simple administration problems which should not happen but they interfere with the livelihoods of farmers at a  time when they need help, not hindrance. I know the Minister is addressing this problem and I hope the result will be positive and effective. I will support the Government amendment as the Minister is addressing the problems, particularly farmyard pollution. However, there is still a long way to go and I will watch with interest.
Mr. Healy-Rae: I am glad to speak on behalf of small farmers in my constituency. I come from a county in which rushes and bushes are in plentiful supply as is water. The problem is that the water is getting dirty and the lakes of Killarney are changing colour. The reasons for this are known.
At a time when farmers are coming under increasing pressure from local authorities, investment is critical to the future competitiveness of agriculture. Young people are running away from farming. No on-farm investment scheme exists and it is time for the Government to introduce positive measures to encourage people to invest in agriculture and to choose farming as a career.
We should stop painting a Domesday scenario for agriculture. Instead we should focus on developing policies which will ensure a vibrant agricultural sector into the next century. The starting point must be the immediate introduction of the dairy hygiene, control of farmyard pollution and installation aid schemes. This would encourage young farmers to invest in their business.
An estimated £120 million would be generated in Kerry under the REPS scheme in five years if the CFP was reintroduced. These schemes will not only benefit farmers but also the rural economy and the environment. Farmers have shown their commitment to controlling pollution by investing almost £2 billion in farm building equipment since 1990, supporting more than 6,000 rural jobs in construction. I am concerned that farm investment has fallen from £330 million in 1995 to an estimated £150 million in 1998. These figures show a lower level of confidence in the industry. The Government and the Minister must address this problem.
Ireland must support its farmers given the importance of agriculture to the economy and the protection of the environment and the role of farmers in maintaining viable rural communities. The Government must ensure that adequate funds are made available without delay to reopen on-farm investment schemes.
Mr. Creed: It is important to strike a balance in this debate between laying legitimate criticism on a Government which is lethargic and indifferent to the plight of agriculture and avoiding talking down an industry which is going through a serious crisis. That industry could go into a tail spin as a result of loose talk. There is a serious crisis in agriculture but it is an industry creating a lifestyle which should be encouraged as it offers great potential for young people if managed properly.
One indicator of the extent of the crisis is that approximately 5,000 people leave agriculture every year and only 600 or 700 are entering. The result is that the average age of Irish farm holders is about the highest in the EU and the percentage of Irish farmers under 35 who own their farms is the lowest at 12 per cent. These are frightening statistics if we want to rejuvenate agriculture and give it a future.
One of the most depressing signals sent out by the Government was the abolition of the installation aid scheme, not so much in the numbers affected but by the nature of the signal. In recent years this scheme has not been a huge driving force in terms of young farmers entering agriculture. That is probably because it was not index linked and never reached the proper levels. If it had been indexed linked it would probably have been in the region of £10,000 or £12,000 rather than £5,600 when the scheme was terminated. The abolition of the scheme was a retrograde indicator to the industry and the Minister should re-examine the situation urgently. We cannot afford the open chequebook which the Independent Deputies are giving the Government on these schemes. We have had promises of DVO offices in Wicklow and commitments to reintroduce installation aid but nothing has happened. Until such time as we see positive signals the unquestioning support of the Independent Deputies should be withheld.
The Minister has given a commitment to relocate the DVO office in Cork city to Clonakilty. This has incensed the majority of farmers in the area as it is seen as a home town decision by the Minister. It has outraged the county executive of the IFA and most farmers in the region. Notwithstanding that the Clonakilty Show Society and a number of other town based organisations may welcome the relocation of staff to Clonakilty, it is a huge inconvenience for the majority of farmers.
Everyone who lobbied for the relocation of the DVO office from Cork city did so because the city was inaccessible — there were problems with traffic, office opening hours, parking etc. To travel to Clonakilty from Carriganimmy, Macroom, Ballyvourney, Cúil Aodha, Clondrohid, Coachford and Dunmanway is a greater inconvenience. Given the amount of time it has taken to relocate the office to Clonakilty it is probable that the Minister is announcing this in the hope of picking up some kudos in his home town. However, he should reconsider. It would be easy to say it should be located in my constituency but I will  not do so. However, all of the lobby groups ask that it be relocated to a central location accessible to all, namely, Bandon.
Legitimate criticism has been levied during this debate on a series of matters outlined in the motion: installation aid, dairy hygiene, control of farmyard pollution and live exports. Prior to the last election and during the election campaign, for electoral purposes Fianna Fáil and the present Minister cynically exploited an industry which was and still is in difficulty. Since taking office the Government has done nothing to address these issues. A cast iron guarantee was given to the IFA, ICMSA and Macra na Feirme that the installation aid scheme would remain in place if Fianna Fáil was returned to Government.
Mr. Creed: It was also stated that the control of farmyard pollution scheme and the dairy hygiene scheme would be reintroduced immediately and that the latter would cost only £5 million to cover outstanding applicants. It was claimed that it was only a matter of removing Democratic Left and the Labour Party from Government and live export markets would reopen. I accept that these are difficult issues as they involve considerable finance. However, the manner in which expectations were raised and dashed is unforgivable and the farming community is very reluctant to forgive the Government.
There is a significant danger that because the sheep meat sector is not mentioned in Agenda 2000, the Santer proposals, it will be neglected and measures proposed for dairy and beef will not impact on sheep — nothing could be further from the truth. It is time that we looked for a flat rate ewe premium. The manner in which the ewe premium is calculated has to be revisited in the present round of Structural Funds negotiations. It should be calculated with reference to what is happening in the marketplace both here and in Britain rather than in the entire 15 member states. Prices are significantly lower here than in continental Europe. The previous Government made submissions on this issue which, as we are aware from replies given at Question Time, the Minister is continuing to pursue.
The process of establishing the third tier of disadvantaged areas which is of critical importance to sheep farmers in remote areas was delayed for a long period by the debate on special areas of conservation and natural heritage areas. Now that those matters have been resolved it is time the process was completed.
On traceability in the sheep sector, it is not possible to have an individual tagging system for sheep, particularly mountain herds. While traceability is essential from the point of view of quality, it is also important that the system works.
On the dairy sector, a 1 per cent increase flies in the face of the commitments given in 1984 when the quota regime was introduced. It has  been calculated that the dairy sector is six times more important to the Irish economy than to any other member state. It is, therefore, legitimate to seek six times more than the maximum increase offered to any other member state. An 8 per cent increase is being offered to hill farmers in Austria and Finland. That is way off the mark in terms of what is needed here. Many farmers are being forced out of dairy production because of inadequate quotas. If we could secure a significant once-off increase in milk quota and redistribute it among smaller dairy farmers, it would be a job well done. Nothing less would be acceptable.
Mr. Timmins: I commend the Minister's party on producing such an excellent election manifesto and Fianna Fáil speakers on delivering their speeches with a straight face. They have to be admired for their loyalty. Deputy Brady, who as a farmer is aware of the difficulties being experienced, must have found this difficult to do. From the content of their contributions, Deputies Fox and Healy-Rae will find it difficult to support the Government amendment.
In the run-up to the general election all we saw on television were the Shandon Bells. Unfortunately, the new messiah has turned out to be a false god. As the Minister of State, Deputy Davern, is aware, members of the agricultural community have good memories. As he meanders his way through the villages of south Tipperary, he must be aware of the effect the slump in the industry is having on local communities. Small garages and hardware stores are being boarded up thanks to the policies being pursued by the Government.
On 3 February I highlighted on the Adjournment the difficulties being experienced in County Wicklow under the REP scheme. I was informed in reply that the scheme was being reviewed and that an announcement would be made in the near future. Approximately 300 farmers are caught in the trap. I look forward to the problems being solved.
In the run-up to the general election a commitment was given to open a district veterinary office in County Wicklow. All that is required is a little office, a little computer, a little desk and two members of staff. I do not know what the difficulty is——
Mr. Timmins: The Minister of State should outline the current position. Will a DVO be opened or is Deputy Fox being strung along? Deputy Gregory would not wait for over one year for a DVO in Gardiner Street. It is a minor matter.
The Government has failed to honour its commitments on the charter of rights introduced by Deputy Yates when Minister. Farmers have  experienced difficulties this year in obtaining payments. There is a possibility that many of them will end up receiving double payments. The Department should be aware of this from a taxation point of view.
Mr. Stanton: The motion calls on us to condemn the Government for its failure to honour its pre-election promises to provide funding in four major areas and to further condemn it for its failure to act in five other areas. The Government, on the other hand, wants us to commend it on its efforts. This is laughable.
On 21 May 1997 Fianna Fáil's policy officer issued a memo on installation aid in which it was stated that Fianna Fáil was committed to the continuation of the scheme which it considered was of importance not only to young farmers but also to the general profile of agriculture. It went on to state that Fianna Fáil would seek as a matter of urgency a review of the extension clause. On 7 August 1997 the Minister issued a press release in which it was stated that the scheme was being suspended from that date. As no warning was given, there was panic throughout rural Ireland. It was one of the fastest U-turns ever.
The Minister has been asked many times by Members on all sides of the House to reintroduce the scheme. He indicated on 7 October 1997 that he would not do so. On 17 February, however, he said that the Department was in the process of drawing up a revised scheme targeted at smaller farmers and that meetings were being arranged with the farming organisations to discuss the revision of the existing scheme.
On 19 February the Minister of State, Deputy O'Keeffe, said that the installation aid scheme had been a major success, that a meeting with Macra na Feirme would take place the following week to gain agreement for the introduction of a new and more focused scheme and that he would approach the European Commission to ensure a revised scheme would be approved as quickly as possible.
On 7 May Deputy Fox reported that the real Cabinet had met with the Minister before the budget. Like Deputy Healy-Rae, she was feeling the heat and raised the matter on the Adjournment. We are approaching the end of the year and I can see this dragging on until September. If the so called Independent Deputies vote with the Government tonight, they will be voting in favour of what the Government has done and has not done over the past ten months. It has betrayed young farmers and sent out a signal that they do not count. The Minister is responsible for a flight from the land by future farmers the likes of which we have not seen in decades. The Minister of State, Deputy Davern, should not laugh since this is a serious matter.
Mr. Stanton: The Minister and the Government have betrayed young farmers. If the so  called Independents vote with the Government tonight, they will also betray young farmers in south Kerry, Wicklow and Donegal. Their cards are being marked.
Mr. Stanton: Farmers who have worked hard all their lives and whose dream was to hand over their life's work to their children are worried and distraught that the Government has removed one of the few incentives young farmers had to stay on the land. I will end on a positive note. I hope that before the Dáil rises the Minister will announce the reintroduction of a new and focused scheme. We have been waiting long enough for it. I hope the pressure being brought to bear on the Minister and the Government will work and that that scheme will be reintroduced before long.
Mr. Belton: I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this debate. I compliment Deputy Connaughton on tabling this motion. I wish to refer to area aid. Farmers were very concerned when the area aid section closed down and no calls were taken about area aid queries by the Department. In the past fortnight many of those problems have been cleared up and many farmers have been paid. However, the Minister indicated last night that farmers who had outstanding problems concerning area aid should contact the area aid section. In every district office one member of staff should be responsible for dealing with outstanding queries on area aid. If that was done, the outstanding problems could be dealt with in a month. It is not practicable for farmers to spend half their day on the telephone. I must compliment the staff in the area aid section who have been excellent. They have been most helpful to Deputies who have contacted them. That proposal would be one way to address this matter. The Minister said last night that he is anxious to deal with the outstanding queries and to make a fresh start.
It is vital for dry stock farmers from my constituency that the control of farm pollution scheme should be reintroduced to allow at least 1,000 dry stock farmers to qualify for REPS. That would mean a difference in income for them of £3,500 per year. That vital section of the farming community has been badly hit. Those farmers and their families are concerned about their future and the Minister should be conscious of their needs in the present negotiations.
Mr. Sheehan: The Government's agricultural policy is in a shambles. A promise was made to every farmer in May l997 in a glossy election pamphlet, with a photograph of the Minister and one of the Taoiseach on the front of it, that within six weeks of being elected to office they would resume the live cattle trade with Libya, Egypt,  Iran, Iraq and Russia. Some 13 months later not one live animal has been exported to those countries and the Minister has not visited Russia, Iraq, Iran or Libya. He went to Egypt, but he came back empty handed and with no promises. What about the rosy promises the Minister and the Taoiseach made to the farming community? Farmers were led up the garden path by promises made in that glossy Fianna Fáil election manifesto.
The Minister scuttled the farm installation grants by a stroke of a pen last August. I warned him at the presentation of certificates to young farmers in Bandon last September that the decision would have disastrous effects on the numbers entering agricultural colleges. My advice to the Minister has been vindicated with the 9 per cent reduction in the number of entrants to agricultural colleges. Young farmers have lost confidence in the Government's ability to restore farming to the level at which it should be.
The Minister boasted in his address last night that he had established a trial run of 2,000 live cattle to the Lebanon. One week's mart in Bandon and Skibbereen, which are in the Minister's constituency, would fill that order. We should be exporting at least 400,000 cattle on the hoof to those countries. I am a firm believer that competition is the life of trade. Unless there is competition for meat factories, farmers will not get a viable price for their product.
Farmers with less than a 30,000 gallon milk quota should not be penalised if they exceed that quota. Everybody knows that any farmer who produces less than that quota is not in a viable position. I do not know how the Minister came back from Europe without securing an extra milk quota when Italy appears to have gained millions of gallons in extra quota. It drove roughshod through every rule the EU ever made in regard to quotas, and it was rewarded by the EU authorities for doing so.
Mr. Sheehan: Fianna Fáil in its election manifesto stated that it would introduce a third tier headage payment for farmers, but there is no talk of that promise now. The Government has fallen into a slumber. Swift action is needed if the farming industry is to survive. Will we see vast tracts of land from Malin to Mizen Head turned into a  wilderness for wildlife to breed and multiply and create a safari park for wealthy Europeans to enjoy in the future? Will we see rural Ireland reduced to parish ranchers? Judging by current trends this seems to be the policy of the Government. I urge the Minister to wake up before it is too late. We need action, not rosy projections and pie in the sky promises. I am delighted my colleague from across the county boundary, Deputy Healy-Rae, is present. I urge him to think of the plight of small farmers in his constituency which is similar to that of small farmers in south west Cork whom I represent. There is nothing between Deputy Healy-Rae and myself but the tunnel between Cork and Kerry. I ask the Deputy to give the Government a sudden jerk and vote with us in order to wake the Minister from his slumber. It is only by giving such an injection that the Government will return to reality. I urge the Deputy to think before he enters the division lobbies. I urge Deputy Fox, who was promised a DVO office for her constituency, to do likewise. Promises are made to be broken.
Mr. Enright: On the scheme to buy out Land Commission annuities introduced by the Minister's predecessor, Mr. Hyland, some years ago, at that time a substantial number of farmers availed of the scheme which was very successful. For up to five years Land Commission annuity demands were not sent to farmers — I am sure the Minister is aware of this. I have been approached by three farmers in recent weeks who have received demands covering all the arrears plus interest. It is very unfair to suddenly land a farmer with these bills for that period. Some of the demands have been for up to £7,000. Not much attention has been paid to the issue but I ask the Minister's officials to examine it. I can give details of two cases to the Minister and I have been told details of two more cases are being sent to me. It is an urgent matter. One person who is advanced in years and who never owed money to anybody received a bill. It was a terrible shock to him. I will contact the Minister's office about that but I would like him to publicly address the issue.
There is major concern in the farming community regarding installation aid. It only amounted to £5,600 but would be far more if it had been maintained. Quite a number of electoral areas in my constituency have suffered a serious decline in population, amounting to approximately 15 per cent in one area and 9 per cent in another. Most of the decline is the result of the absence of regeneration in the agriculture sector. There is a serious problem in rural areas which are being depopulated. One can talk about all the glowing schemes and incentives in the context of Europe, but unless Europe wakes up to what is happening — I think a similar problem is evident in other countries — we will be left with large centres of population and very few people living in rural areas. If we do not take the initiative by trying to encourage young people to enter  agriculture a debate of this nature in ten years' time will certainly not attract the same level of interest evident tonight because many more people will have left agriculture. The responsible authorities will ignore the problem at their peril.
We must examine farmyard pollution control. Over a number of years we saw what happened in terms of the level of fish kills. We have been fortunate in this regard so far this year. However, it is a serious matter and if we do not look after our environment, rivers and lakes, and unless farmers are provided with finance to carry out the necessary work, we will all be facing failure. The Government will fail in its duty if it does not restore farmyard pollution control grants, something it promised to do. Fish kills and other problems arise because farmers do not have finance to invest in and carry out essential control, including provision of proper slurry tanks and proper drainage, in accordance with departmental guidelines under professional guidance.
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Davern): One would imagine the farmyard pollution scheme had not been suspended in 1995 after just one year of operation. It was left like that for the following two years because there was no money available. This year money has been provided. More seriously, money was not provided when the Government knew the available installation aid would run out after August and money was not allocated for it in the budget.
The Government has been unstinting in its support for agriculture and rural development. This support is expressed practically and at significant cost in national and EU funds through a wide range of measures aimed at ensuring our agricultural sector is strong, competitive and contributes fully and positively to the overall rural economy.
My colleague, the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Deputy Walsh, set out in some detail the range of issues raised by the Opposition in the motion and I do not propose to repeat these points. Unfortunately, most of what we heard from the Opposition in the debate was detached from reality. Its comments have been ill informed and misleading, serving only to give a negative impression of farming and rural areas. Deputies referred to the decline in the number of farmers. It is true that the number of people whose main source of income is derived from farming and  related activities declined from 237,100 in 1975, shortly after entry to the EU, to 137,000 in 1997. This decline has continued under all Governments and is an international phenomenon.
Mr. Davern: The farming population is falling in all developed countries. What is exceptional about Ireland is that farming still accounts for 7.2 per cent of employment, far higher than in most other developed countries. These figures under-state the role of agriculture in terms of total employment as a large number of people who work part-time in the sector are not taken into account. Figures from the CSO show that in 1996, 301,000 people worked full-time or part-time on farms, the equivalent of 223,400 full-time jobs. Family farm workers account for 92 per cent of this employment.
Looking at farms as distinct from farm population we can see that in the period 1992-6 while there has been a decrease in the number of small uneconomic holdings of less than ten hectares, the number of farms over 30 hectares has increased over the same period. This is not the pattern one would expect from a sector in decline.
Furthermore, it is remarkable that more than 40 per cent of the population still lives in rural areas. The rural population has remained steady at approximately 1.5 million people over recent decades. The 1996 census shows the population in many rural areas is increasing. Where decline is occurring, it is a matter of real concern and the Government is pursuing policies to promote the revitalisation of these areas.
I wish to address the issue of the pig salmonella control programme which was referred to in the House yesterday. Salmonella is a common problem in pigs world-wide. Four countries have implemented comprehensive control programmes including Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Ireland and a number of countries, such as Germany and the Netherlands, are considering establishing such programmes. A survey to establish the level of salmonella in the Irish pig herd was completed in late February 1997. Tests were carried out on samples from the animals' gastrointestinal tracts and salmonella was isolated in between 12 to 13 per cent of the samples taken. A total of 1,282 samples were taken from 225 pig herds. It is important to understand that samples were taken from the gastrointestinal tract and that slaughter hygiene is aimed at preventing contamination of the edible parts of the carcase from such sources.
In order to reduce the potential for problems where such contamination occurs, the salmonella control programme was established in July 1997 in conjunction with the industry to reduce further levels of salmonella at farm level. I am, therefore, satisfied the Department has taken the correct  measures to identify the problem and minimise any risks to consumers. The greatest risk of salmonella poisoning arises from the handling of the product at post-retail stage and it is thus essential every precaution is taken to ensure proper cooking and the avoidance of cross-contamination of all meats, including pig meat. This issue was discussed on the radio this morning and the incorrect impression may have been given about the industry. The House will be aware the Bill on the Food Safety Authority was published recently and is currently at Committee Stage.
Many Deputies raised the issue of rural poverty. I agree that a real problem exists among some farmers in relation to low incomes. The Government is specifically committed, under Partnership 2000, to examining the issue of poverty in farming households. In that context, we will be co-operating with the Combat Poverty Agency which is undertaking a review of farm income support policy in the context of targeting resources at low income farm households. My Department is also reviewing the position for the purposes of the preparation of the forthcoming national development plan under the next round of Structural Funds and in the context of the preparation of the White Paper on rural development which will be published towards the end of this year. A total of 166 submissions have been received to date in regard to the White Paper and a further round of discussions will take place with some individual organisations.
The outcome of the Opposition's analysis of rural poverty has been to blame the decline of farm income levels. Facts show that agricultural income increased in the years 1991-6 with an overall increase of 36 per cent for the period or 22 per cent in real terms. Unfortunately, farm income declined in 1997 by 4.5 per cent from £2,092 million in 1996 to £1,999 million in 1997. That was very disappointing, particularly in view of the good performance in incomes over the previous five years. A positive aspect was the further increase in the amount of direct income payments made to farmers which, in 1997, reached a record £940 million or 47 per cent of farm income. This amount represents an increase of more than 132 per cent since 1992. It is a remarkable degree of direct public subsidy which is unmatched in any other sector of the economy.
In considering farm incomes, it is important to recognise the degree of integration of Irish agriculture into the wider rural and national economy. A new model of agriculture is developing which offers a far more realistic opportunity of promoting rural development than ever before and farmers are central to that development. Primary agriculture and the food industry will always be the backbone of the rural economy although an ever increasing diversity of manufacturing and service activities is now found in rural Ireland as our economy grows. The tremendous growth in the economy and employment in recent years has benefited many rural families, including farm families. A positive aspect is that many  farmers, including young farmers and young members of farming families, are finding employment and are protecting their position in rural Ireland by doing so. We must welcome this unreservedly as it affords added protection for a fuller level of rural development.
Mr. Farrelly: I welcome the opportunity to speak on this motion. My colleagues have addressed all the promises on which the Government has failed to deliver. I want to comment on the management and organisation of the Department of Agriculture and Food and its staff in delivering the service farmers require. I recall that the last time the Minister was the incumbent in the Department, people waited almost six months for a backlog of payments to be cleared. We are slipping back to that position now but it was not the case when Deputy Yates was Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry.
Mr. Farrelly: With all due respect, the Minister for Defence is the last person who can accuse someone of raving. He should deal with his own problems and let us deal with the problems being experienced in rural Ireland.
Farm inspections are taking place after the due date has passed for applications under the ten and 22 month schemes. I fear what will happen when a Minister, who negotiated the MacSharry reform proposals which had such a disastrous effect on this country, is in the front line for the negotiation of Agenda 2000 and I fear for the future of the farming community because of the Minister's inability to manage his Department. I have no doubt the Minister's junior colleagues are doing their best but I do not believe proper leadership is being given or that the will exists on the part of the majority of departmental staff to deliver necessary services. Many farmers are so frustrated by this that they are contemplating getting out of agriculture and I regret that.
Mr. Ring: I compliment the Fine Gael spokesman on agriculture on tabling this motion. Many complaints had been made that this Government had forgotten about agriculture and that few debates were taking place on the matter.
When Fianna Fáil was in Opposition, 2,000 or 3,000 angry farmers gathered outside the Davenport Hotel and Deputy Cowen outlined what the party would do for farmers. The following year, Deputy Walsh travelled throughout the country telling farmers how bad the then Minister, Deputy Yates, was and making promises about what Fianna Fáil would do in office. When  Deputy Walsh was appointed Minister for Agriculture and Food, officials within the Department took out the champagne having found a Minister they could lead rather than one who would lead them.
The first disaster since the Minister took up office involved a reduction of £22 million in the Department's Estimates. Next we were told that area aid would be dealt with. I have never seen such a disaster in agriculture or as many people waiting for payments. The issue of payments was only resolved in the past few weeks. I second Deputy Belton's proposal that one member of staff in each office be designated to deal with area aid.
The next disaster was the blood testing. Farmers are outraged that, having been told that blood test results would be returned within seven or eight days, they have to wait up to 26 days for the results. That is disgraceful. The appeals section of the Department is another problem. There are appeals with that section for up to nine months. Is anybody doing anything about them? Must people wait that length for appeals to be dealt with even though they were told they would be dealt with quickly? Nothing is happening.
During the general election campaign letters were sent to my constituents bearing a picture of Deputy De Rossa with a sheep over his shoulder which said “what will this man do for agriculture?” I have met many farmers from the west who would give anything to have Deputy De Rossa appointed Minister for Agriculture and Food. He is certainly better than the wise man from the south. The three wise men came from the east bearing gold, frankincense and myrrh, but the three wise men from the south have only brought disaster after disaster since they came into office.
Think about the weather we enjoyed in April, May and June last year. The election was held on 6 June and it resulted in a new Government and a new Minister for Agriculture and Food. What has happened since? It has not stopped raining. The Government has even destroyed the weather.
Now people declare that they wish Deputy Yates was Minister for Agriculture and Food. I have good news for them. There is an even better man than Deputy Yates, a man who understands agriculture and rural life. He is the future Minister for Agriculture and Food, Deputy Connaughton. When he returns to Agriculture House, farmers' problems will be resolved. There has been nothing but problems with this Government.
What about live cattle exports? During the election campaign I thought Fianna Fáil would use the Government jet every night to bring cattle out of the country, they were so concerned about this problem. What has happened since? Nothing. In the Davenport Hotel Deputies Walsh and Cowen frothed at the mount when they spoke about this issue. I expected that with the Government  jet and the Deputies carrying a few cattle themselves there would be no further problems.
The farmers are waiting for the Fianna Fáil Deputies to campaign for election. There is even a problem tonight. If there is one thing Deputy Healy-Rae can do, it is talk. That is also true of Deputy Fox. However, I doubt that either spoke for longer than one and a half minutes in this debate because they had nothing positive to say about agriculture. The only reason they did not decide to bring down the Government on agriculture is that they want to get through the summer first.
We should be ready for an election in October or November. When the Independent Deputies return to their constituents this weekend the farming community will demand that they do something for them. Deputy Healy-Rae claimed that he represented small farmers. He represented nobody but himself tonight. If he wants to represent small farmers he should vote with the Opposition on this motion. It probably will not bring down the Government but it will give the Taoiseach a fright.
The Taoiseach, when he was simply Deputy Ahern, preached a great deal about what he would do for rural Ireland. He promised a western development commission even though the previous Government had appointed a Minister of State to look after western development. He said in Westport, at a meeting of his Front Bench, that the first thing he would do in office would be to abolish that office. He did that but he still has not established the western development commission and people are now threatening to resign.
I could speak for a long time about farm incomes. A recent report of a national farm survey carried out from 1992 to 1996 revealed that 30 per cent of family farms are viable, 26 per cent were classified as under pressure and the remainder were classified as unviable with limited resources. The industry requires new ideas from Agriculture House. We must help and encourage young people to stay on the land and we must put policies in place to do that. Many of the grants that were available must be reintroduced and social welfare officers in north Mayo should not be allowed to count the sheep, cattle, pigs and ducks. That must stop.
I could speak for much longer but I must allow Deputy Connaughton to conclude the debate. The farmers are waiting for Deputy Connaughton and this party to get back into Government because the three wise men from the south have let them down badly.
Mr. Connaughton: I thank Members who contributed to this debate. The Opposition and the Government might not agree on many of the  issues discussed but it is most important that this debate was held.
I attended the committee meeting today to discuss the revised Estimate for the Department of Agriculture and Food. The Minister openly admitted that he would hold a series of bilateral talks with the Minister for Finance over the next few days to secure the moneys he needs for his Department over the next 12 months. A number of vitally important issues have been discussed at length in this debate. However, the proposed reductions in expenditure in the revised Estimate are revealing. Farm investment has been reduced from £67 million to £36 million. Grant aid for less favoured areas was reduced by 13 per cent and there was a 6 per cent reduction in investment in alternative enterprises. Funding for every farming enterprise that required investment was reduced by this Government.
The Government removed 9 per cent from the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture and Food. The reason for the reduction was the insertion of an allocation of £9.7 million to pay for the beef tribunal. Can the Minister of State expect a small farmer in County Clare, who legitimately believes he or she should have received a farm installation aid grant of a measly £5,600, to understand that? Now we know where that £5,600 went. What about a small farmer in west Cork who has 20 or 30 cows and needs a dairy hygiene grant to stay in business? He could not get that grant aid this year because the Government decided to pay it to the lawyers involved in the beef tribunal.
Mr. Connaughton: Contrast that with the action taken by the Minister for Defence who had to deal with Army deafness claims. The claims involved huge amounts of money. The money was found to pay the claims but the Minister did not take it from the Estimate for the Department of Defence.
No matter what happens, there is a reduction in the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture and Food because this Government does not take agriculture seriously. Many farmers will be livid tomorrow when they discover that the money they were due to be paid has been transferred to that subhead. It is intolerable and the Government should be ashamed.
The motion before the House is a political issue. Deputies are in Government to make choices. Over the next couple of months the members of the Government will be able to prove, once and for all, whether this Government is interested in agriculture. Its first year has been a disaster from the point of view of investment. The Minister has not done well so far but we will give him a chance. However, if no on-farm investment scheme is put in place, whether it is for control  of farmyard pollution or installation aid, on the next occasion this matter is debated, the farmers will deal with the Government in their own way.
I wish to make a special plea. This issue is about politics and choices. I call on the three Independent Deputies, Deputies Fox, Healy-Rae and Blaney, to take a stand on this issue. They also have farmers in their constituencies who have the same problems. They should not be tied to this Government on every issue — they said  they would not be. I cannot think of a more important issue on which to send a signal to the Government that they are not prepared to put up with it. In fairness, they went half way, but that is no good to a farmer who should get on-farm investment or a young farmer who should get installation aid. The half promises we heard tonight are not good enough. I hope that when they go up to the lobby tonight they will turn the right way.
|Ahern, Noel.||Kitt, Michael.|
|Aylward, Liam.||Lawlor, Liam.|
|Blaney, Harry.||Lenihan, Brian.|
|Brady, Johnny.||Lenihan, Conor.|
|Brady, Martin.||Martin, Micheál.|
|Brennan, Séamus.||McCreevy, Charlie.|
|Briscoe, Ben.||McGennis, Marian.|
|Browne, John (Wexford) .||Moffatt, Thomas.|
|Byrne, Hugh.||Molloy, Robert.|
|Carey, Pat.||Moloney, John.|
|Collins, Michael.||Moynihan, Donal.|
|Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.||Moynihan, Michael.|
|Coughlan, Mary.||Ó Cuív, Éamon.|
|Cowen, Brian.||O'Dea, Willie.|
|Cullen, Martin.||O'Donnell, Liz.|
|Daly, Brendan.||O'Donoghue, John.|
|Davern, Noel.||O'Flynn, Noel.|
|de Valera, Síle||O'Hanlon, Rory.|
|Dempsey, Noel.||O'Keeffe, Batt.|
|Fahey, Frank.||O'Kennedy, Michael.|
|Flood, Chris.||O'Malley, Desmond.|
|Foley, Denis.||O'Rourke, Mary.|
|Fox, Mildred.||Roche, Dick.|
|Haughey, Seán.||Smith, Brendan.|
|Healy-Rae, Jackie.||Smith, Michael.|
|Jacob, Joe.||Treacy, Noel.|
|Kelleher, Billy.||Wade, Eddie.|
|Kenneally, Brendan.||Wallace, Dan.|
|Killeen, Tony.||Wallace, Mary.|
|Kirk, Séamus.||Walsh, Joe.|
|Barrett, Seán.||Higgins, Jim.|
|Bell, Michael.||Higgins, Michael.|
|Belton, Louis.||Hogan, Philip.|
|Boylan, Andrew.||Howlin, Brendan.|
|Bradford, Paul.||Kenny, Enda.|
|Broughan, Thomas.||McCormack, Pádraic.|
|Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny) .||McGinley, Dinny.|
|Burke, Liam.||McGrath, Paul.|
|Burke, Ulick.||Mitchell, Olivia.|
|Carey, Donal.||Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.|
|Clune, Deirdre.||Naughten, Denis.|
|Connaughton, Paul.||Neville, Dan.|
|Cosgrave, Michael.||O'Keeffe, Jim.|
|Crawford, Seymour.||O'Shea, Brian.|
|Creed, Michael.||O'Sullivan, Jan.|
|Currie, Austin.||Penrose, William.|
|D'Arcy, Michael.||Quinn, Ruairí.|
|De Rossa, Proinsias.||Rabbitte, Pat.|
|Dukes, Alan.||Ring, Michael.|
|Enright, Thomas.||Ryan, Seán.|
|Farrelly, John.||Sheehan, Patrick.|
|Ferris, Michael.||Shortall, Róisín.|
|Finucane, Michael.||Stagg, Emmet.|
|Fitzgerald, Frances.||Stanton, David.|
|Flanagan, Charles.||Timmins, Billy.|
|Hayes, Brian.||Upton, Pat.|
 Amendment declared carried.
Motion, as amended, put and declared carried.
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