Wednesday, 11 April 1984
Seanad Eireann Debate
Mr. M. O'Toole: Would the Minister like to indicate what the total exposure of Irish Shipping was in each of the calendar years of 1973, 1974 and 1975 prior to the negotiations to which he has referred? In the absence of the negotiated improvement, part of which is the basis of the document before us, what was the exposure of Irish Shipping Limited? Was it £20 million or £30 million? By exposure I mean potential losses.
Minister for Communications (Mr. J. Mitchell): That depends on the prevailing  tramp shipping rates, which are very cyclical. Indeed, because of the very cyclical nature of the shipping industry, not just for years but for decades, that makes the decision in this case all the more difficult to understand. If tramp shipping rates continue over the next three years at the rock bottom rate that existed a couple of months ago and which have only slightly improved since, the losses over that three year period could have been very extensive. I do not think it would be wise of me to put a particular figure on it. We are certainly talking in terms of somewhere between £50 million and £100 million.
Mr. M. O'Toole: I thank the Minister for that information which puts the thing in proper context. With regard to remuneration in section 2, Senator Ferris mentioned the change that has been brought about. Had this practice not been followed in Irish Shipping? Is that the problem?
Mr. J. Mitchell: The position here is that this provision is fairly typical for most semi-State bodies. As legislation has been enacted over the past few years this type of provision has been made, and so as Bills arise for companies that have not got the provision we are just extending it to those companies.
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