Thursday, 21 March 1996
Seanad Éireann Debate
Mr. Dardis: I wish to raise a matter before the House adjourns. There were several calls on this morning's Order of Business for a debate on the BSE problem in England. The Leader said he would ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry or the Minister of State to attend the House as this matter is of such gravity. What was the outcome of the Leader's search? Given that 100,000 jobs and £200 million worth of exports are involved, the Taoiseach should come to the House if the Minister or Minister of State are unavailable.
Mr. Manning: I thank Senator Dardis for giving me an opportunity to report on this matter. I made contact with the Minister through the Chief Whip during the Order of Business. I spoke to the Minister after the Order of Business but he is down the country fulfilling engagements which were arranged some time ago. I conveyed the full sense of the discussion this morning to him, including many of the constructive suggestions. It is not possible for the Minister or the Minister of State to come to the House at this time for reasons of logistics. They are both down the country, fulfilling  engagements, but they are most grateful for the Members' suggestion. Both Ministers are keeping in hourly contact with the situation and I will pass on Senator Dardis's suggestion. Perhaps another Minister or Minister of State may be available. However, as Members are aware, the other House is not sitting this week. This means that Ministers who would normally be in the precincts are not available.
Mr. Daly: On a point of order, I request under Standing Order 29 for the House to be adjourned to discuss the crisis in the beef industry with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry. This serious matter is of national importance.
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