CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - EXPORT STATISTICS.

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware that there are very considerable discrepancies between the figures for exports into Northern Ireland from the Free State as furnished by the Northern Government in their Year Book for 1924 and the figures for exports from the Saorstát into Northern Ireland for the same year as furnished by the Statistics Branch of his Department, and if he can give any explanation of these discrepancies.

The statistics issued by my Department accurately represent the value of the exports from the Free State into Northern Ireland, and I can, therefore, only suggest an explanation of the difference in the figures issued by the Northern Government. The Northern Ireland Year Book refers to the value of the trade across the land boundary. I think therefore, that the difference was probably due to the inclusion in the Northern Government's figures of trade which merely passed through Northern Ireland on its way to Great Britain. My Department records show that in 1924 over two million pounds worth of exports were consigned from the Free State to Great Britain via Northern Ireland. These exports appear correctly in our statistics as consigned to Great Britain and not to Northern Ireland. The Deputy may rest assured that our Trade Statistics are the more precise and comprehensive.

Is the Minister aware that the Northern Ireland Year Book will have a considerable circulation in newspaper offices and elsewhere and will be uncorrected by our figures? Will the Minister also consider using his powers under the Statistics Act to issue a Year Book for Saorstát Eireann?

That can be considered, but I do not know that there is much good in issuing information of that sort to newspapers which might simply say that the Free State's statistics are unreliable.

Would the Minister get into communication with the Northern Ireland Statistical Department and see if some explanation could not be furnished for such divergency of figures?

I have given an explanation.

You say you only think or suggest.

The suggestion is founded on the fact that their trade is described as trade across the land frontier. Our statistics deal with our trade to various people. The Northern Ireland people might say that there is no discrepancy but that there is a difference in description.