CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - WHEAT AND FLOUR SUPPLY.

TOMAS MAC EOIN

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce what is the estimated average weekly consumption of flour in the Saorstát, and if he can state the estimated quantity of (a) wheat and (b) flour in the Saorstát on January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, October 1st (or other stated dates) in the years 1926, 1925, and 1924, respectively.

The weekly consumption of flour in the Saorstát is estimated at from 52,000 to 58,000 sacks of 280 Ibs.; 55,000 sacks may be taken as a fair average. Particulars of wheat and flour stocks at the periods mentioned are not available. A special inquiry made towards the end of April last, at the time of the general strike in Great Britain, showed that there were several months' supply of both commodities in the Saorstát.

Can the Minister say whether it is the practice of his Department to find out at any stated period what is the approximate quantity of foodstuffs in the country in the nature of wheat?

These inquiries are made when they are needed for any special purpose, but the ordinary working of the Statistical Department cannot be gone on with if these inquiries are very numerous. There was a special inquiry made early this year. That is the only special inquiry that has been made with regard to wheat and flour stocks in the country. It can be done, but I do not get it done regularly.

In regard to the other necessaries of life, such as fuel, is it not the business of the Department to have particulars with regard to the quantities available to meet necessities at any particular time?

What is the Deputy referring to—wheat or fuel?

I am referring to wheat on the one hand and to fuel on the other hand.

The Deputy framed this question to deal with wheat and flour. He should have framed it to deal with wheat, flour and fuel. I dealt with the question from the point of view of wheat and flour. Fuel is a different consideration. There have been inquiries and calculations made with regard to fuel since the period of the strike.

I am not referring to the period of the strike. I am referring to ordinary periods of peace, quiet and concord.