CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - TARIFF ACT APPLICATIONS.

TOMAS MAC EOIN

asked the Minister for Finance if he will state how many applications for the imposition or increase of import duties have been made to him under the Tariff Commission Act, 1926, how many of them have been referred to the Commission, and to what commodities the applications relate.

Fifteen applications of the kind mentioned have been received. The commodities to which they relate are: (1) margarine; (2) coach and motor bodies; (3) beads; (4) fish barrels; (5) sole, insole and harness leather and manufactured harness; (6) tinware; (7) wooden wheelbarrows; (8) bicyles; (9) products of the saw milling industry; (10) maize products; (11) flour; (12) galvanized hollowware; (13) agricultural produce; (14) manufactured stationary; (15) cement. The applications in respect of (1) margarine; (2) coach and motor bodies; and (3) beads have been referred to the Commission.

Can the Minister give a slightly wider definition of the term "agricultural produce," which might be anything from barley to butter?

It is because the application is not more precise that it has not, at any rate yet, been referred to the Tariff Commission for investigation.

Can the Minister say when the decision as regards a reference to the Tariff Commission in any of these cases will be made, and can he give any indication of how soon, let us say, the flour question will be heard? Perhaps the Minister knows that one big mill in the city is threatened to be dispensed with at present?

Applications will be referred to the Tariff Commission when it is found that they are made by persons substantially representative of the industry concerned. In two or three cases applications have been made and have been definitely rejected; we did not send them to the Commission because they were not made by bodies substantially representative of the industries concerned. In other cases we are making inquiries to ascertain whether or not the applicants are representative. If we find that they are the applications will at once be referred to the Commission. How soon the Commission should report on any particular application is a matter on which I could not give the Deputy any information.

Could the Minister tell us what is meant by that phrase "substantially representative"? One understood from the course of discussions in the House that if any persons interested made an application it would be considered.

Suppose that a single wool manufacturer made application, his application would not be considered. We would require to have that application backed up by a number of other woollen manufacturers, seeing that there are a considerable number of woollen mills in the Free State.