Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Market for Oats and Potatoes.

asked the Minister for Agriculture if he is aware of the large quantities of oats and potatoes lying unsold in the hands of Donegal farmers, and if he will state what steps he has taken, or proposes to take, to provide an alternative market in lieu of the market now closed by the economic war.

Dr. Ryan

I am aware that considerable quantities of oats are still in the hands of farmers in some districts of County Donegal, and the existence of these supplies of oats will be taken into consideration in deciding the percentage of home grown cereals to be included in the maize meal mixture under regulations now being drafted in connection with the inception of the Agricultural Produce (Cereals) Act, 1933.

I am also aware of the large quantities of potatoes unsold in the hands of Donegal farmers, and proposals are at present under consideration for increasing the rate of bounty on exported potatoes with a view to assisting farmers to dispose of their stocks.

Arising out of the reply, will the Minister tell us what steps he took during the period of seed time for oats, when oats were selling in Donegal at 6d. per stone, when the farmers of Mayo, Cavan, Longford and Sligo were begging for oats and there was no transport available, to get that state of affairs remedied. The bulk of the oats could have been sold then if any steps had been taken to transfer it from Donegal to these areas in North Connacht and Longford, Cavan and Monaghan that were crying out for oats.

Dr. Ryan

I am aware that practically every enquiry made for oats was referred to Donegal. I knew of no oats in Donegal being sold at 6d. per stone. We were quoted 9d. and 10d. per stone for the oats for seed. Horse breeders also were referred to Donegal for supplies of oats.

Is it a fact that applications for licences to import foreign oats have been received by the Minister from traders in this country?

Dr. Ryan

They have.

And has the Minister granted them?

Dr. Ryan


Because he is satisfied that there is oats in Donegal that can beat all foreign varieties?

Dr. Ryan

Quite so.

I should like to ask Deputy Myles if he is aware——

The Deputy may not ask Deputy Myles a question.

I should like to ask the Minister if he is aware that the price of oats in the Six Counties is not any better than in Donegal, and I should also like to ask the Minister if he is aware that potatoes in the Six Counties are unsaleable and that the farmers there are giving them away to anybody who would take them?

This has nothing to do with the Six Counties.

I want to draw the Minister's attention to the fact that it is none of our business what price potatoes are in the Six Counties. These potatoes in Donegal were always saleable and they sold well.

The point is to find an alternative market for the oats—is not that so?

No steps were taken to provide transport facilities while the railway strike was on through there were numbers of lorries lying out there belonging to the military, and the oats could have been transported by these lorries.

Is the Minister aware of the fact that potatoes were exported from Donegal to other parts of the country?

Not one-tenth of what we had available for export.