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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 9 Jun 1936

Vol. 62 No. 14

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Price of Cement.

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware that cement importers have advanced the price of Continental cement by 6/6 per ton, and insist on cement distributors taking equal quantities of British and Continental cement in each delivery, and whether he will refer this matter to the Prices Commission for investigation and report.

I understand that the price of Continental cement imported into Saorstát Eireann was increased on the 1st January last, but the information at my disposal indicates that the increase was considerably less than the Deputy suggests. As regards the second part of the question, a condition is attached to a certain proportion of licences issued for the importation of cement requiring that cement imported under such licences shall be of British origin. I am not aware of the arrangements under which importers dispose of cement to distributors. As regards the last part of the question, I would refer the Deputy to my reply to a question addressed to me on this subject on the 4th March last.

Is the Minister aware that ten days ago the importers of cement in Western Ireland increased the price of Continental cement by 6/6 per ton and notified the merchants who ordinarily deal with them that in future they must take half British cement and half foreign cement at an equal price?

I am not.

Will the Minister cause inquiry to be made and if, on inquiry, the allegations I now make prove to be correct, will he take steps to invoke the good offices of the Prices Controller, or refer the question for investigation to the Prices Commission?

Will the Minister, in pursuing these inquiries, also keep in mind that the price of cement in the City of Dublin was increased by 6/- a ton between November, 1935, and February, 1936, and will he say whether this is an additional increase of 6/6 over that increase of 6/- from the beginning of the year?

I am not so aware.

Will the Minister find out?

I understand the Deputy is wrong.

I have in my bag a notice addressed to me notifying me that the price has been increased by 6/6. Will the Minister cause inquiries to be made in order to get that information for himself and, if it is correct, will he refer the matter to the Prices Commission or to the Prices Controller so that he may take appropriate steps?

Will the Minister say, in reference to his remarks that I am wrong, whether he wants to convey that the price of cement did not increase in the City of Dublin between November, 1935, and February, 1936, by 6/- a ton?

An increase took place of a substantially lesser amount.

Is the Minister not aware that complaints were made to the Controller of Prices on the necessary documents indicating that an increase of 6/- a ton took place in the case of cement between November, 1935, and February, 1936?

The Minister ought to be aware of it; he ought to keep in touch with the Controller of Prices.

In view of what an increase in the price of cement will mean in regard to the cost of the erection of houses for the working classes, will the Minister make inquiries?

An increase even of the amount stated by Deputy Mulcahy would have no effect on the cost of houses for the working classes—at least it would be very negligible.

Does the Minister say that an increase of 12/6 a ton is going to have no effect?

The Deputy has doubled his first figure.

No. Deputy Mulcahy alleges an increase of 6/- and I allege a further increase within the last ten days of 6/6 in the West of Ireland, making in all an increase of 12/6. Will the Minister investigate that?

I am aware that the Deputy is wrong.

I have the notice in my bag here.