Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Removal of Butter Levy.

asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will arrange for the removal of the levy of 2d. per lb. on farmers' butter made in non-dairying districts such as those of County Wexford, as the levy is a burden on such small producers.

Dr. Ryan

The levy on non-creamery butter is part of the machinery of the Dairy Produce (Price Stabilisation) Act, 1935, the effect of which has been to raise the prices of creamery and non-creamery butter considerably above those which would have been obtainable if the Act had not been in operation.

The following table shows (a) the average prices of non-creamery butter at County Wexford markets during each month from April to October, 1936, and (b) the corresponding prices which would have been obtained during those months if the Act had not been in operation and prices were determined by the world prices of butter:—

(a)

(b)

Month

Average price received under Stabilisation Act (including levy)

Price if Stabilisation Act not in operation

per lb.

per lb.

April, 1936

17d. to 19½d.

8½d.

May, 1936

12½d. to 16½d.

8½d.

June, 1936

11d. to 13d.

10d.

July, 1936

12d. to 14d.

10½d.

August, 1936

13½d. to 15½d.

11d.

September, 1936

13½d. to 16d.

9½d.

October, 1936

15½d. to 16d.

9d.

The above figures indicate the extent to which existing prices for non-creamery butter are dependent on the working of the Dairy Produce (Price Stabilisation) Act, 1935. As producers of non-creamery butter throughout the Saorstát are beneficiaries of the Act, it would be unreasonable to except any particular area from the obligations imposed by it in regard to levy.

Is the Minister aware that he is subjecting farmers' wives to considerable hardships by the operation of this Act in my constituency? Farmers' wives bringing 10lbs. or 20lbs of butter to town are stopped on the streets and their baskets examined by inspectors. It is a thing that would not be allowed to happen even in a non-Christian country. It is no laughing matter. Deputy Donnelly would feel very cheap if an inspector opened his basket and said, because he might have 10 lbs. or 15 lbs. of butter in it: "We will prosecute you for minding your own business."

Did that happen before or after the election?

It happened both before and after the election.