Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Disposal of Fat Cattle.

asked the Minister for Agriculture how many licences have been issued to Donegal farmers who have fat cattle for sale, and will he state what steps are being taken to assist these farmers in disposing of their stock to the best advantage.

Special arrangements were made in April, May and June for the purchase of fat cattle in County Donegal and any suitable animals offered in reply to advertisements in that county were then purchased. The last consignment purchased was moved on 8th June and, in all, 1,236 cattle were bought for the supply of meat for the Boroughs of Dublin and Dún Laoghaire.

Since the opening of the ports of Birkenhead and Glasgow for fat cattle for slaughter about 25 licences have been issued to Donegal farmers to enable them to send their cattle to Dublin for sale for export. The question of arrangement for the purchase of further supplies of fat cattle in Donegal is under consideration.

Is the Minister satisfied with the state of affairs that exists in Donegal? Has he taken into consideration the question of cooperation with Northern Ireland?

We have moved some cattle and sheep to Dublin through Northern Ireland. As a matter of fact we discussed that point quite recently with the Government in the North of Ireland.

Does the Minister fully realise the seriousness of the position from the point of view of Donegal farmers? They are entitled to some facilities in relation to the sale of their fat cattle.

Does the Minister not consider that the absence of foot-and-mouth disease in Donegal is an important consideration in putting up a case to the Northern Government? Does he realise that he has a means of checking the cattle coming from any county where the disease prevails, if they are to come into Donegal in order to be exported to the North?

That is true.