Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Distribution of Tea.

asked the Minister for Supplies on what basis it is proposed to distribute the tea bought in India for distribution in Éire by Tea Importers, Limited.

It is my present intention to arrange that the tea to which the Deputy refers will on arrival be distributed to registered wholesale tea importers by reference to the quotas held by such wholesale importers under existing arrangements.

What will be the position of persons who purchased tea in London and Belfast prior to this emergency? Will they be entitled to any share of this tea which is being brought direct from India?

Certainly.

On what basis?

They are wholesale tea suppliers and they are registered, even though their head offices may be outside the country.

Will any of this tea be given to the tea merchants of Mincing Lane?

It will probably have to be to enable them to supply the prescribed quota, whatever it may be, to their customers.

Does the Minister realise that at present the customers who are dealing with merchants in London or Belfast are getting from London or Belfast the 25 per cent. which the British Government provides? This, I understand, is an additional quantity of tea to be made available to consumers in this country and which we are importing direct. How is that tea going to be distributed?

Through these wholesale merchants.

On what basis? Will they be invited——

We will decide the basis when we see the circumstances.

Surely the Minister should face the position and tell us——

The Deputy is manufacturing difficulties which do not exist.

I am not.

So long as there is a supply available from the British Tea Control, we will utilise the machinery of the registered wholesale merchants, even though some of these may be located outside the country.

Suppose these wholesale merchants in Great Britain and Northern Ireland have not registered and have continued to consign tea to their old customers in this country——

That circumstance does not exist.

Are you sure of it?