Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Flour Bags.

asked the Minister for Supplies if he is aware that the withdrawal of the concession of free bags under flour by the millers means a loss of at least 1/- per sack to bakers, and how does he propose to compensate the bakers for this loss.

I am aware it has been contended that a loss of 1/- a sack is sustained by bakers owing to the withdrawal of free flour bags, but I am not satisfied that the contention is well-founded. The matter is receiving consideration in my Department at the moment.

The Minister, of course, is aware that this new order means an increase of 1/- per sack on the flour which bakers purchase from the millers. That is the practical effect of it—an increase of 1/- per sack in the flour purchased by bakers. Is he aware that that has been done without any reference to his Department or to the controlling section of it?

The Deputy surely does not make that statement seriously.

I suggest to the Deputy that he should find out something about the discussions that have been proceeding between the officers of my Department and the officials of the Irish Master Bakers' Association, of which he is President.

This means an increase of 1/- per sack which the millers have been allowed to put on to bakers' flour. Since the Minister now says that the matter is having attention, I take it that all the relevant facts are being taken into account.

I certainly will take all the facts into account.

I will be very satisfied if the Minister does that. The fact is that there has been an increase of 1/- per sack.

Arising out of the Minister's reply, how can there be any doubt in his mind that, as a result of the order which he himself has made, compelling the return of all sacks to the millers by the bakers, the bakers are no longer able to sell for cash the bags which used to be left in their private possession after they had emptied them of the flour? Does the Minister not know as well as I do that these bags realised 1/- each when they were sold? How then can the Minister doubt that his order to the bakers to return these bags to the millers constitutes an additional burden of 1/- a sack of flour used by the baker?

I am quite certain that it does not.

How can the Minister defend that?

I will explain it to the Deputy some time.

Does the Minister challenge the fact that the bags sold were worth 1/- to the baker when he sold them?

There were a number of other factors.

There is no other factor. Is it not true that the bags were worth 1/- and that the bakers are being deprived of it?

The question is one of the loss to the bakers.

It is 1/- per sack and £150,000 a year.