Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Grain Acquisition in Cork County.

asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will state (1) what quantities of wheat, barley and oats respectively have recently been removed by Government order from buyers in the County Cork; (2) how many buyers were so affected; (3) how many, of such buyers, possessed licenses to buy as seed assemblers; (4) what compensation will be paid to the buyers for the stocks removed from them; (5) what provision will be made to supply seed to the districts where such seed assemblers were put out of commission, and (6) will he state why it was necessary to take such action against these grain buyers in Cork County.

(1) Directions for sale under the Emergency Powers (No. 117) Order, 1941, and the Amending Order have been served on persons in County Cork in respect of some 57 tons of wheat, 287 tons of barley and 295 tons of oats; (2) the number of persons on whom such directions were served is 24; (3) four of these persons were the holders of permits authorising them to assemble wheat; six of them held similar permits in respect of seed oats, and two a permit in respect of seed barley. Where, however, any of these persons had grain properly acquired as seed stocks, that grain was not impounded; (4) no compensation will be paid, but prices will be paid to the persons concerned approximating to the prices which they would have received if they had lawfully purchased the grain from growers and re-sold it as provided for in the Emergency Powers (Cereals) Order, 1941; (5) I do not consider that any special provision for seed supplies is necessary for the districts in which the above-mentioned grain was impounded. I doubt whether any of the grain impounded would ultimately have been sown if it had been allowed to remain in the hands of the persons in whose premises it was impounded. I am aware that in West Cork and adjoining areas large quantities of grain, particularly barley, purporting to have been sold for seed purposes last spring, must have been otherwise used as no corresponding grain crops were produced in those areas; (6) the action taken was necessary because the persons concerned had paid prices in excess of those fixed by Government order, or had purchased and were using the grain without having obtained authority to do so. Their activities were responsible for creating a "black market" and were interfering seriously with the equitable distribution of the grain harvest.