asked the Minister for Agriculture whether he is aware that the lime subsidy scheme is of great importance to small farmers in South Kerry; and, if so, whether he is prepared to allocate the necessary grant for the development of this scheme at the earliest possible date.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Lime Subsidy.
Lime is of great importance to all farmers. As has been announced in the Press, a new scheme is now in operation under which any farmer will be able to have ground limestone delivered in six-ton lots to his premises, or as near as possible thereto, at a price not exceeding 16/- per ton.
In the circumstances, as I have already stated recently in this House, I am not prepared to approve the continuance by committees of agriculture of a scheme for subsidising the distribution of burned lime. The question of allowing certain of these committees to subsidise the distribution of sea-sand is under examination.
Is the Minister aware that it is the practice in Kerry, and particularly in the congested areas, to utilise burned lime, and that heretofore a substantial subsidy was allowed in respect of that burned lime? A lesser subsidy was given last year, and I make this representation now with a view to having that subsidy restored in respect of burned lime, because in these areas the people are not anxious to avail of the ground limestone scheme.
The Deputy will recall that last year we made special provision for applicants in the remoter areas of Kerry in respect of the subsidy payable for burned lime, but allowing for the maximum subsidy allowable on burned lime, the lime delivered costs substantially more than will the lime under this scheme which brings the lime to their doors, no matter how remote their place of residence may be. I am sure the Deputy will agree with me that, whatever understandable prejudice may exist, it would be wrong of the Department of Agriculture to persuade people in West Kerry to spend money on burned lime, when in fact they get better agricultural value out of the ground limestone delivered to their homes at 16/- per ton.
Is the Minister aware that there is no ground limestone available in County Clare, and that, despite the undertaking given a few weeks ago——
This question relates to Kerry.
I am sure that quarrying has begun in the outskirts of Ennis and that the plant at present operating at Dungarvan has gone, or is going, to Ennis.
It has not gone yet.
That it is on its way is certain.
It is taking a long time.
We are not doing so badly.
The question relates to Kerry, and not to Clare.