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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 26 Jun 1952

Vol. 132 No. 12

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Tobacco and Cigarette Quotas.

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware that many ex-national army men in the retail tobacco trade are still not being granted quotas of cigarettes; and, if so, if he will now take steps to ensure that their requirements will be met.

I have no information that any class of retailer is unable to get supplies of cigarettes. When supplies of tobacco were restricted special arrangements were made whereby limited quantities of cigarettes were made available for ex-members of the Defence Forces entering the tobacco business. Since 1950, however, unlimited supplies of tobacco are available and it is now a matter for retailers to make their own arrangements for their requirements either direct from the manufacturers or through the wholesale trade.

Is it conceivably possible that the Minister for Industry and Commerce does not know that persons desiring to enter the retail tobacco trade de novo are, in the majority of cases, unable to get supplies and, when they apply for them, they are told by the tobacco manufacturers that they cannot expand production further to give an allocation to persons other than those who were in the business prior to a certain date? Is the Minister not aware that every Deputy of his Party, every Deputy of this Party, and in fact every Deputy on every side of the House are getting letters every day asking them to approach the tobacco manufacturers to give them allocations of cigarettes?

I understand that that is the position regarding only one type of cigarette which happens to be in public favour.

I can assure the Minister that he is mistaken in that.

I can assure the Deputy that there is at least one tobacco factory working short time because of inability to get sufficient orders.

I think the purpose of the Deputy's question is that we have forborne from burdening the Minister with the sheaves of letters received because we have habitually received from the Minister a statement that he has no function in the matter, with which I have some sympathy. It is in the light of the fact that there may be short-time in the industry that, I think, Deputy Cunningham draws the Minister's attention to the situation with a view to asking if he will make inquiries afresh. It seems incongruous that people who want to get into the business cannot get supplies and that people who are in the business cannot dispose of their stocks.

Every tobacco manufacturer can get all the tobacco he wants. There is no restriction on the output. If there is a manufacturer unable to supply a particular variety of cigarettes in the quantity demanded it is because of certain limitations in his manufacturing capacity.

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state whether extra supplies of tobacco were released to cigarette manufacturers to enable them to cater for new customers.

Since 1950 there has been no limitation in the quantities of tobacco which cigarette manufacturers may use for the purposes of their trade.