Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Proposed Pigeon Race.

asked the Minister for Agriculture if he is aware that no cases of foot and mouth disease, fowl pest or pseudo fowl pest have been reported in Scotland in recent months; and, if so, if he will revoke the relevant Order and grant a licence for a pigeon race from Scottish venues to Dublin in June and July next.

Mr. Walsh

I am aware that no outbreaks of foot and mouth disease or fowl pest in Scotland have been reported in recent months. Outbreaks of these diseases have, however, been reported in other parts of Britain and I am advised that if pigeon races were allowed from any area in Britain there would be a risk of disease being introduced. Accordingly I do not find it possible at present to revoke the prohibition on the export of racing pigeons or to grant a licence for the export of such pigeons to any part of Britain for return flights to this country.

Is the Minister aware that the International Pigeon Federation have had tests carried out by the highest authorities in the scientific and veterinary world and these tests prove that the pigeon is not responsible for the catching or transmission of the disease?

Which disease?

Will the Minister not agree that his decision is a bit harsh on this very popular and working man's sport, in the light of that information? The disease is fowl pest or what is known as "Newcastle Disease."

Will the Minister say if he has agreed to receive a deputation of people interested in this sport of homing pigeons?

Mr. Walsh

Yes, I have so agreed.

Firstly, would the Minister tell us what "pseudo fowl pest" is? Secondly, in the difficult task of protecting the fowl industry from inherent dangers, the Minister may rest assured of non-partisan support of whatever steps he thinks it may be necessary to take to protect the industry. What is "pseudo fowl pest"? What is "pseudo" there?

I checked with the Department and I must say that it was they who suggested putting in "pseudo fowl pest."

That is why I am asking the Minister what it is. Perhaps none of us know.

That is not part of the question.

If it is not a question, I am blowed if I know what the word "question" means.