Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Milk Costings.

asked the Minister for Agriculture if, in view of the important effect on the dairying industry in the area, he will state why the Milk Costings Commission refused to accept the costings for the last week of last year of the person selected for the purpose in North Kerry in view of the fact that his costings were accepted for the previous 51 weeks and that he is the only person doing complete costings in the area.

I have no knowledge of the matter to which the Deputy refers. The Milk Production Costs Committee who have been charged with the carrying out of this investigation are working independently and they are entirely free to adopt such methods as they consider will afford the most accurate and reliable information on the cost of milk production.

Does the Minister say that he has no information on this particular subject?

Mr. Walsh

No. This is an independent committee.

Agreed—and established by the Minister.

Mr. Walsh

No—not established by the Minister.

By whom, then?

Mr. Walsh

The Minister introduced the scheme and they established it themselves. They have representatives on it.

That is an awkward procedure.

Mr. Walsh

This is an independent body——

Set up by the Minister.

Mr. Walsh

——and it is not responsible to the Minister for anything.

Are any officers of the Minister's Department on that body?

Mr. Walsh

One, out of six.

How did he get on it? Did someone down the country whistle and he ran? The man does not know.

Would the Minister go to the trouble of finding out the information which is sought and communicate it to Deputy Finucane, who asked the question?

He would be afraid to.

Mr. Walsh

Why should the Minister try to get that information? This committee is formed by the representatives of the milk producers themselves.

One of the members of that committee is a representative of the Minister.

Mr. Walsh

There are two representatives of the milk producers on that committee. If the Deputy is looking for information, he should go to them for it.

That is not a very civil remark.

Question No. 90.

asked the Minister for Agriculture if, pending the findings of the Milk Costings Commission, he will arrange for the payment of an interim increase until 1st May in the price paid to milk producers.

Mr. Walsh

I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave to a question on this subject asked by Deputy P. O'Reilly on the 2nd December last.