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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 13 Nov 1963

Vol. 205 No. 10

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - County Cork Flour Milling Quota.


asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce what was the amount of the flour milling quota of Messrs. Rank at their flour mills at Shannonvale, County Cork; whether, on the recent closing of the Shannonvale mills, Messrs. Rank were permitted to transfer this quota to their Cork mills, and, if so, why; and whether the present amount being milled at Messrs. Rank's Cork mills exceeds the quota allowed for these mills prior to the closing of the Shannonvale mills.

The statutory wheat milling quota in respect of Rank's mill at Shannonvale was 29,759 barrels; this quota has not been transferred to any other mill but has been extinguished. As the flour milling quotas are related to the 12 month period 1st September to 31st August, assessment of a mill's adherence to its quota obligations cannot be undertaken until the end of the period.

Am I to assume from the Minister's reply that there are 29,000 barrels of wheat less consumed in the Cork area at the present time? Seeing that the quota has been extinguished, am I to assume that the consumption of flour in the Cork area has been reduced by 29,000 or 30,000 barrels of wheat?

The extinguishing of the quota in the Clonakilty mill does not necessarily reflect a reduction in the consumption of flour in the Cork area. I can tell the Deputy that there has been a reduction in all the mills in the area generally because of the decline throughout the country and, indeed, throughout the world, in the consumption of bread and flour.

Did the Minister not state that 29,000 barrels of wheat were milled in the Clonakilty mill? If that quota is extinguished, it means that so much less flour is being consumed in this country and, therefore, the consumption of flour is reduced? Would the Minister tell me whether he made any move whatsoever to save this mill? Did he make any move, as Minister for Industry and Commerce, to keep this mill going in Shannonvale, a mill that has been in existence, as far as I know, for a couple of hundred years?

The position about this mill is that production became uneconomic. The company which ran the mill had excess production in mills that were fully economic in production and I could not compel the proprietors of the mill to continue production when it was, in fact, uneconomic.

Will Messrs. Ranks be compensated from the millers' fund for extinguishing this quota?

No. The cessation of production in this mill has nothing whatever to do with the compensation arrangements made by millers amongst themselves in respect of six other mills which were voluntarily closed.

Question No. 32 postponed.

Question No. 33.

Did the Minister not think he had a function to inquire from Messrs. Ranks——

I have called the next question.

——why that mill closed and was the Minister satisfied that the reasons given were justifiable?I understand from the Minister's answers that he did not take any trouble whatever.

Question No. 33.

Does the Minister agree that the reasons originated back around 1930?

Is the Minister aware that they made a substantial contribution to Fianna Fáil funds?

I was fully informed as to the reasons why this mill had to be closed.

Would the Minister not even at this late stage inquire from Messrs. Ranks their reasons for not continuing this mill in production?

I have called Question No. 33 and, if Deputy Murphy insists on interrupting, I shall have to ask him to leave the House.

Yes, Sir, but this is an important question.

The Deputy has already asked several supplementary questions.

Sir, I think this is a question that should be raised on the Adjournment and, with your permission, I wish to give notice now that I intend to raise it.

I shall communicate with the Deputy.

I want to repeat that I have no power whatever to compel a company to keep a mill in production.

Do not be trying now to influence the decision of the Ceann Comhairle in the matter.

The Deputy should be given a platform for something that is neither my concern nor my responsibility.

We will be on the platform shortly.