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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 27 Mar 1969

Vol. 239 No. 8

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Milk Prices.


asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he is prepared to meet the Leinster milk producers to discuss milk prices and, if so, when.

I have already offered to meet a number of farming organisations, including representatives of the Leinster Milk Producers Association, during the coming week.

The coming week? I did not hear the Minister with these fellows yapping.

I think Deputy Farrelly wishes to complain about the conduct of the Fine Gael Chief Whip.


asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he is aware that a Dairy Disposal Company creamery in East Limerick (name supplied) is paying on average 5d per gallon less for milk than a co-operative creamery society in the neighbourhood; and whether he has taken or proposes to take any steps to rectify the matter.

I understand that the Dairy Disposal Company creamery referred to pays approximately the same price per lb. butterfat as the local co-operative creameries in its immediate neighbourhood. The particular co-operative creamery which I think the Deputy has in mind is in a position to pay a somewhat higher price because of advantages of large-scale and diversified trading.

Would the Minister not agree that it is an indefensible situation to have a semi-State body paying 5d a gallon less for milk than a co-operative creamery beside it? Is the Minister aware that last May the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries met a deputation of farmers from the Knocklong area during the Easter byelection and assured them that he would take action, and that they would hear from him within a month? They have not since heard.

I am sure the Deputy will agree this is a very wide and complex question: the fact that some co-operatives by a process of amalgamation or otherwise are able to pay higher prices than other creameries, not necessarily the Dairy Disposal Company creameries alone.

Surely the Minister will agree that there must be something radically wrong and, if the Department are serious about the question of rationalisation and amalgamation, why do they not start with a semi-State body under the direct control of the Department?

This particular Dairy Disposal Company creamery is paying a price which is in line with the other creameries in its immediate neighbourhood, but there is a problem I know —and the Deputy knows about it, too—that, because of the way the creamery industry is organised, some co-operative societies are able to pay some of their suppliers more than other co-operatives.

In view of the fact that the Knocklong group is a perfect case—the Dairy Disposal Company group at Knocklong consists of eight creameries—for rationalisation and amalgamation, why do the Department not set an example to the rest of the co-operatives by starting to rationalise the situation at Knocklong?

As I understand it, the Minister's policy now is, and has been for some time, that where producers are in a position to take over a Dairy Disposal Company creamery on a co-operative basis that can be done.