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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 13 May 1969

Vol. 240 No. 7

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Sales of Milk.


asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he will make arrangements for Bord Bainne to be responsible for all sales of milk and milk products on the home and export markets and also for quality control.

An Bord Bainne is already responsible for most exports of dairy products, the exceptions being certain special exports by manufacturing firms here to associated firms abroad. With regard to quality control this is more appropriately carried out by the State than by an organisation engaged in commercial trading.

As regards the home market, I would point out that the board was established primarily to deal with exports of dairy products. However, an extension of the board's functions to include particular functions in relation to the home market may be considered where appropriate, but the need for such an extension would have to be clearly demonstrated before these functions could be taken away from the co-operative or private interests concerned.

Does the Minister know of any milk marketing board in any part of the world that has not got these responsibilities and this power?

Does the Minister know of any milk marketing board that has not got quality control and that has not responsibility for sales both in the home and the export markets?

There is only one Bord Bainne anywhere in the world and that is here and it is doing a good job at what it is at.

Does the Minister not agree that a marketing organisation must have control of quality?

If it is to sell the product?

It is not necessary for the Minister for Finance to help the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries.

No, but he does like helping me.

The Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries is well able to answer. I should like him to explain why he thinks they can sell and not be responsible for quality control.

One of the longer established marketing agencies that we have, where quality is a very essential ingredient, is in relation to the seed potato industry and nobody has ever suggested—not even in the Coalition's time, and God knows they suggested some queer ones—that the quality control should be handed over to the Potato Marketing Board. It is being done by the departmental inspectors over the years very successfully and we are maintaining a very high quality product which is being sold by the marketing board. Why should we make these changes to bring about a situation of which we have no experience when we are well satisfied with the experience we have got in those two cases?

The Minister knows very well that there has been endless criticism of the Potato Marketing Board and of its failure to sell more and more potatoes.

I criticised the Potato Marketing Board before ever I came to where I am now, but I cannot do so to the same extent now because I would be taken up on it and the same applies to the Deputy. The board have been criticised because they do not sell more, but where is the analogy between criticising the board because they do not sell more and making the criticism that Bord Bainne who are responsible for selling should also be responsible for quality inspection at home? These two things are completely opposite.