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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 14 May 1969

Vol. 240 No. 8

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dublin Milk Prices.


asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he is aware that the last increase to milk producers in the Dublin District Milk Board area was 1d. per gallon in April, 1967; and if in view of the increases in production costs he is now prepared to grant them a further increase.

I would refer the Deputy to my announcement of last Friday concerning an increase in the minimum price to producers of milk for the liquid trade in the Dublin and Cork District Milk Board areas.

We have read the Minister's announcement of the 2d a gallon increase to producers but he withdrew the subsidy to the surplus milk from these people and it will cause great hardship to the small supplier, the man with the small quota. I am afraid the Minister will put him completely out of business. He will have to give his milk away to the creamery at 3d a gallon. Some have as low as one quota and are trying to establish a milk quota with liquid milk producers in the Dublin milk area. The Minister should at least give a subsidy on a percentage of the surplus because if you are to keep up a steady supply of milk to the Dublin or Cork District Milk Board areas you must have a surplus. I am sure the Minister will agree with that.

I agree fully with the latter part of the Deputy's statement but not with the first part. The Deputy is completely misunderstanding the situation. Perhaps, some of his constituents and suppliers are also misunderstanding it.

They are very worried about it.

The plain fact that emerges from what has been done is that allowing for the cessation of the allowances being paid by the taxpayer to the support of the liquid milk trade heretofore, the increase of 2d per gallon in respect of the amount of the milk supplied under quota by each individual supplier each day is more than double compensation for what has been taken away. In other words, more than 1d of the 2d is, in fact, a true increase in the income of the liquid milk suppliers in the Cork and Dublin District Milk Board areas.

Could I ask the Minister would he allow the surplus milk to be sent to creameries outside the Dublin District Milk Board area and allow these people to collect the quota bonus money on that milk?

No. In fact, this is exactly what is not being allowed either within the Dublin area or outside the Dublin area, namely, paying taxpayers' money to support a trade which is a commercially viable trade, namely, the supply of liquid milk to this city and to Cork city. This increase in the price of the quota milk to the producers ensures that not only are they fully compensated for what has been taken away but, in fact, they have got slightly over a net penny increase per gallon on the milk they produce on their quotas in these areas. This is, in fact, the actual case and I know the milk suppliers will be very happy to learn and to know that this is the case. That is not to be misunderstood, as has been suggested. I am not blaming anybody for this possible misunderstanding.

Deputy Foley's question proves that, in fact, it will be a loss rather than a gain.

Would the Minister consider as compensation to those people with a small quota allowing them into the beef incentive scheme?

What has not got through here is that 2d increase on the basic quotas of each individual supplier is just over twice the amount that is required to compensate him for the cessation or withdrawal of the taxpayers' subsidy by way of milk price allowances that were heretofore paid on the surplus that went out of Dublin and Cork into creameries throughout the country.

The Minister is obviously not aware that there are suppliers to the Dublin milk supply who have three times the amount of surplus milk as they have of quota at this time of the year and the greater portion of the year, and have no prospect of expanding except on the basis of quota milk and that they are less than three-quarters of what they normally got.

What is the purpose of a quota if, in fact, three times what is needed goes in against every gallon that is needed? Is Deputy Clinton not fully aware that the overall surplus taking it around the year is somewhere in the region of 6,000,000, 7,000,000 or, at most, 8,000,000 gallons, total?

That is true for the Dublin district certainly.

OK. How can the Deputy say there are these suppliers sending in three gallons surplus for every gallon of quota when the relationship between the total surplus and the total consumption is approximately seven as seven is to 50?

The Minister speaks as if he does not understand the position. People who came into the supply in recent years have a very small quota. As regards people who were there originally practically their full supply of milk is on quota but the people who have come in in recent years have only a small quota and a big surplus and they are badly hit as a result of this.

I want the House to understand, and not to be further confused by what Deputy Clinton is trying to say, that the amount of milk surplus required to carry on a trade here in Dublin, or, indeed, in any other area, of liquid milk sale requires somewhere between ten and 15 per cent surplus overall, this in order to ensure that on no day is there too little.

The Minister will not now give the solution which EEC have finally accepted—to kill the cows?

I thought the Deputy did not want to have anything to do with EEC?

He wants it both ways. Let him finish.

This is the solution EEC have finally accepted. The Minister said it was not true. Today it is true. Which is it?

I will allow the last supplementary from Deputy Foley. There is a Private Notice Question on this matter.

The Minister is trying to answer something.

No matter how small the quota, Deputy Clinton will not have a big surplus.

Not when my publicity agent is finished.

Would the Minister consider giving financial support to the Dublin milk suppliers——


May I ask the Minister if he will consider giving financial support to the Dublin milk suppliers if they set up a processing factory of their own to dispose of the surplus milk?

Of course.

May I also ask the Minister if he will consider giving an extension to September before implementing this particular policy?

As to the latter part, the answer would be "No". As to the first part, absolutely "Yes."

Is the Minister aware of what is really happening with regard to surplus milk——

I will allow no further questions. Question No. 10. I am allowing no further questions on No. 9. There is a Private Notice Question down on this subject. Would the Deputy please resume his seat and allow questions to continue?

Is the Minister aware that surplus milk is coming into Dublin——

Question No. 10.

May I ask one final question?

In reply to Deputy Foley, I should like to say that I would be delighted to help, as far as possible, and with all the resources at the disposal of the State, the setting up of any processing factory that would abate and use up usefully any surplus milk that may arise in Dublin now or in the future.


This is all baloney from the Minister, election baloney, and he knows it.

Question No. 10.

Bluffer Blaney's blarney.

Is the Minister——

Will Deputy Clinton please cease interrupting?

Let Deputy Clinton not squeak in my direction. I am warning him.

Deputy Foley is not on the football field now.