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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 20 May 1969

Vol. 240 No. 9

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement.


asked the Taoiseach the present position in regard to the review of the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Agreement.

I would refer the Deputy to the replies I gave on the 20th March and 17th April to questions on the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Agreement. A definite date has not yet been fixed for the further ministerial meeting which is to take place.

Will the Taoiseach not admit that the majority of advantages are with Britain in this trade agreement and due to the fact that the trade agreement was negotiated believing that we would be in the EEC by 1970, would he not give a guarantee now not to proceed with any further reduction of tariffs because if he does it will have a detrimental effect on our industries here and on employment in our industries?

I have answered these questions in reply to supplementaries before.

Due to the——

Will the Deputy let me answer? These ministerial talks have not yet taken place and I do not think it is in our best interests for Deputy L'Estrange to be posing questions seeking answers from me in relation to the balance of advantage in the agreement.

Surely the Taoiseach realises that industrial goods are being nearly dumped from Britain into this country and that this is having serious effects on our industrialists and workers? I would ask the Taoiseach to bear that in mind when he is meeting the British Minister. Will he do that?

Everything will be borne in mind.

Would the Taoiseach be able to inform the House that ministerial talks will take place before 1st July?

I hope so. I could not give any assurance about that. The Deputy will appreciate that the British Government are having their own problems.


There is great urgency about this because the next reduction is due to take place on 1st July?

That is something we will bear in mind.

I would urge upon the Taoiseach to try to have these ministerial talks as soon as possible, election or no election.

Is it not open to the Government here to defer reducing tariffs on 1st July?

It is a breach of the agreement, of course. We could do it unilaterally——

The British Government have already breached it.

That is another question which I do not want to argue out here.