Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Free Trade Area Agreement.


asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce the results of his representations to Britain under the review clause in the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement for the year ended July, 1971.

The discussions with the British Government under article 1 (5) of the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement have not yet been concluded. Details have already been announced of the interim arrangements agreed in the course of the discussions to prevent injury to Irish industry pending the completion of the negotiations. These provided for a standstill from the 1st July, 1971, in the levels of duty on a number of products and, in certain other cases, a smaller reduction in the rates of duty than was required under the agreement.

Would the Minister tell us why the Government have been so secretive about this matter? This was to be the year of major change in the circumstances of this agreement. Why did the Government give the House no information whatever about the matter?

We have given the House information.

What information? A general statement such as the Minister has just made is not information.

I gave the House information on the 1st July of the interim measures that had been taken.

What I recollect quite distinctly is that the Government with great care suppressed this discussion so that most people were wondering——

Statements are now being made on questions.

Most people were wondering whether the Government were suppressing the thing entirely on the pretext that they were negotiating to get into the Common Market.

Is the Minister aware that cheap British goods are being dumped in this country in order to get a foothold in our market, that the shops in this city are full of British goods and that Irish people are losing their jobs in industry due to this dumping?

If there is any question of dumping it will be taken up by the dumping commission. I cannot accept that we have straightforward dumping. Dumping is dumping at cut price.

Surely the Minister knows they are sending goods in at cut price to get a foothold?

I know that many Irish people are buying foreign goods.

I know that, but what are the Government doing? What lead are they giving?

Why can we not have a proper "Buy Irish Campaign" to give employment to our own people? Posters can be printed in Ireland.

It is small. That was because the NDA were let down by the printers.


When you place an order with an Irish company you expect to get an Irish product.

Would the Minister agree that the answer he gave in defence of the NDA getting their posters printed in Holland is exactly the same excuse that every housewife gives when she buys English goods—it is small, it does not matter? Example should come from the Government and they should buy in Ireland and then other people might follow but if they do not see the Government giving this example why should they bother?

I should like to clear this with the Deputy. I think it was Deputy Tully who spoke about the car stickers having been made outside the country. Quite honestly I was shocked to learn that car stickers which had been purchased by the NDA were printed in Holland. I checked this out and the position was that the order was placed with an Irish printing firm for a particular type of long life sticker and the Irish firm came up with those. I was not consulted but the decision the NDA had to make was whether to scrap all those or to use them. They used them. In the light of the complaints that have come up, it might have been as well if they had scrapped them.


It would have been better.

It was a very difficult decision.

Where are the "Vote Fianna Fáil" stickers being made?

We will not need them for a couple of years.

Would the Minister not agree that the NDA should have insisted that the goods be made in Ireland and followed it through?

The council are voluntary.

Their chairman is a well-known member of the Minister's party.

I do not know about membership of the party but——

The Minister must not be attending national executive meetings.

——they are chaired by a well-known man.


The Chair is calling Question No. 105.

Did they not get a proof of this sticker?

I do not know.

The inference is they did not.