Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Poteen Making.

37.

asked the Minister for Finance if he has granted licences for the making of poteen; and if he will give details of such licences and outline the circumstances in which they were granted.

38.

asked the Minister for Finance if he will give favourable consideration to the desirability of legalising the making of poteen in traditional areas in order to maintain the true art and to provide much needed revenue, especially in depressed areas; and if he will consider granting special licences for this purpose, with adequate safeguards.

39.

asked the Minister for Finance whether, as a means of promoting employment in depressed areas, his Department have considered the value of allowing the manufacture of traditional poteen; and, if not, if he will now examine the matter.

I propose, with your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, to take Question Nos. 37, 38 and 39 together.

It is open to any person to set up a distillery to make spirits of any kind if he complies with the ordinary requirements of the laws relating to the production of spirits, in particular the excise laws administered by the Revenue Commissioners. I do not propose to depart from these requirements for the making of poteen.

No licences have been issued in response to applications for permission to distil spirits to be known as poteen.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary not aware that what is being asked for in these questions has been acknowledged and granted already in many other countries where the processing of native brews and wines is concerned? Is he aware, in particular, that in Scotland the making of whisky is now legalised and that many traditional whisky makers in Scotland are now the recognised suppliers to many of the main distillers of Scotch whisky, and that many small industries have resulted from this? In that regard does the Minister not see the great potentiality of providing much needed employment on similar lines in depressed areas here?

As I have pointed out, it is open to any person to set up a distillery provided the complies with the regulations. The Deputy is probably aware that there is available on the market now a spirit called "Potcheen". This is a trade name used by Ivernian Distillation Blenders, Ltd., of Cork, to describe a blend of spirits manufactured by them. The company do not distill spirit but purchase them from other concerns. The operation is carried out subject to the control of the Revenue Commissioners. Of course, if the Deputy wishes to set up a distillery he can go ahead and do so provided he complies with the regulations laid down by the Revenue Commissioners.

What would be the cost of setting up a home distillery?

Can the Parliamentary Secretary say if a licence is needed in the case of experimental work being carried out and, if a licence is not needed, can he say why equipment for such experimental work is seized?

That is a separate question.

There are certain regulations governing the production of spirits, the most important being the excise laws.

Is the Minister aware of the resentment that exists among the genuine poteen makers of this country that the word "Potcheen" should be so used and that one individual should be given a complete monopoly of the traditional brew of this country?

This is a registered trade name and if anybody is of the opinion that his rights are being infringed he can take the necessary action.

(Interruptions.)