Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Agriculture Marketing Boards.

39.

asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he has plans to give special assistance to Irish agricultural marketing boards during 1972 as this may be the last year in which such aid will be possible in consequence of EEC membership.

It is not the present intention to provide special assistance to agricultural marketing boards. The general question of the marketing of agricultural products under EEC conditions is being discussed with the interests concerned.

Would the Minister agree that it will not be possible after the end of this year to give money to these bodies for marketing as distinct from promotion and in view of the fact that this is the last year in which we can give such money, would he agree that we should give them a considerable amount to put them in funds when going into the EEC?

No, I would not accept that general principle. If such money were available, I think the place to use it would be at the producer end of the production line rather than the off-take end.

Will the Minister not agree that we will be able to continue to give money at the producer end after we join but not at the marketing end and that we should do it at the marketing end now?

No. I think our resources should be devoted mainly to the expansion at the production end of the business rather than the export end. I believe that after our entry into the EEC, the market itself can provide a sufficient source of capital for market development.