asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if his attention has been drawn to a report (details supplied) that the Government will lend £750,000 to the carcase beef export industry to help factories secure a better turnover of cattle and to avert redundancies and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Carcase Beef Export Industry.
As I announced on 7th March the Government approved of the making available of a loan of up to £750,000 to the carcase beef export industry. The purpose of the loan is to enable the meat factories to secure a better turnover of cattle supplies in the present circumstances of the trade and to avoid staff redundancies in the factories over the next few months during which it is likely that the present trade circumstances may continue. The loan arrangements will be operated through the Irish Fresh Meat Exporters' Society with whom negotiations are proceeding on the conditions to be applied. The loan arrangement will be terminable at the end of July next when the overall situation in the industry will be reviewed.
Does the Parliamentary Secretary think for one moment that this loan of £750,000 will save this industry which is so vital to the economy and to the workers employed? Could the Minister not come to their aid by giving them some type of grant between now and next December?
The Government have come to their aid by way of a very substantial loan.
A loan repayable in July.
We feel confident that this will help the meat industry to overcome their present difficulties.
Why was the grant dropped from £3 million?
Because of the high price of cattle this year in Britain, which meant the British subvention did not come into play.
Could the Parliamentary Secretary indicate the terms of this loan? Will the factories have to repay this loan?
They will, in July.
No. The details of the loan are being worked out with the Irish Meat Exporters' Society who will operate the loan on behalf of their members.
Will you have them worked out before July?
Will the loan be repayable?
The loan will be operated through the Meat Exporters' Society.
Question No. 39.
You are very unfair. The Parliamentary Secretary was speaking.
I am calling Question No. 39.