Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Nitrogenous Fertiliser Surplus.

14.

asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries the steps his Department are taking to ensure that sufficient nitrogenous fertiliser is available to Irish farmers in 1975.

Developments of an international, commercial or local nature in respect of which I have no function or cannot exercise any control can affect the supply of nitrogenous fertilisers, I understand however that home production of the main nitrogenous fertiliser—calcium ammonium nitrate—is projected to increase by 44 per cent in the 1974-75 season as compared with the 1973-74 season. This increase, coupled with the availability of other straight nitrogenous fertilisers and high nitrogen compounds, should be adequate to meet demands in 1975.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary say if he anticipates any export of nitrogenous fertilisers on the same lines as last year when the home market was left without supplies? Does the Parliamentary Secretary anticipate any repetition of this?

I anticipate there will be 260,000 tons produced here and we are making arrangements for the purchase of 40,000 tons. Our estimates are that possibly the utilisation of fertilisers will increase by 10 per cent and so far as we can see at the present time there should be a sufficiency for our people.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the greatest source of supply of fertilisers is in the north Clare mines, which are underdeveloped, between Kilfenora and Doolin? Would he confer with the Minister for Industry and Commerce with a view to having this investigated further? This is not a joke.

As regards Deputy Loughnane's question I shall only be too pleased to convey the Deputy's remarks to the Minister. In reply to Deputy Gibbons, free trade conditions operate in respect of both the imports and exports of fertilisers and EEC regulations preclude export of them.

As the Parliamentary Secretary is aware urea is used quite frequently as a nitrogenous fertiliser. Is there any danger of its being exported this year as it was last year?

The Minister has precluded its being exported. The export of fertilisers is covered under existing regulations.

Inasmuch as the fertilisers in question are produced by State companies, surely the Minister has power to influence his policy.

As I indicated, the Minister expects there will be 260,000 tons produced by that company for the home market.

What quantity of that will be urea?

There will be 260,000 tons.

Of urea? There was a question asked about the exportation of urea. Does the Parliamentary Secretary know what urea is?

My answer relates to the production of fertilisers——

Next question please. We must make some progress. Question No 15 has been answered, I take it. Deputies should not hold the Chair unduly long on any given question. We have spent a long time on this question.

I am just trying to get clarification. Did I understand the Parliamentary Secretary to say that 260,000 tons of nitrogenous fertilisers will be produced and made available to the home market? He also referred to 40,000 tons which I understood would be imported. Is this the figure of high nitrogenous fertiliser that will be available?

That is the present indication as set down here.

Will all that be kept for the home market?

I cannot say. Our expectations are that it will.

Next question, please.

As a matter of information, urea, which is a nitrogenous fertiliser of a kind, is produced on the Continent rather cheaper than we can produce ammonium nitrate here. Can the Parliamentary Secretary say whether urea is being manufactured in Ireland and exported?

We expect to import 20,000 tons of urea this year.

That answers the question I was asking.

The Chair is very anxious to get off this question which has now occupied some six minutes.

It seems to me that Deputy Loughnane asked a perfectly valid question and I, for one, did not get the answer.

The answer was that I undertook to convey Deputy Loughnane's views to the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary not think that his is the appropriate Ministry?

The Government act collectively.

(Interruptions.)

What is the position about Deputy Loughnane's question?

The Deputy can rest assured that the views expressed and the statement made will be brought to the notice of the appropriate authorities.

Question No. 16. I take it Question No. 15 has been answered.

In other words, the Parliamentary Secretary is dismissing jocosely a legitimate question by Deputy Loughnane.

No, I am taking it quite seriously and those views will be conveyed to the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

The Chair has called the next question on a number of occasions and must be obeyed at some stage. Question No. 16.