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asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he will make a statement on the causes of the delays of up to a year in the payment of the UK variable premium to Irish meat factories.

Because of relevant forms being mislaid after leaving this country, delays have arisen in the payment by the United Kingdom authorities of variable premium on certain quantities of Irish beef exported to Britain. This matter has been the subject of discussions with United Kingdom authorities and duplicates of missing documents have been furnished by my Department. These are at present being checked in the UK in order that outstanding payments may be made.

In consultation with the UK authorities, my Department are investigating the circumstances in which some forms have gone astray and I would hope that the matter will be resolved without undue delay.