Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Cattle Payment Difficulty.


asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will consider introducing legislation to prevent a recurrence of the situation whereby serious hardship was caused to many farmers all over Ireland due to the financial difficulties of a large cattle dealer (details supplied).

While I regret that some farmers are experiencing difficulty in getting paid for cattle. I have no responsibility or functions in regard to the financial situation of the individual concerned and I do not consider that legislative action by me is called for.

Is the Minister aware that a substantial number of farmers have suffered very large losses as the result of the collapse of this dealer? Is he aware that his colleague, the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism, took action in a similar case involving the collapse of Bray Travel? Would he not agree that this is an analogous situation in which he might adopt a similar approach?

I do not think the situation is similar because the creditors involved in this instance held a meeting and there are certain measures open to them which they have not taken as yet. In the situation mentioned by the Deputy the company had gone into liquidation, which is not the case here.

If the end result is similar, is the Minister prepared to take action?

I have already replied that I do not have any responsibility in that regard.

The Minister's colleague did not have any responsibility until the problem arose. This Minister has a responsibility to a large number of farmers.

There are actions open to them.

Is there anything the Minister can do to prevent something like this happening again?

This is a private matter with which we do not wish to interfere. I would hope that situations like this will not recur and that the problems which have arisen in this instance will be resolved.