Written Answers. - Farm Development Scheme.

Patrick D. Harte

Question:

132 Mr. Harte asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the steps which he proposes to take to overcome the difficulty of operating the farm development scheme next year, in view of the dispute between the farm development grant officers and his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

John Connor

Question:

167 Mr. Connor asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if the recent arrangement confirming only one district superintendent at his Department's farm development office in Roscommon is permanent; and if so, his views on whether the step involves a serious downgrading of this office which will result in a much reduced service to farmers implementing waste and pollution controls and other development programmes in the area.

I propose to reply to Questions Nos. 132 and 167 together.

Restrictions imposed by the union have been lifted on a temporary basis. Discussions are continuing between my Department and the union to find a permanent solution.

In relation to Roscommon I am satisfied that the staffing level available is sufficient for the county at present and that service to farmers will not be adversely affected. The position will, however, be kept under review.