Written Answers. - Irish Food Sector Competitiveness.

James Leonard

Question:

109 Mr. Leonard asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry if he will comment on the IBEC News Report of November 1995, under the heading Food Sector Needs Help Now; and the way in which he intends to respond to this report. [17942/95]

Presumably the question relates to the recently published IBEC Report entitled "The Irish Food Sector: Competitiveness with the UK".

This report acknowledges that, as I have already indicated on several occasions, the appropriate response to the rise in the value of the Irish Pound in relation to Sterling is to improve the competitive position of Irish food companies.

The main concerns expressed in the report are addressed by the Operational Programmes under the Structural Funds, in particular by the Sub-Programme for the Food Industry and the Operational Programme for Transport. Moreover, I have recently announced a transfer of funds, amounting to £7.5 million in 1996 within the Sub-Programme for food to enable An Bord Bia to intensify its marketing and promotion support for the food industry. The question of any taxation relief is a matter for consideration in the context of the budget.