I propose to take Questions Nos. 38, 242 and 243 together. Most fruit and vegetables, including tomatoes and mushrooms, are the subject of a common organisation of the market and member states of the European Union are precluded from providing assistance out of national resources.
The appropriate response to the currency situation is to improve competitiveness and intensify and geographically diversify marketing efforts. Teagasc's research programme on mushrooms is geared towards achieving this.
Tomato production in Spain, which is a member of the European Union, is also subject to the restrictions imposed by the common organisation of the market and its products are entitled to free access to EU markets. The question of the price of gas in Ireland is a matter for An Bord Gáis and the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications.
While Council Regulation (EC) 2611/95 of 25 October 1995 provides for the possibility of national aid being granted in compensation for losses of agricultural income caused by monetary movements in other member states, subject to approval by the European Commission, I do not propose to seek Commission approval for such a measure.