Written Answers. - Butter Voucher Scheme.

Dermot Ahern

Question:

264 Mr. D. Ahern asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry if new conditions relating to the butter voucher scheme have been put in place in the past year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4218/97]

This measure is fully funded by the European Union without any Exchequer contribution. Following a recent review of the future of the scheme by the European Commission, the conclusion was reached that it should be extended for a further two years, but that the monthly entitlement should be halved to reflect the general decline in butter consumption in Ireland. Since 1980, per capita butter consumption in Ireland has fallen from 21bs per month to under 11b.

The Agriculture Council agreed in December to continue the scheme on the basis of the Commission proposal.