Public Business. - Dairy Produce (Amendment) Bill, 1934—Second Stage.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

The Dairy Produce Act of 1924, like many others of these Produce Acts, was passed to regulate the industry in order to turn out a superior article, mainly for export. Every creamery therefore has to be registered under that Act. There are certain definitions in that Act defining "premises" and so on which have given us some difficulty with regard to travelling creameries. It is therefore necessary to amend the Act of 1924 in order to make it possible to have travelling creameries registered under that Act. The travelling creamery has been experimented with in the County Kerry for some time and it will probably prove to be very useful for certain purposes. I believe it is going to be very useful for testing out a district. For some years past the Department has had a lot of trouble with districts which were looking for creameries. In all cases the representatives of the district said that they wanted a creamery; that they had, say, 1,000 cows and were going to supply, say, 2,000 gallons of milk.

Everything appears to be all right, but when the creamery is built and got going, sometimes we find that the number of cows is down to 25 per cent. of what was stated, and that the supply of milk is down to the same figure. The result is that the creamery is uneconomic and cannot succeed. In many cases it will be very useful to have a travelling creamery to go into the districts and test the amount of milk which can be got before we go to the expense of building a creamery. Of course, when a creamery is built there is at least £1,000 or £1,500 for capital expenditure before any mistake can be found out. There is, therefore, a great loss to the shareholders and others, and sometimes to the State, in the building of these creameries if they are not successful. For experimenting in a new district the travelling creamery is undoubtedly going to be useful. Whether it is going to be useful to continue a travelling creamery in a district is very doubtful. It has, of course, the advantage that it can go from one cross-roads to another and cover a scattered district better than a fixed creamery. I am afraid, however, that the expenses of running a travelling creamery are going to be higher than those of a fixed creamery, because the wear and tear on the machinery will be higher. The travelling expenses also are going to be high and it will also take two skilled men to run it—one to drive the lorry and another to look after the separating— as compared with one skilled man and an unskilled man, or a boy, in fact, in a small fixed creamery.

Taking everything into account, I think the travelling creamery is going to be more expensive than the fixed creamery. It is very doubtful, therefore, if it can be looked upon as a permanent institution in any district. There are certain districts which may appear to suit a travelling creamery rather than a fixed creamery. There is one place which most Senators will realise as a suitable place for a travelling creamery and that is Dingle Peninsula, where you have a large stretch of land and where a travelling creamery could succeed, while a fixed creamery could not succeed. In the ordinary district where milk can be got within a radius of five miles, the fixed creamery is more economic and more useful.

There is a second matter dealt with in Section 8, relating to the extension of licences under Section 42 of the Principal Act. Under the Principal Act no creamery could accept cream from a supplier unless it had a special licence from the Minister for Agriculture. There was only one creamery in the country that got that licence and that was the Macamore Creamery in the Country Wexford. They got that licence for a period of three years and since that time two amending Acts have been passed in order to continue the licence. On each occasion it was felt that another three years might help them and place them in the position of being able to carry on economically. They had not reached that stage when the last amending Bill was brought in and I am afraid we shall have to ask for another amending Bill. They have to depend on cream collected from a distance in order to make the creamery an economic proposition. It is proposed under Section 8 to give another extension until March, 1937. This is the only creamery that has got the concession of accepting cream from the producers. It is not likely any other creamery will get the concession, and I hope it will not be necessary to continue it in the case of this creamery beyond 1937.

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage fixed for Wednesday, 29th August.