FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE—QUESTION ON ADJOURNMENT.

I desire to raise this question as to the precautions taken to prevent foot and mouth disease entering this country, and also as to the enforcement of the regulations, and further as to the treatment and detention of our live stock at the ports now open in England.

The precautions taken at the open ports in England during the last three or four weeks in connection with the spread of foot and mouth disease in that country were of such an unsatisfactory nature that we sent over a man from Cork to see things for himself on the spot. This gentleman made a report, a copy of which I showed to the Minister for Agriculture. The report goes to show that things are done in a very slipshod manner at the ports of Fishguard and at Birkenhead. I will deal first with the treatment of our live stock at these ports on the other side. The report that we have received goes to show that pigs have been well cared for and have been well fed and well looked after. Sheep have been very badly treated, and cattle have been starved. They get almost nothing at all to eat. The facts are that 800 cattle were sent over to the other side, and though they had been travelling for a considerable number of hours, all they got to eat on arrival was the small quantity of 39 cwt. of hay. These cattle had done a long journey across the country and had been several hours on steamers and on trains, and yet all they were given to eat on arrival was this very small quantity of fodder, consisting of 39 cwt. of hay. Anyone who knows anything about the cattle trade knows that there would be very little for each of the 800 cattle out of such a small supply of fodder. I might say also that the cattle dealers sought to enter the lairages to see how the cattle were treated but they were refused admission, while at the same time the English drovers had free access into and out of the lairages.

As far as could be observed, there was no system of disinfecting these drovers before they went into the lairages or when they came out. This question of food for the cattle, as well as proper care for them, has naturally a very serious effect on their value. No one in the cattle trade needs to be told that. As to the precautions taken, I understand that the system in Birkenhead is very bad, indeed so bad that there is no system there at all. The precautions are not put in force as they should be, and the wonder is that England at the moment is not reeking with foot and mouth disease from one end of it to the other. Creosote, I understand, is provided in a small box at Woodside, where those having access to the lairages are supposed to avail of it as a disinfectant. They are supposed to walk in and stand on the creosote which is kept in a little box, but, according to the report that we have received, the men concerned only put one foot in the box and keep the other outside, and then show to the Inspectors the boot that has been put in the creosote. If these statements are true, it is no wonder that England is in the position she is in to-day. I understand also that fumigation is only a farce. Things were very bad at the early stages, but I believe there has been a little improvement within the last three or four days, but at the same time the enforcement of the regulations is not anything like what it should be.

At our own port in Dun Laoghaire, I am afraid the precautions are not strict enough either. Men who have been over in England, and who have been through the cattle lairages, attempt to evade complying with the regulations, and this happens even with people engaged in the cattle trade. I suppose some of these young men think themselves too nice to go into the fumigating chamber, and some of them also, I suppose, do not want to soil their boots; but the fact is that they attempt to evade complying with the regulations. Men engaged in the cattle trade do that, and in my opinion their action is not creditable to them. If they were men of any national spirit they should, I think, be anxious to comply with the regulations, especially when it is remembered that their very livelihood depends upon the success of the cattle trade in this country. I was speaking to a young cattle dealer who had come from Birkenhead, and who had been through the cattle lairages. He told me he was asked to go into the fumigating chamber at this side. He went in, but with his travelling clothes and boots on. The clothes he had worn in the cattle lairages in England were in his bag. I have that from the man himself, and I think it is not at all creditable to men like him and to others who are engaged in the cattle trade in this country. It is a miracle that we have not foot and mouth disease in this country, a miracle, I say, that we ought to be very thankful for. There were several other points that I wished to refer to, but as I was not aware that this question would be taken up so early in the day I have nothing more to say, except to call attention to the urgency of having the regulations as regards foot and mouth disease at the open ports in England strictly enforced, and also to see that our cattle are well treated and well cared for when they arrive at these ports.

I desire to support what has been said by Deputy Gorey. I would like the Dáil to understand the exact position with regard to the cattle trade. Deputies heard the other day from the Minister for Agriculture that if cattle are found infected at a landing place, a kind of "No man's land," between England and Ireland, the owners of the cattle are not to be compensated either by the Free State Government or the Government of Great Britain. You heard a statement from Deputy Gorey as to the lack of supervision as regards the disinfecting arrangements at the other side, or rather the failure to carry out the regulations by the authorities in Great Britain. I do not think it is a fair business for men who invest their money in the cattle trade and bring their cattle over to England to this "No man's land" after getting a sound bill of health at the port of export in Ireland, that through the action, or want of action, of the authorities in Great Britain these cattle should become infected with the disease. The cattle were quite healthy and free of the disease leaving Ireland, but because of the lack of the enforcement of the regulations in England they contracted the disease, and as a result had to be slaughtered. The serious position for the cattle dealers is that in these circumstances no compensation is to be paid to them by the Free State Government or by the British Government. The Minister for Agriculture, the other day, told us that these men should cover their risks by insurance. I made inquiries into that matter since then, and I have learned that the insurance rates are so high as to be altogether prohibitive. The only remedy that I see is to have the regulations strictly enforced, and to see that cattle which leave Ireland with a clean bill of health will not become infected in these lairages at the other side. The regulations should be tightened up and every precaution taken to stamp out the source of infection. Otherwise it will be a miracle if this country escapes an outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease.

I would like also to say a word with a view to pointing one of the morals issuing from this discussion. I think the Minister for Agriculture himself, on a previous occasion, drew attention to the fact that we had by deliberation, or as a result of deliberation, chosen to become independent of the British authority, and, of course, we have to abide by the consequences. I take it that nine-tenths of the people are willing to abide by the consequences and to derive the advantages. I suggest it is not well to raise matters here in a manner which would suggest that the responsibility for foot-and-mouth disease in England, or the care of cattle in England, is the responsibility of the Irish Minister for Agriculture. We cannot, from this Chamber, hector, with dignity to ourselves, the British Minister for Agriculture, or any other Department responsible for the administration of affairs in Britain. My chief reason for interposing is rather to suggest that we shall have, in this case, as in many others, to look for some alternative market for the disposal of our goods. In the case of cattle as large a proportion as possible should be killed and dealt with in this country, and exported as dead meat and not as live meat. I realise quite well that this cannot, by any possibility, cover the whole of the cattle trade, but at least it would minimise the loss which the cattle traders and breeders are subject to, and I suggest that this is not a cattle dealer's question.

On a point of personal explanation, I have not said it was a cattle dealer's question nor have I attempted to lecture the English Board of Agriculture. My object was to try and draw attention to the want in not having the regulations enforced.

I did not suggest, nor do I want to suggest, that Deputy Gorey was speaking as a representative of the cattle dealers. But I am afraid there is an inclination to think of it rather as a cattle dealer's question. I wonder whether this is not a matter which should be dealt with by the Minister for External Affairs. It is very serious, no doubt, and I believe that we will be obliged—I would hope that the continuance of disease in England will make us all realise that we shall be obliged—to encourage, to the utmost, the dead meat trade in the country. I hope that steps will be taken to avail of the opportunity that is now offered, and to get possession of and to put into operation, the factory at Drogheda.

This is one of the vital questions we have to consider in this country and what I would like to emphasise is the necessity for seeing that the disease is not carried into the Free State. That is the matter to which we should devote all our attention. I am informed, whether rightly or wrongly, that there is a lot of litter used in packing various articles coming into this country, some of which is fed to cattle and sent to the various ports of the country. There is danger that in this way we might introduce the disease into the country and this would involve the loss of a very considerable amount of money. The Ministry of Agriculture should turn their attention to this and see that no packing that comes into this country is used for fodder, but that any such packing as is allowed to come to the ports is destroyed. I think that is one of the best means that could be taken to safeguard the country in respect of this important question.

As regards the treatment of cattle at the other side of the water, I think that the person who is at the head of that branch in Dublin should be able to make arrangements between his Department and the English Department. The cattle industry, as we all know, is a vital industry in this country, and if the suggestion of Deputy Johnson were taken up earnestly and if the larger number of the cattle fit to be killed were got ready for that purpose they could be exported as dead meat instead of sending them alive to the other side. That would be a great advantage and the industries of the country would benefit very greatly in the use of by-products resulting from such a system. I merely wish to suggest to the Ministry the very great importance of having fodder coming from England in packing cases destroyed at the port of entry.

I think great necessity for supervision lies at this side. If the people in England, who are acting in such a slip-shod fashion, are not coming across here, there is not much danger of their infecting this country with the disease. But I think every precaution should be taken at our ports, where the people engaged in the cattle trade are crossing to and fro, and there should be every facility that is possible for the disinfection of the clothes of such people crossing over to the English markets and coming back again. I understand that at Rosslare the facilities for this sort of disinfection are not at all adequate. They have some man engaged doing this business who some time ago was a railway worker. I presume he is not the Shipping Inspector but I am informed—and I live adjacent to where this port is—that the fumigation carried out is an actual farce. Another thing I suggest to the Ministry—in this I support Deputy Johnson —is to try to establish the dead meat industry.

I am glad to say we have it on a small scale in Wexford, and but for it, during the crisis of the past two or three months a great many people would have fared much worse than they did. At a recent meeting of the Agricultural Commission the suggestion was made that an effort should be made to try and re-open the meat packing industry at Drogheda. The majority of the members of the Commission believe that the Ministry would be well advised not to let that industry fall through, or get into the clutches of a foreign syndicate, or people who, perhaps, would be able to rig the markets. That industry should, if possible, be retained for the Irish people. There is no better protection against foot-and-mouth disease than to establish a dead meat trade. Apart from stores, with which the owner is not so much hampered, the dead meat trade would be a great advantage for dealing with fat cattle. With a dead meat trade owners would not be compelled to keep cattle for months, being unable to get rid of them for want of an outlet to the markets. When the trade is held up the beneficial effects of a dead meat trade, such as we have in Wexford, is realised. I would impress on the Minister, and on his officials, the importance of seeing that people engaged in the trade are disinfected after every journey they make across the Channel.

I want to add a few remarks on this question. We raised it as it is a very important one for the country. We know that in England up to one or two weeks ago not a beast could be moved from one part of the country to another. We do not want that position in this country. We do not want to be in the position that we could not drive cattle from their sheds for a drink. Because of the laxity of the regulations in England, there is a great danger that foot-and-mouth disease will come into this country. It is a marvel that it has not come already, seeing that the conditions are such as they are across the Channel. I agree that our Minister for Agriculture can, perhaps, do very little to have regulations imposed across the Channel, but he can, at least, see that those engaged in the cattle trade, between this country and England, will submit to regulations on coming back which will ensure that Irish interests are being protected. It seems to me that a register should be kept of cattle dealers who cross to this country from England, and it should be a penal offence for any man engaged in the trade who did not comply with whatever regulations are fixed so that disinfection may be thoroughly carried out.

On the last occasion that this question was discussed in the Dáil I made a suggestion to the Minister for Agriculture that a veterinary inspector should accompany large consignments of cattle to the different landing places with a view to seeing that the British authorities carried out the legal requirements. The Minister did not exactly turn that suggestion down, but stated it was a question of expense. The cattle trade is one of the principal industries in the country, and in such a question the expense of a veterinary inspector to accompany consignments to the different landing places would, I consider, be well-spent money. I was recently informed in the North of Ireland by a prominent cattle dealer that this disease had been introduced into England by the Canadian cattle, but that the fact was cloaked and concealed. Whether there is any truth in that statement or not I do not know. I make the statement as it was told to me, and I am prepared to give the name of the cattle dealer who supplied the information. I would put it to the Minister for his consideration, that he should send a veterinary inspector to the cross-Channel ports with every large consignment of cattle to see that the English authorities carry out the regulations.

I agree that we should concentrate on taking precautions on this side rather than on the arrangements made by the English Ministry of Agriculture on the other side. I also agree with Deputy Johnson that we cannot afford to hector the English Minister for Agriculture, and I do not think Deputy Gorey intended to hector him. I will admit, in view of the fact that quarantine stations at the ports in England are a sort of no man's land that we here have certain obligations to see that satisfactory arrangements are made in regard to these quarantine stations. We would be entitled through the Minister for External Affairs, with whom I have discussed this matter, to make the necessary representations to the English Government, as a friendly Government, if we considered their arrangements might be improved, and if we had any suggestions to make. We have done so. While Deputy Gorey and Deputy Baxter agreed that we should concentrate on precautions, Deputy White is perfectly convinced that there is no objection to sending over a veterinary inspector with each consignment of cattle to the landing places, at Birkenhead, Glasgow, Merklands, and Ayr, etc. The inspectors are to get off at the landing places with each consignment, walk up to the veterinary surgeon who is at each place, and see that precautions are carried out, and probably say to him that he knows very little about his job. I want to point out that that policy is absolutely opposed to the policy suggested by Deputy Gorey, Deputy Baxter and Deputy Hughes. It is not such a simple matter as one thinks, and there is no use closing our eyes to the difficulties. I dare say we could make arrangements with the English Government so that our veterinary inspector could be constantly on the other side inspecting their arrangements and quarantine stations. I would agree with Deputy White that mere considerations of expense should not stop us and have not stopped us. It would be very false economy to save a penny and lose many pounds in such a big question as this. But is it good business to take up the attitude, that we must be perfectly satisfied with the arrangements made by the English Ministry of Agriculture?

Deputy White will remember that one case of foot and mouth disease occurred about a month ago amongst Irish cattle, under circumstances which made it possible that the infection had taken place in Ireland. In accordance with their usual custom the English Ministry immediately closed the ports until the origin of these cattle was discovered. They asked us to trace the origin. They did not immediately send over their veterinary inspectors to go through the whole of Ireland to see if there was foot and mouth disease in Ireland. They asked us to do so. We succeeded in doing so in four days. They took our word and certificates and opened the ports. The closing of the ports for two days means probably a loss of thousands of pounds, but if they were closed for some weeks it would mean hundreds of thousands of pounds. Is it worth while running the risk of having our ports closed for weeks longer than they should be? That is what would happen if the English Ministry took up the attitude that their veterinary inspectors would have to be satisfied that we had a clean bill of health here. The Farmers' Party are more interested in this than I am. They have probably more cattle per head than I have. I will put the onus on the Farmers' Union of considering whether it would be good business for us to say to the English Inspectors and to the English Ministry of Agriculture, "We are not satisfied with your arrangements and you will have to let us inspect your arrangements at the landing places." If the farmers ask me, and say that they are willing to do that and are willing to run the risk of the English Minister for Agriculture saying: "Very well, we will not take your certificates on this side," they have only to say so and I will do it. There is no use in Deputy White or other Deputies taking up the attitude and saying: "I am a business man, and I will do this thing very quickly and see that things are done right, but we have got to persuade the Minister for Agriculture, who knows nothing about the trade and that is the trouble." If Deputy White, as a responsible farmer, thinks that we can afford to ask the English Minister for Agriculture to let us inspect his arrangements, and that the Farmers' Party are willing to run the risk of the English Minister for Agriculture retaliating and saying: "Very well, we will inspect yours," all he has to do is to let me know and I am sure there will be no difficulty about making the arrangements. It is not expenses that have stopped us.

I am sure that the precautions taken on the other side during the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in regard to keeping landing-places absolutely free from infection could be improved upon, just as I know perfectly well that the arrangements on this side could be improved upon. I take it for granted that as foot-and-mouth disease has lasted in England for at least three months, as there have been thousands of cattle and hundreds of thousands of pounds lost, and the whole Ministry of Agriculture has been overworked in trying to cope with the outbreak, that there may have been laxity and looseness. But I ask Deputy Gorey not to take for granted or to take too literally the report which he has received, that English drovers from the neighbouring counties go amongst Irish cattle at the various landing-places without being properly disinfected. I dare say farmers in England are like farmers in Ireland, and drovers in England are like drovers here, and that some of them try to avoid the disinfecting process. But it is an extraordinary thing, notwithstanding that foot-and-mouth disease has been rife in England for three months, that only in a single case has the disease been carried into a landing place. That one case was in Merklands, in Glasgow. If the precautions were so absolutely loose and lax as the Deputy says, you can take it for granted, having regard to the fact that English drovers and officials are going in and out every day to everyone of the landing-places along the coast, that there would be more than one outbreak of disease. I am not satisfied that the precautions are so lax as is stated, but I would like to have a copy of the report referred to. I can find out in various ways exactly what the precautions are and how they are carried out in practice. There has been only one case of infection being carried to a landing-place for Irish cattle. I want to point out also that I have not received a single complaint from Irish dealers on the other side on the lines of the complaint that Deputy Gorey has made, although I have received a great many complaints on other matters. I ask the Deputy, therefore, not to take for granted all the statements that are made.

With regard to feeding on the other side, the English Ministry make arrangements for feeding, but they recover the cost from the owners. The Irish dealers, I am perfectly certain, can have their cattle fed with as much hay as they are willing to pay for. I know that on this side cattle are left in the lairages, at the North Wall and elsewhere, for a long time without being properly fed. I know the owners leave them in that way deliberately and that they are often in a poor condition before they are taken away. I am certain that when the disease was at its worst confusion was worse confounded at the ports in England, and that there were certain difficulties in getting cattle properly fed. On the other hand, dealers themselves were not entirely without fault, and I would suggest that some of them are not too anxious to spend money on feeding.

I agree that all the precautions necessary should be taken on this side. This debate is useful because it will re-advertise the whole position. But for the one precaution which I can take the farmers can take a hundred precautions. Any precautions that I can take are not of any use without the good-will and co-operation of the trade. We have, I think, taken every possible precaution. We have not got foot and mouth disease yet. I do not say that was because of our precautions, but it may be partly due to them. It is, perhaps, due more to good luck, as Deputy Gorey said. We have, I am satisfied, made as adequate arrangements as we could make for disinfection at the ports.

I have got complaints from cattle dealers recently with regard to the disinfection arrangements at Dun Laoghaire. I have inquired from the Chief Veterinary Inspector, who is in charge there, from the police constables who are on duty there, and the two men who are responsible for the actual disinfection of the dealers as they arrive, and I am unable to make up my mind as to who is to blame. I know that in the past dealers have made every effort to avoid disinfection. But at present they, I think, realise their responsibility in the matter and are more willing to submit to the process of disinfection. Although I have received numerous complaints as to the laxity, if you like, of certain officials of the Department at certain ports, I am not at all satisfied that the fault does not lie as much with the farmers and the cattle dealers. The two best men we have are at Dun Laoghaire and the best Veterinary Inspector we have is in charge there.

With regard to Rosslare, the man who is responsible there for taking the cattle dealers into the disinfecting chamber may be a railway man or anything else you like. There is no skill required in the matter. If a person is there long enough he will know the persons who land and that particular persons are cattle dealers and not commercial travellers. All he has got to do is to take persons in to be disinfected. There is a Veterinary Inspector in charge at the port.

Not at the time the boat arrives, when cattle dealers are returning.

Mr. HOGAN

He may not be there always. It is not his duty to be there then.

Mr. DOYLE

I am not saying it is.

Mr. HOGAN

This is manual work and the fact that a man is a railway man does not make him any the less fitted to intercept cattle dealers and bring them to the disinfecting chamber. The only special knowledge required is that he should be able to distinguish cattle dealers as they arrive. The old Order which was in operation for some time was to the effect that every person connected with the cattle trade on landing on this side was guilty of an offence if he refused to submit to disinfection. We have changed that Order within the past week. We have now made it an offence—and I would like this to be well known—for any cattle dealer, farmer or drover, or anybody connected with the cattle trade on the other side, to leave a port without himself ensuring that he has been disinfected.

We propose to prosecute in any case we can get. That is the first precaution. With regard to packing, Deputy Hughes suggested that all packing should be burned at the ports. That would be impossible, I think. That would raise a tremendous opposition in trade, if we had to unpack everything at the ports and burn the straw and packing. I do not think it would be worth it. I think that if you go into the lists of cases of foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland for a period of, say, twenty years, you would not be justified in going as far as to prevent straw used in packing for goods from coming in, or insisting on everything being unpacked at the ports and the straw burned there. Even if you did that you would only be guarding against perhaps five per cent. of the possible sources of danger. What we have done is to make an order making it an offence to retain any straw arriving on this side with goods. We have asked the people who get straw as packing to burn it, and we have made it an offence not to do so. Of course, we could hardly enforce that law, except in two or three per cent. of cases, if people simply meant to evade it, but you do not want that law if people realised their responsibilities themselves, and if they realised that it is, first of all, good business, and secondly, a patriotic duty, to burn such straw, and if people realised it so clearly and so realistically that they should report their neighbours when they found they were not doing it. The Farmers' Union can do ten times as much as I can in the way of precautions by co-operating. We have also sent out a circular to the Civic Guard describing the symptoms of foot-and-mouth disease, and we have published in all the papers the fact that if cattle are slaughtered in Ireland because of foot-and-mouth disease we pay for them. We think it likely that the farmer will be more likely to report a case if he is getting paid than if he believes he will be at a loss over it.

On a point of information, I think you are quite correct.

Mr. HOGAN

That is a fact which I want to have known, that if cattle become infected in Ireland and are slaughtered the State pays and the owner will not be at any loss. It is almost a miracle that we have not had foot-and-mouth disease, but it would not really be a terrible misfortune if a case broke out in Ireland, provided it was reported immediately. The real danger is that if a case occurs the farmer, on finding his beast suffering from the disease, would put it into a house and start curing it. It can be cured, and cured easily. In such a case the disease spreads and spreads, but if we could get after that case immediately, the ports would be only closed for three days. If the beast is kept, and if the disease spreads, they may be closed for three, four or five months. There is a real precaution. The real and the most effective precaution you can take is by every means in your power to get it into the heads of the farmers that if a single case of foot and mouth disease breaks out they should report it immediately. That is where the Farmers' Union comes in, and I ask them, as far as they can do it, to see that that is done, because, after all, one outbreak is of no importance. The English do not get desperately frightened when one outbreak occurs. In such a case we would isolate the particular area concerned. The ports would be closed, and after establishing the fact that we had the area isolated the ports would be opened for the rest of the country, and the farmer whose beast is slaughtered would be paid. The reason that there are outbreaks in England, and that there have been outbreaks in Ireland, is because people will not report it when they find their cattle infected.

I agree that the dead meat trade is a precaution. I do not pretend to be omniscient, strange to say. I agree, in the first place, that the question of a dead meat trade in Ireland has been investigated for at least ten or fifteen years, and people have been talking about it through all that period and agreeing that it is a business proposition which would pay from every point of view. We are still talking about it. I realise that from the point of view of increasing production, of starting subsidiary industries, of giving a better price to the farmer for his cattle, as a protection against the closing of the ports as a result of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, it would be a very good thing. It was that from every one of these points of view, and it would be a good thing to have three or four prosperous dead meat businesses in Ireland. Why have we not got them? Deputy Doyle tells me not to let this opportunity pass. What do you want me to do? We have an Agricultural Commission, of which Deputy Doyle is a member. What does he suggest that the Government should do—to take a specific case —in connection with the Drogheda Dead Meat Factory?

We will tell you when we get you over there.

Mr. HOGAN

You told me in your speech.

Well, therefore, do not ask me again.

Mr. HOGAN

He stated that we should open it. Does he mean the Government?

Mr. HOGAN

I am sure that Deputy Johnson was delighted to hear Deputy Doyle talking like that. But should the Government actually nationalise industry? That is what we are asked to do, to put our money into this factory, which would take, I suppose, £300,000 or £400,000, appoint a manager, go to the Minister for Finance for the money and have Civil Servants running it. Socialism—that is what it is.

Dead meat and fisheries will get on nicely.

Mr. HOGAN

There is no use in the Farmers' Party, and people interested in the dead meat trade, stopping at a certain point. We can all agree it would be good business to open the Drogheda Dead Meat Factory, but we all stop at the point where it becomes necessary to do something. What do you want me to do? I am anxious to see it opened. Is it seriously suggested that the Government should put money into it? If it is good from the farmers' and business point of view to have a dead meat trade in Ireland why do not the farmers wake up and put their money into it? Deputy Johnson might be the President in a few years, and he might meet you, and might be willing to take it over. He is willing to take over the railways and fisheries, and he will meet you, I am sure, on the dead meat trade, unless he changes his mind by then. But is that the policy, and is it not a perfectly hopeless position for the farmers, and there is money amongst the farmers still.

No, you have got it all.

Mr. HOGAN

There is enough money to start, and why does not the Farmers' Union, which controls a good deal of money and has good business men, form a Co-operative Society and take over this dead meat factory? I put it to them as responsible business men, do they really expect the Government to take it over and run it as a Government concern?

Mr. DOYLE

We do not want you to run it but to take it over and hand it to us.

Mr. HOGAN

This is really a serious matter. Short of asking the Minister for Finance for £300,000 or £400,000, and asking him to become the owner of that factory, and putting in Civil Servants—because that is what they would be—to run it, we will help and co-operate in any possible way you can suggest in opening that factory.

Does the Minister know anything about the Trade Facilities Act?

Mr. HOGAN

A little. I do not quite see what the Deputy is at in connection with this matter. I am anxious to see that factory opened, and to see a dead meat trade in Ireland, but we cannot do anything except the initiative comes from the farmers themselves. Let them wake up and we will do anything to help them anyway they can point out short of nationalisation.

This concludes the debate. The point was raised for the Minister's reply. I will allow Deputies to ask questions, without explanation of the questions.

We had a very useful officer, whom you may remember in recent years, a liaison officer. Would it be possible to appoint some one to act as a liaison officer to meet the Inspectors at the landing places in England and Scotland? If such officers could be appointed the Irish cattle could be inspected as they land. If they are found free from disease there then there should be no further stoppage.

I would like to ask the Minister if there is not some other method by which they could aid the dead meat trade besides nationalisation, or handing over control of the dead meat factories to Civil Servants? Has not the Minister heard of what the English Government has done for the beet root industry in England? Are there not certain grants and loans made by the Government, a partial subscription of the shares for a number of years, and could not such a thing be done in this country with regard to the dead meat trade? Could our Government not make an advance which would not give Government control over the factories, and which could be repaid as the factories produced and became successful? The blame should not be put on the farmers in this matter.

Mr. EGAN

Would the Minister order the Civic Guard to take precautions to see that the straw packing that comes down the country with goods—and a good deal comes with bottles and such things—would be destroyed?

Mr. HOGAN

I certainly will do that. I am almost certain a direction to that effect has been given to them already. Personally, I am absolutely against appointing a liaison officer, in other words a veterinary inspector, in England. At last we have got a proposition from the farmers. Deputy Heffernan has put it up on the spot, and does he seriously expect an answer now?

Not now, but some time.

Mr. HOGAN

Supposing I said "yes" or "no," and he can have either answer, would he give the matter five minutes' consideration when he goes out, or give it something like the consideration a scheme of that sort deserves, and put a proposition so that the next time we will not have the same question and the same answer?

The Dáil adjourned at 1.20 p.m. until 3 o'clock Tuesday, 11th December.