Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Egg Prices on British Markets.

asked the Minister for Agriculture whether there is any improvement in the position as regards the difference in price between Free State eggs and eggs from Northern Ireland on British markets since his statement on this subject on 15th May, 1929.

No improvement has yet taken place in the position referred to—in fact, owing to the seasonal scarcity in British eggs the margin of price between stamped and unstamped eggs in British markets has tended to increase. For some time to come Free State exporters must expect to realise for their eggs lower prices than those obtainable for British (including Northern Ireland) eggs. The demand for the latter is, no doubt, partly sentimental, but is largely due to the belief that unstamped eggs are necessarily fresher than stamped eggs. Many complaints have, however, been made in the Press and other quarters in Great Britain in connection with the higher price demanded for unstamped eggs, and indications are not lacking to show that consumers will not continue to pay for unstamped eggs prices out of all proportion to their value, as compared with stamped eggs from the Free State.

Under the circumstances, as intimated in my previous reply, it is more than ever imperative for Free State exporters to ensure that their eggs will reach the British market in the freshest possible condition, and that the requirements of the Agricultural Produce (Eggs) Act, and the Regulations made under it, are strictly observed.

Could the Minister not get the stamp taken off our eggs on account of the proximity of this country to the market?

Mr. Hogan

It is not a matter for me; it is a matter for another independent State.

Has the Minister seen the allegation that Saorstát eggs are held up in cold storage at the other side, and has he considered the suggestion that the month of the stamping should be added to our stamp in order to prevent this?

Mr. Hogan

That suggestion is being considered. I do not want to indicate to the Deputy that the suggestion is being carried out because I do not know at the moment whether we will or will not finally decide to make some alteration in our regulations in that respect; but it is being considered at the moment.