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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 9 Dec 1948

Vol. 113 No. 9

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Grading of Cattle for Export.

asked the Minister for Agriculture whether he is aware that under the 1948 Trade Agreement with Great Britain cattle are graded into two classes by the British Food Ministry, namely Class A and Class B; that such a large number of cattle have been graded Class B that the cattle dealers are refusing to risk the cost of shipping them in view of the inferior price paid; that but for the kosher meat trade the majority of these cattle, which are the type prevalent in Kerry, would be unsaleable; and if, in view of these facts, he will reopen discussion on this aspect of the agreement with the British Government with a view to having the difference between these two classes of cattle restored to the basis under which it operated from 1938.

Under the 1948 Trade Agreement, fat steers and heifers—which form the bulk of our fat cattle exports—are graded by the Ministry of Food into three classes, namely S (Special), A and B. Cow heifers, cows and bulls are graded into two classes—A and B.

The latest returns show that less than 5 per cent. of all fat cattle exported to Great Britain under the new price arrangement have been graded B.

The prices payable for each grade were calculated on the basis of equivalence with the prices paid for Irish stores finished in Great Britain. This involved, besides the introduction of a new Grade—S, an increase in the price for A Grade, and the difference between Grade A and Grade B prices was consequently increased.

I am not disposed to take any measures which would encourage the export, for immediate slaughter, of animals in poor condition.

Has the Minister received any representations in regard to delay in payment for cattle condemned under the scheme—cattle which did not pass the veterinary authorities in Great Britain? Heretofore they were paid for by the Ministry of Food; now they are paid for by an insurance company and there is a long delay.

That is a separate question.

That is a separate question, but I might, for the Deputy's information, tell him that the insurance fund is administered by the shippers themselves, and, if they are not paying themselves promptly, on their own heads be it. If, however, the Deputy cares to put down a further question, I will have the matter looked into and give him any information I have.

Is the Minister aware that store cattle left unsold on the English markets and subsequently sent to the Ministry of Food are not being paid for at the rate agreed to in the agreement?

Nobody ought to bring store cattle over to England and send them in for immediate slaughter, because they get a most unsatisfactory price if they do. Nobody who is not daft would do it.