During the debate on the Agriculture (Amendment) Bill last night the Minister for Agriculture stated that the Beet Growers' Association had advised the farmers of County Galway not to take the lime available to them at the Tuam factory.
Personal Explanation by Deputy.
That is not true.
It is true.
I said "members of the Beet Growers' Association——"
On a point of order, in making a personal explanation is it permitted to found that personal explanation on an allegation which is in itself not true?
It is not.
Is it permissible then for the Deputy whom the person desiring to make the explanation purports to quote, to direct the attention of the Chair to the correct version of the statement complained of? If it is, I want to point out that what I did say, was that members of the Beet Growers' Association exhorted the people of Galway—
That is not what you said. We all heard you.
It is. I have the report here.
I do not want to enter into the discussion but in front of me is the report which states that people were encouraged by the Beet Growers' Association not to buy the lime.
By members of the Beet Growers' Association.
I have got the script from the report in the last quarter of an hour.
That is what the Minister stated and he links that statement with an allegation that I then took the lime for my own personal use. Inasmuch as I was chairman of the Beet Growers' Association for a period during those years, that statement by the Minister was intended as a charge that I abused my position as chairman of the association to the advantage of myself at the expense of the Galway farmers. Last night I demanded a withdrawal of this charge of corruption against me but the Minister evaded the issue by purporting to think that I was merely asking for a withdrawal of the statement that I bought the lime. I ask now that the Chair should request the Minister to withdraw that insinuation.
I claim your indulgence, Sir, and the privilege of the House, as a member of the Council of the Beet Growers' Association to draw attention to what I hold—I could hardly believe my ears when I heard the statement made by the Minister for Agriculture—was an unscrupulous, malicious statement. The very fact that he alleges it against members rather than against the collective body takes nothing away from what he said.
Deputy Corry was allowed to raise this matter as a point of personal explanation.
I demand its withdrawal because as a member of the Council of the Beet Growers' Association I hold it is untrue. The first person in this country who ever advocated the use of factory waste lime was the chairman of the Tuam Beet Factory, Mr. James Haverty, and it was disapproved of at the time.
The Deputy concerned——
Yes, but after all this is a very serious matter.
Quite. The Deputy concerned was allowed to speak——
The other members have mixed political affiliations and, in my opinion——
Deputy Corry has made his statement.
I take it that I am allowed to deal with that statement.
The Minister was asked to withdraw the charge he made.
I want to reiterate emphatically that members of the Beet Growers' Association agitated sucessfully to prevent Galway farmers from taking the lime from the Tuam factory which was offered to them for nothing—successfully persuaded them not to take the lime—and that the lime was then railed in railway wagons to Cork and there taken delivery of by Deputy Corry, who spread it on his own land. Every word of that is true and if Deputy Corry does not like it he can lump it.
It is a most deliberate falsehood and it comes very badly from the Minister for Agriculture, who stands for uprightness, candour and honesty.
It is perfectly true.
It goes to show what he is prepared to stoop to.
What about the corruption of the cattle buyers at the Dublin market?
Tell us about John Brown——
Only for the John Browns——
Get a sucking bottle.
I am afraid I shall have to ask Deputy Smith to withdraw if he interrupts again. There is undoubtedly a charge against Deputy Corry in the statement made by the Minister for Agriculture. As the Minister has not withdrawn, I am referring the matter to the Committee that is empowered to deal with it, the Committee of Procedure and Privileges.
Mr. Corry rose.
I will hear no more from Deputy Corry now. I am referring the matter to that Committee.