asked the Minister for Agriculture whether he has satisfied himself that the number and capacity of licensed canning and dressed meat factories in the country are sufficient for (a) present available live stock and (b) increased population of cattle and pigs in the foreseeable future and, in addition, whether he will ensure that the policy of his Department in protecting existing firmswill not be detrimental to the producers.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Canned and Dressed Meat Trade.
Taken as a whole, the slaughtering capacity of the premises already engaged in the export trade in dressed meat and canned meats is sufficient to meet all potential requirements. Additional refrigeration facilities would probably be necessary in the event of a further large expansion of dressed meat exports.
The Deputy is incorrect in suggesting that existing meat export firms are protected, either from competition from further entrants into the trade who provide suitable premises or from exporters of live stock. No such protection, capable of being detrimental to the interests of producers, exists.
Would not a clear statement to that effect clear the air somewhat? When negotiations were in progress recently for the establishment of another new industry to deal with this particular matter, we were not told that there were sufficient factories in existence.
I had already made statements on two occasions in that connection. I made one statement on 16th July, 1952, speaking here and one on the 23rd April, 1952, speaking at the Cattle Salesmasters' Association Dinner at the Hibernian Hotel. It has appeared twice publicly that I had stated we had sufficient slaughtering premises in the country.
Arising further out of that reply, the Minister's Department on the other hand afforded facilities to those people who were trying to establish these industries. Would it not have been better if these people had been spared the considerable expense in which they were involved before they were led up the garden path?
Nobody led anybody up the garden path.
Is the Minister satisfied there will be sufficient live stock coming on in the immediately following years?
In spite of the decrease?
It is a good thing we have that on record from the Minister.