Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 11 Feb 1954

Vol. 144 No. 2

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Abolition of Eggsports, Limited.

asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will state (1) the reason for terminating the activities of Eggsports, Limited; (2) whether the British Government Departments concerned or/and any recognised association of British importers were consulted before the decision was taken by his Department; (3) whether the directors of Eggsports, Limited, agreed with the decision, and (4) whether he has any alternative scheme for the central purchase and marketing of eggs, poultry and other agricultural produce.

(1) The decision to terminate the activities of Eggsports followed a demand from poultry-keepers, county committees of agriculture and traders engaged in the egg and poultry business to wind up the company, and to return the trade to private hands. I would also refer the Deputy to Volume 142, No. 1, of the Dáil Debates of 20th October, 1953, page 93, of the debate on the Estimates for my Department.

(2) The British Government Department concerned were informed of the Government's decision. The British poultry salesmen who were handling poultry on behalf of Eggsports on a commission basis were also informed by the company before exports of poultry were freed.

(3) The Board of Eggsports, Limited, were in favour of the decision to wind up the company.

(4) The question of a scheme for the central purchasing and marketing of eggs, poultry and other agricultural produce is entirely a matter now for either the exporters of such commodities or the producers. I am in favour of the producers organising themselves into co-operative societies for the purpose of marketing eggs and poultry, and I am prepared to afford them any possible assistance, should they wish to set up such an organisation. The Irish Agricultural Organisation Society, one of whose main objects is the organisation of co-operative societies such as I have in mind, would no doubt be also very glad to give prospective societies the benefit of their assistance and advice.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary say whether the Minister will make an official statement as to what particular type of assistance he would propose to offer producers setting up co-operative societies?

I will transmit the Deputy's request to the Minister.

asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will state (1) the reason for the big reduction in prices paid to egg and poultry producers since the abolition of Eggsports Limited; (2) the average price paid to egg producers for January, 1954, and (3) the prices paid for the same month in each of the years 1950 to 1953, inclusive.

(1) As far as eggs are concerned, Eggsports Limited, in liquidation, were still dealing with the export of eggs up to the 31st December, 1953, and the export prices up to that date were those authorised by me. In December, owing to the glut of eggs on the British market, and increased production in this country, I was forced to reduce the price to 2/4 per dozen from 3/4 per dozen. Since the 1st January, the export of eggs reverted to private hands, but there has, in fact, been only a negligible export of eggs since that date, and the price was, therefore, determined by supply and demand on the home market. With regard to poultry, that trade reverted to private hands on the 1st October, 1953, and the prices obtained by exporters on the British market and paid to producers here showed an appreciable improvement over those which, up to that date, were being obtained by Eggsports Limited.

(2) As I have stated, the trade in eggs has been completely free from 1st January and, therefore, I am not in a position to state the average price received by egg producers in the month of January.

(3) The average prices paid to producers for the month of January, 1950 to 1953, based upon the authorised export prices, were as follows:—

January, 1950


,, 1951


,, 1952


,, 1953


asked the Minister for Agriculture if he is aware that about 70 workers lost their employment as a result of his decision to abolish Eggsports, Limited, and that many of those concerned received only one day's notice terminating their service of ten to 12 years; and, if so, if he will now state whether he proposes to pay compensation to all those who lost their employment as a direct result of the action taken by his Department.

I am aware that the services of the employees of Eggsports, Limited, have been terminated on the winding up of the company. The decision to wind up this company was discussed with the directors of Eggsports, Limited, on 21st August, 1953, and the staff of the company were informed immediately after that meeting that it would be necessary for them to begin to seek other employment. When the liquidator took over on the 7th October, in accordance with the rules of liquidation, he informed the staff that their employment would be continued on a day to day basis. In fact, however, at least half the staff immediately took employment with the new export organisation which had been formed and others who had not obtained alternative employment continued to be employed by the liquidator up to the end of December. Under the terms of their contract of employment, the former employees of Eggsports, Limited, have no claim to compensation, but I am at present considering the possibility of making an ex gratia payment to those who have been disemployed.