Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Loss of Sheep and Cattle.

asked the Minister for Agriculture if he has ascertained the number of sheep and cattle lost in the recent snowstorms; and, if so, if he will give the figures for each county.

asked the Minister for Agriculture if he is aware of the disastrous losses of sheep and cattle caused by the snowstorms of a few weeks ago, particularly in the mountain areas of the West of Ireland, where, in many instances, whole flocks were lost, and that similar catastrophes have been recurring regularly every seven to ten years, with the result that the best efforts of the hill farmers to restock their farms are being frustrated; and, if so, if he will seek to have made available immediately, as a free grant or interest-free advance, part of the National Development Fund and/or establish a permanent fund for this particular purpose.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to reply to Questions Nos. 23 and 24 together.

I am not yet in possession of sufficient information to enable me to judge whether any special action is needed in the circumstances referred to by the Deputy.

I understand that serious losses have occurred in isolated areas as a result of the recent blizzard. If the Minister is satisfied that there are serious losses in isolated areas— and it is only in isolated areas that it appears to have struck heavily—will he deal with them individually?

Mr. Walsh

That is a different question. We have no information that there are any severe losses.

The Minister said his inquiries are not completed.

Mr. Walsh

I have not said anything about completing inquiries. We have no information.

Did the Minister make inquiries?

Mr. Walsh

Yes, through the usual channels, and we have no reports.

What was the result of these inquiries?

Mr. Walsh

We have not any report of severe losses from any county.

Does the Minister say that he has received no report of severe losses from Mayo or Galway.

Mr. Walsh

The Minister states that he has no information.

From either Mayo or Galway? I will supply the Minister with information. We will hear a little more about it.