Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Farm Survey.

1.

asked the Taoiseach when and why the Farm Survey, conducted by the Central Statistics Office, was suspended; whether it is intended to resume the Survey, and, if so, when.

The collection of data under the National Farm Survey ceased in June, 1953, when the accounts relating to the year 1957-58 on all the farms were completed. The analysis of the records and the preparation of the final report is still proceeding.

As to the reason for the suspension of the Survey, I would refer the Deputy to my reply to a similar question by Deputy Denis Larkin on 10th June, 1958, where this was fully set out. The Inquiry, designed to secure the production of farm management accounts for a selected group of farms, referred to in that reply, is now under way.

While I pointed our, in answer to Deputy Larkin's question, that "it is hoped, after an interval, to resume the National Farm Survey on a representative sample of farms, in order to assess the changes in the agricultural economy over a number of years," it is not possible at the moment to state exactly when it will be feasible to resume the Survey.

Am I not correct in believing that the value of a Survey of this kind depends on its maintenance over a term of years and, in view of that fact, does the Taoiseach not think it inexpedient to drop this Survey after it has been in progress for only two or three years?

As was pointed out in the previous reply, given to Deputy Larkin, the reason for suspension was that, as it was being carried out, it was not found suitable for assessing year to year changes in the income and output of farms. Consequently it was desirable to change over to a different system. An examination of what has been secured has already been undertaken. When the new Survey is started, it is hoped, of course, to continue it from year to year. The break is due to the first start not being quite right.

May I take it then from what the Taoiseach says that his technical advisers have taken the view that there was some error in the basis of the original Survey which really invalidates the results published heretofore and that we are starting now on a new Survey which we may expect to give more reliable results?

I would not say that anything was invalidated exactly, except that it was not suitable for the precise purpose, or for one particular purpose, that is, to estimate year to year changes in income and output.

It is proposed now to start on a new basis which it is intended to carry on on a quasi-permanent basis?

That is my understanding, but if the Deputy wants to get more definite information than I have given him, he had better put down another question.