Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 16 Nov 1961

Vol. 192 No. 3

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Butter Exports: Quota System, Negotiations with Britain, Surplus Stocks.


andMr. McQuillan asked the Minister for Agriculture whether a quota system is to be established to restrict supplies of butter entering Great Britain from the State; and, if so, if he will make a statement on the matter.


asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will make a statement on the position now reached in negotiations between his Department and the British Government on the export of Irish butter to the United Kingdom.


asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will outline any plans his Department have under consideration for the disposal of surplus stocks of butter which are at present building up in this country owing to record production and restriction of the British market.

With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 10, 11 and 12 together.

The British Government intimated recently that, with a view to relieving pressure on the British butter market and strengthening prices, Governments of countries currently supplying butter to that market were being asked to limit their shipments in the six months from 1st October, 1961, to 31st March, 1962, to certain specified quantities. They stated at the same time that they would be obliged to impose anti-dumping duties on butter from those countries which did not agree to limit supplies in the manner proposed. These duties would be imposed in pursuance of applications made last August by New Zealand and Denmark in which Ireland and other countries were named. Although we fully appreciate the need for, and are quite prepared to participate in, a reasonable and equitable arrangement designed to improve the market for butter in Britain, we were unable to agree to the particular proposal that was put to us. The matter is still under discussion between the two Governments.

The bulk of our surplus butter has traditionally been exported to Britain and the Six Countries, which are at present the only available markets of any importance.

Can the Minister give any indication as to the nature of the discussions taking place between his representatives and the British Government representatives? It seems that the Danish quota at the present time is much higher than the Irish quota and the percentage amount of butter we export to Britain is a negligible proportion of the consumption there. In view of the close relations existing between Britain and Ireland for some years, surely the Minister should endeavour to have the situation reviewed in so far as it adversely affects Ireland.

I said this matter was still under discussion and I do not think I should go further than the information I have conveyed to the Deputy in my reply.

Is there not a provision in the trade agreements governing trade relations between Great Britain and Ireland to the effect that Great Britain will not apply restrictive quotas, as opposed to total prohibition, to any agricultural product exported from this country to Great Britain?

I assure the Deputy that every aspect of our rights under all the trade agreements that would cover this situation is being carefully examined and made use of to the fullest extent.

The discussions are still proceeding?

That is what I have said in my reply.