Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Livestock Freight Charges.

19.

asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he is aware of the concern caused by the decision of the B & I line to increase the freight charges in respect of cattle between Dublin and Birkenhead; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

I have nothing to add to the reply given to Questions Nos. 6 and 7 on today's Order Paper.

Will the Minister say whether representations to the Minister for Transport and Power to free the haulage of cattle within the country have been successful or when are we likely to know?

That is a separate question. It does not arise on Question No. 19.

May I ask the Minister whether in fact, in view of the statement of the Minister for Transport and Power that the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries is dealing with this matter, he has been in contact with the President of the Board of Trade in Britain in regard to the action of the nationalised railway industry of Great Britain arbitrarily withdrawing supplies of cattle wagons to Birkenhead and Fishguard?

I do not know about the British Board of Trade, and I did not catch the lead into the Deputy's supplementary question, but in so far as the people in Britain being apprised of this situation is concerned, as far as my counterpart is concerned and his Department, the Ministry of Agriculture, this situation has been raised and brought to their notice on more than one occasion recently. It was particularly emphasised because if we do not have proper shipping facilities, their need and demand for our store cattle cannot be satisfied. This we have brought to their notice on at least two occasions in the not too distant past.

Was there any positive reaction by the British Government to very reasonable representations to them?

The only thing I can say in respect of the reception of the representations is that they were well received, but it is rather difficult at this stage to know what will happen as a result of the representations. It would be my intention further to bring to the notice of my counterpart in Britain that he would keep a closer eye on this whole matter because they are as much interested in bringing in our store cattle as we are in sending them out.

Could the Minister indicate how recently he made the last representations?

On the last two occasions when I met these people.

I have not got the date.

Neither have I.

Has it been during the past fortnight?

The last couple of months would have been the last time I had an opportunity of raising this matter.

This does not arise on the question.

What has been the reply?

I have already answered that supplementary.

The Minister has not told us what was the reply of his opposite number in Great Britain.

Obviously the Deputy was not listening. I have answered the question put to me and the Deputy's supplementary has nothing to do with it.