asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries the amount of maize imported for the year ended 31st March, 1969; and why such imports were necessary.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Maize Imports.
In the year ended 31st March, 1969, 131,538 tons of maize were imported. Maize imports are necessary to supplement home grown supplies of feeding grains. Maize is regarded as an essential ingredient in certain types of high energy rations.
Would the Minister inform me did he and his Department believe this was essential because the Minister and his Party claimed that not alone could we grow all our own grain but we could also grow all our own wheat to produce and eat an all-Irish loaf? Would the Minister not agree that, had he given a better price for barley over the past few years, there would have been no necessity to spend this money importing maize from abroad?
I am delighted to find the Deputy utterly converted because, had we followed his Party's policy, we would not have had any grain at all; we would have been importing the lot.
Is the Minister aware that Deputy Dillon fixed the price of barley at 48s a barrel in 1948 and is the Minister further aware that tillage decreased by one half from 1958 when Fianna Fáil came into office—the dead hand of Fianna Fáil —and 1965? Can the Minister deny that?
Tell us about 1968.
Can the Minister deny that tillage decreased by one half in that period? Deputy Dillon did more for barley in 1948 than the Minister was doing two years ago.
Was it more profitable then than it is now?
Certainly it was.
Why was more not grown?
There was more grown.
There certainly was not.
Order. Deputy L'Estrange must restrain himself.