Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Greyhound Exports.

25.

asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries what functions, if any, Bord na gCon have in the purchase of greyhounds for export.

Under section 41 of the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958, the board are empowered to co-operate with and assist any person in connection with activities for the promotion and development of the export trade in greyhounds.

Could the Minister say by whom and by what method greyhounds are purchased on behalf of Board na gCon?

This appears to me to be a separate question.

The Minister has stated that their aim is to assist in the export of greyhounds. Is the Minister aware that, instead of assisting, they are killing the trade because of corruption and malpractice?

That is a separate question.

The Minister has stated they are assisting in the export of greyhounds. I put it to him they are killing the trade because of corruption and malpractice on the part of at least one southern buyer——

The Deputy should not make charges against individuals who are not in the House.

This is happening and it is time it was stopped.

Agents are appointed by the board and the board have particular regard to experience and knowledge. Each appointee was an established agent prior to his appointment. With regard to what Deputy L'Estrange has said, if there are any practices of which he disapproves I shall be very glad if he will bring them to my attention so that I may have them investigated.

Is the Minister aware that the experience and knowledge they have is experience and knowledge of fiddling? They are ruining the trade. That is quite true.

Is the Minister aware that those who buy greyhounds on behalf of Bord na gCon do not go to the public greyhound sales and compete publicly there? Why do they not buy the dogs openly at these sales? They go to the sales but they do private deals and they do not pay auctioneer's fees. This is objectionable and strong representations have been made to me about this practice. I would not make these allegations if I did not have grounds for them.

This appears to me to be a matter for Bord na gCon. However, it is a matter of some importance and, as I said to Deputy L'Estrange, and I repeat it now to Deputy O'Donnell, I will be very glad if the Deputies will assist me in ascertaining whether there are any practices in relation to the sale of greyhounds which ought to be improved. If I get this information I will see what can be done.

And will the Minister put the gun to their heads and see that these practices cease?

I am quite serious about what I have just said.

If he has any substantial charges to make in this regard then, if he lets me know them, I shall have them investigated.

26.

asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries the number and value of greyhounds exported from this country in each of the past five years.

As the reply is in tabular form, I propose with your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, to circulate it with the Official Report.

Following is the table:

Year

Number of greyhounds exported

Value £

1965

7,497

1,045,216

1966

7,234

1,099,816

1967

7,252

1,179,473

1968

7,298

1,145,646

1969

6,570

1,010,738