Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Farm Schemes.

4.

asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he intends to introduce any new schemes to help small and medium sized farmers in their present difficulties.

The aids now available to all farmers are generous and I do not therefore contemplate the introduction of new schemes.

Is the Minister aware that the farmers are facing financial ruin at present?

It is an absolute fact. I would also like to ask him if he is aware that at present there is a very poor market for pigs and in some cases no market at all, and that the same thing applies to calves and small cattle? The farmers are facing financial ruin——

Could the Deputy avoid making a statement?

And we all know of farmers being forced to sell out——

Please, Deputy Fahey.

I am not trying to make this a political issue, but I would ask the Minister in all sincerity to accept that there is a crisis and to do something about it. On behalf of the farming community I make a plea to him to face up to his responsibilities.

(Interruptions.)

The Opposition are trying to create a crisis where there is none. There is no denying the fact that farmers' incomes have increased substantially. The year 1973 was the best year on record for pig producers.

And Deputy Clinton is still Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. He ought to be ashamed of himself.

Not in the least. I am proud of it.

The Minister referred to poorly fed stock. I have seen a lovely Friesian calf heifer, well fed, being sold at £15, that is £40 less——

The Deputy is making a statement instead of asking a question.

The average in Maynooth this week was £35.

(Interruptions.)

When we had a market for calves last year did not the Minister stop it?

The Minister certainly did. He put an £8 tariff on them.

Deputies will please resume their seats.