asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if farmers to whom the farm modernisation scheme does not apply will qualify for grants in respect of the repair of buildings damaged in the storms of last winter.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Farm Building Repair Grants.
The farm modernisation scheme, under which applications for grant-aid in respect of the repair of buildings damaged by storms are dealt with, extends to all genuine farmers.
In cases where new silos are being put up and when you cannot deal with the applications and where applications are already in, will the Minister accept and pass the work?
There is nothing in the question that has any reference to the supplementary question being asked by the Deputy. The question relates to repair of storm damage.
The Minister will have it next week. He need not worry.
Could I ask the Minister if the information he has given the House is misleading because the grants which are available under the farm modernisation scheme are not being applied and small farmers who had current grants under the old scheme are being approached and told——
The Deputy is making a statement under the guise of a question.
I am asking the Minister, in view of my allegation that he is giving misleading information, if he is aware that small farmers are being told that they will not qualify even for grants under the old scheme.
I am not so aware and I would like to get their names if the Deputy has names but I know he has not.
Yes, I have.
Is the Minister aware that the reply to representations made by Deputies is that farmers will qualify for grants for the repair of buildings damaged by the storm under the farm modernisation scheme?
We know the farmers do not know where they stand as regards the farm modernisation scheme.
It is not for want of being told. I have told them on many occasions that if they apply to the Department their applications will be looked after.
The fact of the matter is that the farmers are not being told where they stand. They do not know whether they qualify or not under the farm modernisation scheme.
Of course they know they qualify.
Arising out of the reply——
Deputy, please. I have called Deputy Gibbons.
I am afraid that we have a Minister for Agriculture who does not know what is happening in Ireland.
We all know how well the Deputy was in touch when he was Parliamentary Secretary.
Deputy Fahey is embarking on statements rather than asking a question.
The Minister must be aware that one of his own inspectors said to me in recent times that he would determine my status under the new farm modernisation scheme and I would respectfully say to the Minister that an officer senior to him should have such a determination to make but no such determination has been made and therefore no grant can be paid.
Did the Deputy make application?
I did, yes.
And nobody has looked——
That is why the inspector came down to me.
And no grant has been offered?
I will look into the matter. How long ago is this?
Three to four months maybe.
I seriously doubt that Deputy Gibbons' application has been in as long as three or four months.
I would like to assure the Minister on this point since he has challenged the veracity of what I say, that the Minister's own inspector came into my own premises and made this statement.
We cannot have this disputation at Question Time. Deputy Allen, quickly. Otherwise I shall pass on to the next question.
I could not get in any quicker. I was not allowed to ask a question.
Minister, I am afraid you do not know what is going on.
I have a fair idea.
Is the Minister aware that all the applications that have been made to the county committees for the farm modernisation scheme——
No. I have said on several occasions that all they have to do is to apply.
Let me ask the question. Let me finish. I have not even asked the question. What is the situation in the case of persons who have made application to the county committees, who are not prepared to with draw them and who want to participate in the scheme? Can they go ahead?
If they send their applications direct to the Department.
They do not want to be considered as blacklegs.
Please, Deputy Allen.
They do not want to be considered as blacklegs by the advisers, the people with whom they have to work.
The Deputy is abusing his privilege.
If farmers want grants they should apply to the Department.
Why does the Minister not fix the strike?
Question No. 6.
Surely the Minister is not serious when he is asking the farmers to act as scabs and strike-breakers?
Question No. 6.