Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Intervention Beef.

21.

asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if there is a danger of intervention breaking down in the purchase of beef.

Every effort is being made to ensure that all suitable beef offered for intervention will continue to be accepted.

Is the Minister aware that there is a great feeling abroad that there is a danger, in fact the BBC last night announced that the British Minister for Agriculture——

The Deputy is giving information and he may not do that.

This is a very serious problem.

The Deputy may not give information to the House and to the Minister. The Deputy is not asking a question.

Is the Minister aware that the British Minister said that intervention was gone and that he was glad it was no longer there for them? Does that mean that intervention is on the verge of breakdown here now?

As the Deputy knows, intervention was never operated in the UK and there is no change there. He says that there is a great feeling of unease abroad that we will not be able to keep intervention going but he will admit that this great concern and unease has existed since we started to operate intervention. However, miraculously somehow, and with a first class job of work on the part of the people in the Department, we have been able to take all the beef offered for intervention. This is a very big job and we are the only country in the EEC doing this. Germany are operating it to the extent of 25 per cent, Denmark to the extent of 20 per cent while the others are not operating it at all.

Does the Minister feel he will be able to operate during the peak periods of August, September, October and November?

All I can say is that the various measures like deboning and the jumelage arrangement should ease the situation and help get beef out of intervention and make the same stores available for refilling. We can never be certain, of course, but everything possible is being done to keep it going.

Can the Minister state what alternative might exist if intervention did break down?

That is a separate question.

It is related to the question and I should like to know if the Minister has any answer to it.

I would resist very strongly——

It is a separate question.