Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 4 Dec 1975

Vol. 286 No. 6

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Meat Trade.


asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if the same codes of health and hygiene apply to abattoirs catering for the domestic meat trade as those in operation for the export trade; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he will state, having regard to the report of the Prices Commission on the meat trade and the recommendations made therein, the arrangements, if any, made towards the rationalisation of responsibility demanded in the report and the ending of divided responsibility between his Department and the Departments of Health and Local Government.

With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 and 5 together.

The domestic meat trade and the export meat trade operate under different systems of veterinary inspection arising from the requirements of different codes of legislation. I am aware of the shortcomings in the supervision of the supply of meat for the home market but these shortcomings have existed for many years past. Various recommendations on this matter have recently been the subject of a special study by my Department preparatory to taking part in a review of the whole problem in collaboration with the other Departments and interests concerned. Because of the complexity of the legislation, much of which dates back to the last century, it could be some time before the problem can be effectively resolved.

Did the Minister indicate that we cannot expect an upgrading of standards of slaughterhouses on the domestic meat market in the near future?

I am saying that the domestic meat market is not the responsibility of the Minister or the Department. It is the responsibility of the local authorities. They can upgrade standards any time they like.

Is the committee the Minister mentioned a joint committee of the three Departments?

Does the Minister not agree that it is important that the same standards should be applied to the domestic market and to the export market?

I say yes and no in answer to that because exporting is a specialised job. The trouble is if you facilitate export from local authority slaughterhouses you will have small people nipping in and out of the business and getting operatives for two or three months who will not know their job. We had this previously and it did not operate to the benefit of the country.

The criterion is an economic one rather than any other one.

Whilst it may be the function of the local authorities does the Minister not think it is the function of his Department to ensure that there is uniform high quality throughout the country? We should not leave it to one local authority or the other because in that way we will get different standards throughout the country.

There is legislation covering all this which would need a complete change. That is what I say is being studied.

Have the Department nothing to do with it at this stage?

I hope there is no evidence to show that the standard is poorer in Dublin than elsewhere?

I have not made such comparisons.


asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he will grant export licences to suitable local authority abattoirs as these are licensed throughout the EEC and so qualify for EEC grants.

It has been the long-established policy here not to register municipal abattoirs for export purposes. I do not propose to alter that policy as I believe that it is in the best interests of our export trade.