Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 19 May 1987

Vol. 372 No. 10

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dairy Processing Funding.


asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food (a) when the application to have Irish dairying processing facilities grant-aided under FEOGA was made; when the EC Commission made the decision and at whose request; and (b) if the £150 million indicated a maximum figure allowed for Ireland or if it is quantifiable by the application already submitted.

Investments in the dairy sector have not been eligible for grant-aid from FEOGA since 1983 because of the Commission's concern that such aid towards investments in processing facilities would stimulate an increase in milk production. However, following representations from Ireland, it was agreed, in the context of the price negotiations for 1986-87, that dairy projects would be eligible under the FEOGA grants scheme provided they did not relate to intervention products or did not lead to increased production capacity. The Commission decision was taken on 23 March 1987.

The level of investment envisaged for Ireland's dairy development programme is £143 million over a five-year period. This sum provides for existing applications as well as any further proposals that may be submitted during that period.

Can the Minister tell the House how many co-operatives in total have applied in respect of the programme which will cost £143 million over a five-year period? Will the Minister say in what areas these co-operatives will develop?

I do not have the precise information for the Deputy. Discussions are taking place at present between the IDA, the Department of Agriculture and Food and the co-ops, and as soon as I have the information I will make it available to the Deputy. The only information I have on the file is that the programme will cover investment extending to £143 million, that is the maximum FEOGA grants of 50 per cent in disadvantaged areas and 25 per cent elsewhere.

Will the Minister let the House know that information when he has the details. Will he confirm to the House that the work done by the previous Minister during last year's price negotiations in regard to these applications led to the approval on 23 March 1987.

That is a point of information rather than a question. The investments will include non-intervention type products, in particular casein, and consumer type products under this scheme and, therefore, we will be able to get away from commodity type of trading. These packages are particularly suited to Irish conditions and to the structure of the Irish dairy industry as it exists at present.

I would like the Minister——

I am calling Deputy McCoy. I want to move on to priority questions.

In view of what the Minister said and because there can now be no increase in milk production and because of the rules that have been introduced this year there can be no increase in intervention products, may I ask the Minister, in view of efficiencies required in the industry today, will these grants be applicable for re-equipment of existing processing facilities which do not contribute anything extra to intervention? Sometimes the IDA, who are the promoting agency in Ireland, will not support such types of approaches from manufacturing companies.

This additional aid will be earmarked for re-equipment and modernisation of plant for non-intervention type products.

I must now deal with questions nominated for priority.

On a point of order, I submitted a Private Notice Question — which I quite accept you were not able to allow — on the withdrawal of health services to people under 16 years without substitute services being available from one health board to another. I think I have to give notice to raise this matter on the Adjournment before a certain time.

I will communicate with Deputy Higgins in respect of that matter.

Will Question No. 21 in my name be allowed to stand?

The Deputy should notify the Questions Office in that regard.