Written Answers. - Beef Premiums.

Donal Moynihan

Ceist:

112 Mr. Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the plans, if any, he has to extend the qualifying slaughter period for payment of the maximum £60 deseasonalisation slaughter premium on steers and all other later qualifying slaughtering periods in 1996. [8871/96]

An important outcome of the emergency Council of Ministers meeting in Luxembourg on 1-3 April, called to address the BSE crisis, was that other measures in addition to the intervention purchasing of beef would be considered should the market situation warrant it. In this context, the Council agreed at its meeting on 29-30 April on the urgency of short-term income support measures for producers. Furthermore, the Commission undertook to suggest concrete measures to the Council at its next meeting in May.

I raised the issue of compensation for beef producers at the Council and suggested that such compensation could best be provided by way of increases in the deseasonalisation and special beef premiums. I will be pursuing this matter further at the next meeting of the Council.