Written Answers. - Milk Quota.

Paul Connaughton

Ceist:

73 Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the position in relation to the applications by the milk quota rights group for milk quota and compensation; if his Department is in a position to process individual applications for milk quota without the necessity of each individual farmer being forced to take his or her claim to court; the total number of farmers in this category who have made claims against his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15339/98]

The Deputy will be aware that legal proceedings, which were taken by a limited number of plaintiffs, are still the subject of litigation in the High Court following the Supreme Court ruling in their favour. The judgments of the Supreme Court did not deal with the entitlements of individual plaintiffs. The claims made raise complex issues still to be determined by the courts. While other persons have made approaches to my Department in relation to this matter, no special provision has been made for any arrangements in respect of any persons or group of persons who are not party to pending legal proceedings.

It is, of course, open to any milk producer to apply to the Milk Quota Appeals Tribunal for additional quota on the grounds of hardship.