Dáil Éireann - Volume 283 - 01 July, 1975

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Disadvantaged Areas Scheme.

25. Mr. Meaney asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he will consider including the electoral divisions of Gowlane and Kilcullen, County Cork, for benefits under the special scheme for disadvantaged areas.

Mr. Clinton: I have arranged for a further examination of part of west Cork, including the areas mentioned, in relation to the EEC disadvantaged areas directive.

26. Mr. Leonard asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he proposes to review his designation of only a small portion of County Monaghan under the disadvantaged areas scheme.

Mr. Clinton: I envisage a periodic review being carried out of all aspects of the operation of the EEC directive in those areas which are already designated as disadvantaged under its provisions. County Monaghan would come within the scope of any such review.

Mr. Leonard: Was the Minister's attention drawn to a recent publication by An Foras Talúntais in which there were charts showing the stocking rate per acre? One would have thought that the Department should have consulted An Foras Talúntais regarding the advantaged areas scheme and that their findings should have been of use.

Mr. Clinton: All the available material was taken into consideration in arriving at a decision on disadvantaged areas.

Mr. Leonard: Did the Minister see this publication?

Mr. Clinton: I cannot recall whether I did or did not.

Mr. Leonard: Would the Minister examine it now?

Mr. Clinton: Even if I examined it, I could not automatically say that [115] these areas qualify. The trouble in Monaghan mainly is that there is a lot of dairying and incomes are high. This in itself excludes those areas.

Mr. Gallagher: Would the Minister agree that in the final analysis it is the statute rate per acre that counts? Is that not the criteria for assessing the land and the income from the land?

Mr. Clinton: I do not object to the Deputy trying to qualify his area. I can see the advantages for him and the people there. This is a note:

Monaghan is a marginal county and, as a dairying area, farm incomes there are relatively good and the county would not be regarded as severely physically handicapped to the same degree as western Galway or Leitrim. The terrain varies from one part to another and the Drumlins are difficult but not too much so from the farming viewpoint.

It is a question mainly, I think, of comparative incomes.

Mr. Callanan: The 12 western counties are in as disadvantaged areas but they are not designated areas. Would the Minister give them special consideration?

Mr. Clinton: The degree of handicap is not sufficient to qualify. If it were the headage payments spread out over all would be so small as not to be worthwhile. What the Deputy is proposing are advantages and disadvantages. We want to spend the money in the poorest areas.

Mr. Callanan: We know the designated areas and we know areas that were left out. It is not for me to criticise, but whoever did the job did not do a good job. In the 12 western counties areas were left out which no one in his sane senses would leave out.

Mr. Clinton: I think these are the same areas designated by the previous Government for other purposes.

Mr. Brennan: For other purposes. totally unrelated.

Mr. Clinton: Very much related.

[116] Mr. Callanan: I was not here when the previous Government were in office but what that Government did or did not do is not now relevant. The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries did this within the last six months and consulted no one. I do not think that is fair.

An Ceann Comhairle: The remaining questions will appear on tomorrow's Order Paper.

Mr. Molloy: With your permission a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to raise the subject matter of Question No. 14 on 17th June.

An Ceann Comhairle: I will communicate with the Deputy.