Dáil Éireann - Volume 387 - 01 March, 1989

Written Answers. - Conspiracy to Destroy Flour Industry.

34. Mr. Gibbons asked Minister for Agriculture and Food whether there is evidence of a conspiracy between the United Kingdom flour mills and some prominent supermarkets and associated bakeries to destroy the whole wheat, grain and flour mill industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

35. Mr. Gibbons asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food whether the cheap bread being sold in Dublin is being manufactured substantially from flour imported from the United Kingdom which is being dumped on the Irish market at £30 a tonne below the Irish flour price; whether the flour imported from the United Kingdom is being sold cheaper in Ireland than in the United Kingdom; and the reason the bread being [1982] sold in a supermarket (details supplied) is more expensive in Newry than in Dublin.

Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. O'Kennedy): I propose to take Questions Nos. 34 and 35 together.

I am not aware of any conspiracy of the nature suggested by the Deputy. Some 26 per cent of the total annual flour requirement of this country is imported and there has been no significant increase in flour imports over the last few years.

Manufacturers are under no obligation to report the origin of flour that they use for particular production lines; that information is, therefore, not available to me.

Despite the Common Agricultural Policy, there will always exist some variation in the market prices of commodities such as flour as between one member state and another. The relative price of bread between Dublin and Newry is, of course, determined by local market situations.