Dáil Éireann - Volume 291 - 25 May, 1976

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Sheep Subsidy Certificate.

33. Mr. MacSharry asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries the method of certification that will be used this year for payment of the sheep subsidy.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Because of the recent amendment of the sheep dipping regulations providing for only one compulsory annual dipping to take place in the October to January period, flockowners will not be required to produce dipping certificates to qualify for subsidy payments in 1976. Such certificates will however be a condition of payment in 1977 and subsequent years.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Does the Parliamentary Secretary think it advisable from the animal health point of view to dip sheep in the months of November, December and January? Is he not aware of the danger of inducing pneumonia and other conditions in the animals?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: The alternative is to delay payments of the subsidy until the end of this year.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Will the Parliamentary Secretary say why it is proposed to depart from the ordinary procedures?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Because of the new regulations.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Will the Parliamentary Secretary say when the new regulations were made?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Is the Deputy agitating that we should defer payment of the sheep subsidy until the months of November and December or possibly early next year? If so, consideration could be given to that matter.

Mr. Colley: Why change the regulations? That was the question that was asked.

[35] Mr. M.P. Murphy: That question has been answered.

Mr. J. Gibbons: I asked the Parliamentary Secretary if he could tell the House why it was found desirable and necessary to change the regulations under which sheep were normally dipped during the summer?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: The research officers of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries felt this change was necessary and desirable. Their advice has been accepted by the Minister and I believe it has been welcomed by sheep owners generally.

Mr. Blaney: Will the Parliamentary Secretary endeavour, by the provision of grants and other means, to provide hot water so that the sheep will not be knocked by pneumonia as was suggested earlier?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: The Deputy will have some sheep to dip during the next few weeks in Donegal.

Mr. Blaney: It is goats we will be dipping.

Mr. C. Murphy: Has the Parliamentary Secretary given any thought to what might happen if we had a very bad winter in an area like Wicklow? We might have a lot of snow in that county and it would be impossible for breeders to bring down their sheep for dipping. Will the Minister make any form of recompense to breeders who might lose sheep as a result of pneumonia following a frosty night after dipping?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: We have covered all aspects of the position and our information is that the proper time for dipping sheep is from October to January. That is what we are going to do.

Mr. J. Lynch: That is what they do in Australia; the Parliamentary Secretary must have been reading the wrong book.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: That is our book now.

[36] Mr. Callanan: I do not think any sheep farmers would permit their sheep to be dipped between November and January; they should be dipped in October. Nobody winter-dips in my area.

Mr. Blaney: The installation of central heating in the dipping tanks is the only hope.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Deputy Callanan should advise sheepowners to dip their sheep in October.

Mr. Crinion: Has the Parliamentary Secretary taken into account pregnant sheep——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair is announcing that Question Time is over.

Mr. M.P. Murphy rose.

Mr. J. Gibbons: Would the Parliamentary Secretary accept that the regulation that has been brought in by the Department is a daft one; that it should be changed? Would he accept that it is completely impracticable and that the Department should revert to the normal and previous practice?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The time for Questions has passed. The Deputy should appreciate that.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: That is the Deputy's opinion. I do not know whether he refers to himself as being infallible or not but I do not.

Mr. J. Gibbons: I know a good deal about this matter and what is being suggested is daft.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Order of Business.

Mr. Briscoe: On a point of order, was Question No. 34 answered?

Mr. J. Lynch: The Chair did not call Question No. 34.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Question No. 34 will be in on the next day's Questions.

The remaining questions will appear on tomorrow's Order Paper.