Dáil Éireann - Volume 474 - 29 January, 1997
Written Answers. - Butter Voucher Scheme.
Mr. J. Walsh Mr. J. Walsh
164. Mr. J. Walsh asked the Minister for Social Welfare whether he is responsible for the implementation of the butter voucher scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2625/97]
Minister for Social Welfare (Proinsias De Rossa) Proinsias De Rossa
Minister for Social Welfare (Proinsias De Rossa): The butter voucher scheme is provided for in regulations of the European Union which provide for the sale of butter at a subsidised rate to social assistance beneficiaries.
My Department is responsible for certain aspects of the implementation of the scheme, mainly the printing of the vouchers and their distribution to eligible beneficiaries. The cost of the subsidy is borne by the European Commission. the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry is responsible for the negotiation of the scheme at EU level and for the redemption of the vouchers and the recoupement of the sums involved from the European Union.
Ireland is the only member state still operating the scheme which covers some 400,000 beneficiaries. The scheme was due to expire at the end of 1996. In December, the Agriculture Ministers of the Council of the European Union agreed to the extension of the scheme for another two years with a reduced budget. The reduction was proposed by the Commission due to the declining pattern in Irish butter consumption over the past number of years.
Dáil Éireann 474 Written Answers. Butter Voucher Scheme.