§ MR. BOLAND (Kerry, S.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the fees collected for branding herrings in Scotland during the year 1905 amounted to £8,070, and that, after allowing for the cost of collection, there was a surplus of £2,627; whether he is aware that during the past twenty-four years the total proceeds of branding fees in Scotland amounted to £176,824, and that, after allowing for the cost of collection, the surplus amounted to £48,588; and whether, in view of the fact that the use of the brand has been of the greatest value for the marketing of Scotch herrings, and that through its institution a sum of nearly £50,000 has been rendered available for the improvement of the fishing industry in Scotland, he will consider the advisability of instituting a brand for Irish cured mackerel and herrings, and of utilising the Irish national trade mark for the purpose.
The figures quoted by the hon. Member are for the year 1904, and appear to be correct. The question of establishing a brand for Irish fish has been carefully considered. Some years ago the chief mackerel curers informed the Inspectors of Fisheries that they would not adopt a Government brand. Since then a very important herring-curing trade has been established in Ireland, and I am informed, though I can hardly credit it, that Irish cured herrings fetch more than double the price of the best Scotch herrings in continental markets. Moveover, I understand that the best Scotch herrings are not branded at all. If a Government brand for Irish fish were to be paid for out of branding fees, the cost to the curers per barrel would be much greater than in Scotland, both because curing is carried on at a greater number of centres, and because herring curing and mackerel curing take place at the same season in different parts of Ireland. As at present advised, I do not think a brand for Ireland is practicable.