§ 71. Mr. GINNELL
asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) how much money the Department is prepared to spend, and how, towards making Ireland the chief centre for the production of bacterised peat; what facilities it offers for its use as a fertiliser on a large scale; what special facilities for its preparation and use will the Department afford to the members of the Midland Peat Industries Committee founded in Westmeath in recognition of their efforts for the utilisation of bogs; whether Westmeath will be made a centre for the preparation of this fertiliser; which of the different systems of bacterising the Department favours; and, if protected by patent, whether the Department will pay the royalty and have the manufacture superintended by its own scientists?
§ Mr. RUSSELL
The Department have arranged for a supply of bacterised peat, with which their experiments, commenced in 1915, will be continued on a larger scale in the current year. The amount of money to be expended on these experiments cannot be stated at present. Pending the result of these trials, it is not intended to set aside any funds towards making Ireland the chief centre for the production of bacterised peat, for affording facilities for its use as a fertiliser on a large scale, or for giving financial aid to the committee mentioned or any other body interested in its production. The Department are not prepared to recommend any particular system of bacterising peat or to pay any royalty to patentees for permission to manufacture this material or to superintend its preparation. It is believed that a supply of bacterised peat sufficient for experimental purposes will be available in the current year.