HC Deb 01 August 1918 vol 109 cc589-90

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that a number of small retail licensed traders in Edgeworthstown, Granard, and Ballymahon, in county Longford, have not gat their supplies of porter for months past, and that the middlemen who have these stocks in hand sell the porter at double the brewery prices in Dublin, leaving these people without any; and will steps be taken to suspend the collection of the Licence Duty in such cases, the retailers having nothing to sell?

21. Mr. DUFFY

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware of the general feeling of alarm entertained by small licensed traders in Ireland in respect to the distribution of stout, porter, and beer by the wholesale purchasing agents, whether he is aware that a number of the small traders are threatened with ruin; and whether he will bring the matter to the notice of the Food Controller, with a view of arranging for a just and equitable system of distribution?

The MINISTER of FOOD (Mr. Clynes)

The sale by retail of beer in Ireland in the vast majority of eases is covered by a publican's licence which authorises the sale of wine and spirits as well as beer. In such cases, there being no separate licence for the sale of beer, provision cannot be made for an allowance in respect of periods when stocks of beer are not available. The retail off-beer licences are for the most part held by wholesale dealers in beer, who apparently have made no complaint of an undue shortage in supplies. I am considering a scheme put forward by the Irish Food Control Committee in order to improve the position of these small licensed traders, and I shall be happy to discuss it with any hon. Members who are interested in the subject.


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that over a month ago, owing to gross mismanagement, this matter was brought to the notice of the Food Controller in Dublin by myself, that action was promised, and no action has since been taken?


I have no other information on that point, but the Irish Food Control Committee has now submitted a scheme, which is under consideration.


How soon will that be given effect to?


I am prepared to discuss the matter with certain hon. Members from Ireland.


If more Irishmen joined the Army, would there not be a great deal more porter for those who are left behind in Ireland?