HC Deb 02 March 1971 vol 812 cc1388-9
24. Mr. Farr

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the numbers of store cattle imported from Eire in each of the last three years; and how these numbers relate to those laid down in the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Agreement.

Mr. Prior

In 1970, 506,809 store cattle were imported from the Irish Republic into the United Kingdom, the corresponding figures for 1968 and 1969 being 589,244 and 537,361 respectively. Under the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement the Government of the Republic of Ireland undertook to use their best endeavours, consistent with the circumstances of the trade, to ensure that the export of stores to the United Kingdom should not fall below 638,000 head per year.

Mr. Farr

I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. Could he say whether he is satisfied with the working of this agreement and whether he is either preparing or prepared to renegotiate all or part of it?

Mr. Prior

The present Government since taking office have impressed on the Government of the Irish Republic the need to meet undertakings to the best of their ability. Different aspects of the agreement are of particular interest to each country. It is necessary to consider each aspect against the overall balance of the agreement. I would not want to carry the matter any further today.