§ Mr. O'SULLIVAN
asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) if, as a result of an increase in the cost of the necessary ingredients, spraying in Ireland had to be partly abandoned last year; and, in view of the importance of securing the largest potato crop possible this year, if he will take steps so that agriculturists can secure these commodities at the old rate or at such an increase as would bring them within the reach of the farming community anxious to continue this beneficial treatment of their crops?
§ Mr. T. W. RUSSELL
The Department have no reason to think that the spraying of the potato crop was neglected last year. In the West of Ireland, where spraying is of vital importance, it was well carried out. Since February last the Department have been in communication with the Board of Trade and later with the Ministry of Munitions with a view to ensuring that adequate supplies of spraying materials will be available this season. The Department, by notices in the Press, by circulars to thousands of merchants who sell spraying materials, and by means of their agricultural staff, have been urging merchants and farmers to get their supplies early so that the materials may be available when required. The Department are not in a2578W position to take action to regulate the prices at which spraying materials are sold.