§ Mr. BYRNE
asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) if he is aware that mulch cows continue to be exported from Ireland; if he will state the number which was exported since 1st January, 1918; if he will state the number of calves shipped from Ireland for the same period and also the number of sheep; if he is aware that in many parts of Ireland the people cannot obtain sufficient milk for their children; and that 1,500 milch cows were exported in the month of January, whilst the shortage of milk was increasing; and what steps he intends to take to prohibit exports of food required by the Irish people for home use?
§ Mr. DUKE
The Department of Agriculture made an Order, which came into force on the 1st December, prohibiting the export of milch cows except under licence. Since the Order came into operation the number exported has greatly diminished. Licences are given only to regular shippers to the extent of one-fourth of the average shipments during the past year. In January 2,070 milk-yielding cows were allowed to be shipped, and 2,103 calves and 28,581 sheep were exported. Few, if any, of the calves were sucking calves or heifers. In some localities there is no doubt still a shortage of milk, notwithstanding the restricted export of milch cows; but it is necessary to bear in mind the desirability of maintaining the cross-Channel competition in prices as an incentive to production. The elimination of this competition would certainly react unfavourably on both the cattle breeding and the milk supply in Ireland. There is no immediate intention of withdrawing the existing Orders restricting export of livestock. The question of prohibition of exports of food will, I believe, continue to be dealt with by the Food Controller, who is advised in matters relating to Ireland by an Irish Food Control Committee.