Mr. John D. Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many applications were submitted in response to the invitation to acquire the artificial insemination service; whether the successful applicant submitted the higher offer; what other factors and criteria were considerations; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Viggers
[holding answer 9 May 1988]: The Department of Agriculture sought applications from organisations which wished to be considered for the grant of the licence to provide an AI service for cattle producers in Northern Ireland and no acquisition as such was involved. This was in accordance with a decision that the Department should disengage from provision of the AI service at 30 September 1988. Organisations with interest and potential capability were invited by public advertisement to apply for the licence. Acquisition of the Department's assets was not a requirement for grant of the licence.
Four applications were received. In assessing the applications, the main factors and criteria were commitment to the cattle production sector, financial resources, operational proposals, managerial resources, breeding policy and semen procurement provisions. The application by AI Services (NI) Society Ltd. was deemed the most suitable.