§ Mr. McWalter
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions he has had with the Minister of Agriculture in the Republic of Ireland concerning the aid package introduced there for pig farmers in the border regions; what reasons the Irish Minister gave for its introduction; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Quin
[holding answer 21 February 2000]: The Government in the Republic of Ireland have announced an aid scheme to help their pig producers in the border region and have linked the proposed payments to a fire at the Ballymoney pig processing plant. The UK Government have already paid state aid totalling £700,000 248W to pig producers in Northern Ireland for the welfare problems resulting from this same fire. The Irish Government have submitted a formal state aid notification to the European Commission and await the Commission's response.