asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the approximate number of Northern Ireland farmers and the value of monetary compensation amounts payments owed them in connection with cattle purchases in the Irish Republic; for how long these payments have been outstanding; what representations have been made to the Irish authorities; with what result; and if he will make a statement.
[pursuant to his reply, 3 April 1987, c. 647]: Information from the authorities in the Republic of Ireland is that at the end of February around £1 million was outstanding in relation to MCA payments on cattle imported from the Republic of Ireland. It is understood that almost 200 Northern Ireland importers are affected. A number of these payments have been outstanding for six months. Meetings have been held between United Kingdom officials and those of the Irish Department of Agriculture as a result of which urgent action is being taken by the latter to clear the outstanding payments.It is hoped that claimants will be paid more promptly in future.