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Limerick, Wednesday – The County Limerick Agricultural Committee convened today under the chairmanship of Lord Emly, where they deliberated on the livestock scheme for the upcoming year. With a budget of £5,840 earmarked for financing the initiative, the Secretary, Mr I. Hartigan, presented the comprehensive plan to the members.

An intriguing proposal was put forth by Mr Johnson from the Department, suggesting that an additional sum be allocated, specifically for experiments and tests. The notion stirred a debate among the committee members, with Mr T. W. W. Bennett, J.P., expressing his scepticism. He found it peculiar that despite previous tests and experiments, the Department had refrained from allowing the publication of results. Mr Bennett emphasized the importance of transparency, asserting that the committee should share outcomes without withholding the names of seed contractors.

The Department, represented by Mr Johnson, held a different perspective, maintaining that the withholding of results was to prevent potential conflicts between committee members and the local populace. Johnson proposed the establishment of an independent commission, comprised of committee members, to oversee the disclosure of results. He argued that this approach would ensure impartiality and prevent any bias in the dissemination of information.

However, some committee members, notably Mr T. Curtin, P.P., echoed Mr Bennett’s sentiments, expressing concern about the usefulness of conducting experiments if the results were not shared with the farmers in the county. The lack of transparency, according to Curtin, undermined the purpose of investing in tests and experiments if the community remained uninformed.

The disagreement highlighted a broader tension between the committee and the Department regarding the accessibility of agricultural research findings. While the committee stressed the importance of open communication and knowledge sharing with the local farming community, the Department emphasized the need for a careful and controlled release of information.

Mr Johnson clarified that the proposed additional funding was not just for the experiments themselves but to facilitate the dissemination of results to the public. The committee eventually agreed to allocate the suggested amount for fieldwork tests and experiments, with the understanding that the results would be made public through the newly proposed independent commission.

The deliberations shed light on the complexities surrounding agricultural policies and information dissemination in Limerick. The debate will likely prompt further discussions on finding a balance between conducting meaningful experiments and ensuring the agricultural community is well-informed about the results.

Dublin Daily Express – Thursday 05 September 1912

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