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Minister Smith Welcomes Dáil Approval for €50 Million Supplementary Estimate to Secure the Future of the Irish Pig Production and Processing Industry

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today welcomed the approval by the Dáil of a Supplementary Estimate for €50 million for his Department which the Minister described as "an essential element in securing the future of the Irish pig production and processing industry, worth €1.1 billion annually."

In a speech in the Dáil this afternoon, Minister Smith said that he intended to make available a facility of up to €180 million for the scheme and explained that the €50 million approved today would be as much as he could reasonably expect to discharge before the end of the year. The Minister said that he expects to be "in a position to make interim payments to those directly affected and who can demonstrate verifiably the extent of their need during this early period in the process."

The Minister also confirmed that he had met representatives of the producers last week and said that discussions are continuing with his Department. Mr Smith said that "while progress has been made, a number of issues are still outstanding but I remain optimistic that a satisfactory outcome can be achieved quickly."

Date Released: 17 December 2008