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Coveney Meets O'Neill to Discuss Beef

Building on previous discussions, Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney invited his Northern Irish counterpart Michelle O’Neill to Dublin to discuss issues currently facing the beef sector on both parts of the island.

Significant reductions in market prices in Ireland, the UK and across Europe this year, have been driven by a range of factors, including demand and supply dynamics, retailer procurement strategies, customer loyalties and the relative costs of alternative protein sources such as pigmeat and poultry.

In addition, the traditional trade in live animals from Ireland, for slaughter in Northern Ireland, is down significantly, as UK retailers focus on marketing beef under either an “Irish” of “British” label. This has led to a reduction in demand from Northern processors for animals born in the Republic, as the meat from animals born and slaughtered in different Member States is subject to more complex labelling under EU rules.

Both Ministers agreed that the issues around origin labelling are complex, and that any consideration of them should be informed by what is legally possible, and in the best long term interests of both farmers and consumers. However, in the case of meat from animals exported live from the Republic for slaughter in Northern Ireland, there is a strong case to be made for marketing it in Britain on an equal footing with beef born reared and slaughtered in the Republic. While the marketing of beef in retail outlets is ultimately a commercial decision, both Ministers agreed to make a joint approach to UK retailers on this matter with a view to finding solutions.

Concluding, the Ministers committed to continuing their ongoing collaboration on arrange of issues, including the harmonisation of animal health and welfare policies North and South, and to work together with a view to positioning beef produced on the island as a premium product, delivering maximum returns for farmers and restoring confidence in the beef sector in both jurisdictions.


View this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 110/2014 (pdf 108Kb) 


added 24.07.14

Agriculture Ministers Simon Coveney TD and Michelle O'Neill MLA met in Dublin to discuss the current complex challenges facing  the beef industry. They agreed to approach a number of key UK retailers to explore a way forward in addressing the issues affecting North/South trade in cattle, which is normally high at this time of year and to help build confidence in the beef market.





Date Released: 24 July 2014