British market bottleneck on live exports


The lack of access for Irish live cattle to Britain is a matter of critical importance for all Irish farmers and must be addressed as a matter of priority, according to East Galway TD Paul Connaughton.
‘Farmers in Britain are delighted with the restrictive importation regime that currently exists as this has artificially boosted cattle prices in England and created a situation until recently where there was a difference of €200 per head in cattle prices in Britain and Ireland. I understand that there has been a dramatic fall in British cattle prices in recent weeks, but the underlying problem remains, that of lack of access to the British market for Irish live cattle.
‘Farmers across Ireland are aware of the vital part that live exports play in regulating the market in Ireland and ensuring that there is proper competition for beef supplies. Britain, as our nearest neighbour, has for centuries been our most important trading partner in terms of live exports and current impediments on live exports to Britain is a cause of concern for all Irish farmers, as it disrupts normal marketplace competition and places Irish farmers at the mercy of factories.
‘In a marketplace without proper competition, the factories are overly powerful and both farmers and consumers are the ultimate losers. I believe that this issue needs to be tackled at EU level to ensure that there is a level playing field for Irish farmers when it comes to accessing British markets. This will ultimately benefit consumers in both Ireland and Britain as well as Irish farmers.’