The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) issued 1,002 work permits for foreign-national workers in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector in the first three months of the year.

The data shows that 252 permits were issued to companies in the sector in January, 592 in February and 158 in March.

Agriculture, forestry and fishing accounted for around 10% of the 9,832 permits issued during the three-month period.

The sector had the third highest number of work permits, after health and social work (2,520) and information and communication activities (1,104).

Work permits

The department issued 255 work permits to Dawn Meats Ireland UC in the first three months of 2024, 63 of those were granted in March.

Anglo Beef Processors Ireland Unlimited Company was granted 142 permits in the first three months of 2024, while Anglo Beef Processors Ireland secured 36 permits between January and February.

DETE issued 60 permits to Slaney Foods International in February and March.

There were 57 permits issued to Kildare Chilling Company up to the end of March, Irish Country Meats (Sheepmeat) received 56, while Liffey Meats (Cavan) was granted 27 permits.

The department also issued work permits to companies in the horticulture industry during the three-month period, including Tyholland Mushrooms (47); Walsh Golden Mushrooms (31); Monaghan Mushrooms (18); Tiernaneill Mushrooms (17); Cappagh Mushrooms (15) and Athgaine Mushrooms (14).

Mushrooms in a plastic box on the table. On a wooden background. High quality photo

A recent report published by Teagasc confirmed that combined input costs have risen by 40% across Ireland’s horticultural sectors since 2021.

In 2024, labour cost is the key driver of inflation and outweighs reductions in other input categories, including energy.

There were also employment permits issued to agri-business companies such as Glanbia Management Services (13), Glanbia Nutritionals (1), Glanbia Performance Nutrition (1) and Kerry Group Services (8) during the period.

Around 15 dairy farms are also listed by the department as being granted single work permits.

In 2023, 1,385 permits were issued for the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector, this was down from 4,311 permits granted in the previous year.