Additional French lairage facilities ‘not enough’

Government efforts to secure additional calf lairage facilities have been criticised as “not going far enough” by Fianna Fail spokesperson on agriculture Charlie McConalogue.

The Donegal TD was responding to the announcement of extra lairage capacity near Cherbourg Port, France, which has been increased to hold an additional 400 animals.

Deputy McConalogue said: “It is alarming the Minister for Agriculture has welcomed this increase as it does not go near enough to ensuring Irish farmers are in a position to export dairy bull calves.

“We are at the peak of the export season, yet little seems to be done by Government to aide those in the industry.

The farming community is crying out for additional capacity for exporting their produce – but this has not materialised.

“I understand there is room for even more lairage capacity in Cherbourg, up to 600 additional spaces according to some estimates.”

The deputy outlined that “robust” efforts from Government on behalf of the agri-sector is needed to have this expanded.

“The beef sector is in crisis. The ongoing export issues combined with the news of tariffs on exports to the UK from the republic have caused great anxiety in the sector.

“The minister must give assurances to the farming community as we navigate the next number of weeks post Brexit,” concluded deputy McConalogue.