Is Boxty, the popular potato-based savoury produced in the counties of the border and West – to achieve the same status as France’s champagne and Italy’s Parma Ham?

This is one of the items for debate at a public meeting to be held in the Cavan Crystal Hotel on Monday next at 7.30pm.

The meeting is being organised by Independent MEP Marian Harkin in response to approaches by artisan producers in Cavan and surrounding counties.

“These approaches from artisan food producers coincide with the Government’s announcement that there is to be a new programme to encourage the development of their business through measures contained in the reformed Common Agricultural Policy.”

Food consultant Muiris Kennedy, who advised the Waterford ‘Blaa’ producers in securing the valuable EU ‘Protected Geographical Indication’ (PGI) status for their bread product, will lead the discussion.

“This meeting will afford an opportunity to examine how small producers may group together in their common interest and ensure the best possible outcome from the new Artisan Food Co-operation Scheme.  The discussion will also ensure that the producers of ‘Boxty’ are fully informed on the steps necessary to secure PGI status for that regionally produced food product,” Marian Harkin MEP concluded.

Meanwhile, Cavan-based Boxty producer Gary McKiernan has welcomed the move.

Speaking to AgriLand, he said Boxty producers were encouraged and highlighted the traditional special status of this product.

“We have been a producer of Boxty for five years. It is a very popular product in Ireland especially in the winter. We have a family handed-down recipe. It has been a recipe that has never really been written down as it was so natural and traditional in our house. It has continued from my mother, my grandmother and my great grandmother.”

He explained the beauty of the product; good Irish potatoes, flour and salt.

“It’s all in the way it is cooked. That’s all to it. There are no artificial ingredients and it is so simple to make. It’s a very local product to the region and it would be great to get the recognition from Europe,” he added.