Controversy over PGI application for grass-fed beef is a ‘great pity’ – IFA

Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) president Tim Cullinan and livestock chairman Brendan Golden are meeting the Department of Agriculture today (Friday, September 18) to discuss the Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) application for ‘Irish Grass-Fed Beef’.

22 statements of opposition to the PGI application, which was developed by Bord Bia, have been lodged as part of the national oppositions procedure.

Tim Cullinan said: ‘We wrote to Minister McConalogue last week seeking an assurance that he would engage with IFA and farmers before lodging any PGI application with the EU. The minister gave us an assurance that the department would engage with us and that process begins today.

I believe the minister recognises that any PGI must have the broad support of farmers.

“It is a great pity that what should be a positive development for the sector has become mired in controversy due to a lack of consultation on the original application,” he said.

The 22 submissions will be considered by the department and if it is determined that it is appropriate for the application to proceed, a final version of the application document will be published.

Northern Ireland farmers

Cullinan adds: “We have also been in contact with the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) which is concerned about the application proceeding without Northern Ireland farmers.

“It is important, particularly in the context of Brexit, that we don’t create any unintended barriers to the movement of animals across the border. The concerns of Northern Irish farmers must be a factor in the process.

“We look forward to constructive engagement with the minister and the department around these issues. The PGI must have farmer involvement, and it must give a financial return to farmers,” Cullinan concluded.

The fourth meeting of the Beef Market Taskforce is due to be held later this month.