The Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney has said that he has no plans to introduce mandatory EID tagging for bovine animals.

He said this was due to the additional costs to herd keepers.

However, he said the Department will keep the position under review in the context of consultation with all the stakeholders and developments at EU level.

The Ministers comments come as the Irish Co-Operative Society recently called on the Department of Agriculture to introduce mandatory electronic tagging (EID) of cattle in Ireland.

ICOS is proposing a duel tagging system which it says will cost no more than €1 more per tag.

Current EU regulations as regards electronic identification of bovine animals and labelling of beef provides for the introduction of electronic bovine identification on a voluntary basis.

Under this legislation, Member States are obliged to have facilities in place to provide for the use of electronic identifiers (electronic tags or electronic bolus) as an official means of identification with effect from July 18, 2019.

The Minister said that his Department will facilitate the introduction of electronic identification (EID) of bovines in accordance with the requirements of the aforementioned EU Regulation.

However, he said there are no provisions in the Regulation in relation to the mandatory introduction of electronic identification of bovines in advance of July 18, 2019.

The Department already provides for the use of EID tags in the current contract for the supply of bovine tags on a voluntary basis.

Minister Coveney has said that there is very low demand (approximately 1% of herd keepers) for cattle EID tags at present which cost an additional €1 per animal. The cost of an EID reader is also significant, he said.