The Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine is confident that Irish beef will be on US shelves by the autumn.

According to the General Secretary of the Department of Agriculture Tom Moran: “The Minister is confident and the Department is confident that by the autumn we would be able to put beef into the states.”

He said: “We are fairly happy with the audits last week, we just have to go through due process.”

Moran outlined: “The key question is how much the value of the market will be heading into in the States. The overall size of the market is €700m. Now we are not going to be anything in that range.

“But what we would be heading into is a specific grass-fed beef and niche market. Possibly the diaspora as well but not necessarily.”

“When you build on the Origin Green and sustainability argument, I think we have a good chance and that is the view of Bord Bia as well. It’s positive news and we are working towards it.”

Moran also noted that agriculture and, particularly, beef will be a key stumbling block in the on-going trade negotiations between the EU and the US known as Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Moran said hormone beef will be a key issue. “EU consumers don’t want hormone beef. That is clear. If you allow US hormone beef into the EU, EU producers could argue that if US hormone beef is being sold in the EU, why can’t EU farmers use hormones?

” That aspect of the negotiations will not be easy and will take some time.”