A new €8.1m five-year research and innovation programme, focusing specifically on meat, has been launched at the Teagasc Ashtown Research Centre in Dublin today.
Meat Technology Ireland (MTI), a strategic research and innovation base in beef and sheepmeat processing in Ireland, was launched by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor and the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed.
The development is hosted in the Teagasc Ashtown Food Research Facility with the input of a number of universities and industry bodies.
It is a collaboration between nine beef and sheepmeat processing companies and is expected to lead to the creation of 15 full-time positions.
The companies behind the initiative include: ABP Ireland, Ashbourne Meat Processors, Dawn Meats Group, Dunbia Ireland, Hilton Foods Ireland, Irish Country Meats, Kepak Group, Liffey Meats and Slaney Foods International.
The project was made possible through significant funding from Enterprise Ireland and is said to create a ‘one-stop shop’ for meat processing and technology research.
Speaking at the launch, Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “Innovation 2020, tho Government’s strategy for research and development, science and technology recognises the importance of innovation for the agri-food sector.
“Establishing Meat Technology Ireland, through Enterprise Ireland is one of the key initiatives under the Action Plan for Jobs, and will help to build a competitive advantage in the food sector – through investment in research and innovation capability.
It’s important to introduce companies to the expertise in research institutions, with the aim of generating innovative technologies that lead to job creation.
Minister Creed said: “Meat Technology Ireland has the potential to build on the success of our beef and sheep sectors.
“By providing consumer-focused research that can best inform processors and farmers, Meat Technology Ireland can be a driver for Ireland’s meat industry as it seeks to meet Food Wise 2025 targets, and mitigate the potential impacts of Brexit.”
Prof. Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc, said: “Teagasc is delighted to be working with Enterprise Ireland, industry partners and other academic research organisations, to harness the collective information and research expertise available to the Irish meat industry, and to seek out new knowledge, to create innovative solutions for the commercial sector to exploit – for the betterment of all involved in the livestock sectors in Ireland.
Meat Technology Ireland, hosted at Teagasc (Ashtown), will serve as a hub to co-ordinate all beef and sheepmeat processing research needs.
Philip Carroll, the Chairman of IBEC’s Meat Industry Ireland Group, also spoke at the event. “The output of Meat Technology Ireland will be an important enabler for developing Irish beef and sheepmeat exports in future,” he said. “It will also be an enabler for meeting marketplace requirements and growing value.
“The involvement of nine major beef and sheepmeat processing companies in this industry-led collaborative initiative is a clear demonstration of the industry’s commitment to delivering on the growth potential of our sector and its strategic role in economic regional development,” he concluded.