IFA calls for Irish-French cooperation to increase calf exports

An additional 600 calves could be delivered to Cherbourg within days with some cooperation between the Irish and the French authorities, according to the IFA leader.

The president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Joe Healy, made the statement following a trip to Cherbourg, Normandy, France, this week where he visited the Pignet Lairage.

Healy called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to request the French authorities to approve an extension which would add this extra capacity in Cherbourg.

He said that with the additional 400 places announced late last week, it could increase capacity by 3,000 per week over three sailings, to 15,000 calves per week.

Minister Creed must also allow the use, permitted in previous years, of the facility at Abbeville which can act as an overflow lairage in light of the backlog caused by the exceptional bad sailing weather. This can accommodate 5,000 calves.

“The minister told everyone that the ferry companies would sail in alternate days, but he was wrong and now we have a capacity problem in Cherbourg.”

“Over 400 places came on stream in Cherbourg late last week, and the IFA believes another lairage could potentially create another 600 places if approved by the French authorities.”

Concluding, Healy said: “Minister Creed must engage with the French authorities to make this happen.”