IFA heaps pressure on Creed to secure lairage for another 600 calves

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has warned that further lairage space is needed at the French port of Cherbourg, following the announcement that accommodation for 400 extra calves per day has been secured.

Joe Healy, the association’s president, was speaking after Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, confirmed that authorities in France had approved an increase in the holding capacity at one of the lairages at Cherbourg.

Healy argued that even more lairage capacity could be made available, and urged the minister to put his efforts towards achieving that.

The IFA has been in regular contact with the two lairage operators in Cherbourg. The other operator is willing to increase his capacity by another 600 calves, but his premises needs approval from the French authorities to do this.

“We have IFA personnel on the ground in Cherbourg today and we are talking directly to the lairage operators to try and create this extra capacity,” said Healy.

He called for “far greater urgency” on the part of the minister to get this extra lairage space up and running.

“We have repeatedly asked the minister to speak to his counterpart in France to ask the authorities in Cherbourg to work with both operators to get approval for the extra spaces,” claimed Healy.

The minister seems to be claiming credit for these 400 extra spaces, but he must drive on and get the other 600 places on stream now.

Announcing the expanded accommodation capacity today, Minister Creed said: “One of the constraints faced by exporters has been the limited lairage capacity at Cherbourg. I welcome the initiative of the lairage owner in France to expand his facilities, which has now been approved by the French authorities.”

However, the minister highlighted the “absolute need” for exporters to ensure adherence to transport regulations and animal welfare standards.