Irish live exports are just waiting on a ‘green light’ from Turkey

Ireland is waiting on the ‘green light’ to send live exports of cattle to Turkey after a delegation visited Ireland in recent weeks.

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, told the Dail this week that “the ball is in the Turkish court at this stage” and his Department is awaiting a report from that trip.

He said that Ireland must wait until members of the Turkish delegation come back with proposals and then Ireland can finalise the administrative arrangements.

There is no delay on the Irish side, he told Fianna Fail’s spokesperson on agriculture Charlie McConalogue, and that once his Department has feedback from the Turkish delegation, it will move “as quickly as is humanly possible to deal with the matter”.

He acknowledged that live exports are down in some markets this year, but said the State can only open markets, and it is up to the industry to respond in terms of availing of those opportunities.

Last year, he said, saw high levels of exports of cattle to both Britain and Northern Ireland, largely driven by favourable currency rates, which made cattle from this country very competitive in those markets.

“However, as a result of a closer euro versus Sterling exchange rate, exports to the UK this year are lower by approximately 50%. Exports to Italy, however, are up by almost 20% and exports to Spain have grown by 11%.”

However, he warned it would be premature for people to buy cattle on the back of the expected Turkish market opening.