A petition starter listed as ‘Compassion in Ireland’ has announced plans to hold a protest against live exports from this country, outside the Department of Agriculture, Dublin, on Tuesday, September 26 at 12:00pm.

It is planned to deliver a petition calling for the end of the export of live farm animals from Ireland, at the protest.

“Shipments to Turkey have increased this year and soon shipments of weanlings to Egypt will start. This suffering must be brought to an end,” the petition organiser, through Change.org, said in an email circulated last week.

Despite the planned protest, live exports are necessary to add competition to the Irish beef market.

Eimear McGuinness, Manager of Donegal Livestock Mart, has lobbied for what she described as the ‘roadblocks’ that are in place for live exports to be removed.

Live exports are vitally important to farmers of Ireland. It gives the farmers choices, and also creates critically important competition in the beef and sheep sectors.

“Over the past few years, this has been very evident, and especially now with all the uncertainties with Brexit, we need these markets more than ever,” she said.

“The trade for cattle is very good at the minute in all marts, due to the presence of live exporters, and agents for exporters,” McGuinness said.

“Last year was a very difficult year with limited markets for cattle. Thankfully Turkey opened, which was a help to the situation.

“At the end of the day, both sectors need competition to the factories, and that is what live exports bring to the table. It is that simple.

“I think the department and farming organisations all believe this now also. Every effort must be made in supporting, and not just opening, but making health certs for all these new markets workable. It is no good opening health certs if they are not workable,” she said.