The securing of additional export markets for Irish beef and other meat products will be achieved on the back of the food sector’s ability to meet the technical criteria demanded by individual countries, in tandem with the good feel factor from the Origin Green campaign, according to Brendan Gleeson, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Speaking at the 2015 Bord Bia Meat Seminar, he said we have had a great start to the year on the back of the decision by the United States’ authorities to allow imports of Irish beef.

“This is a tremendous feather in the cap of the redmeat sector in Ireland as it should make the job of getting our beef into other countries that much easier.

“Quite a number of Irish meat companies have had a presence on the ground in the US for some time, in anticipation of the recent decision taken being taken. As a consequence, I am optimistic that the potential for Irish beef companies to do real business in that part of the word can be realised quite quickly.

Commenting on the prospects for Irish beef export to China, Gleeson held out the expectation of significant progress being made in this context later in the year.

“A team of veterinary experts visited Ireland before Christmas with the sole objective of gauging Ireland’s state of readiness vis-a-vis the lifting of the current BSE-related import ban,” he said.

“They will be reporting back to the Chinese authorities over the coming weeks. If all goes according to plan, a decision in principle will be taken to allow Irish beef on to the Chinese market. However, individual plants will require a further veterinary inspection before beef can actually commence trading.”

Referring to the prospects of Irish food companies trading with Russia the Department of Agriculture representative held out little hope of the current logjams being broken in the foreseeable future.

“Yes, we are continuing to liaise with Russia at a technical level,” he said.

“But the reality is that many of the factors impacting on the current trading relationships between Russia and the EU are out of Ireland’s direct control.”