Minister Gildernew meets southern counterpart
Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA and her Southern counterpart, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today met in Co Monaghan to discuss the events of the past week in relation to contaminated animal feedstuff.
The Ministers agreed that the problem had presented major challenges to the agriculture industry North and South and that there would be work to be done in restoring confidence in products from the island of Ireland in the international marketplace.
Michelle Gildernew said:
"I have been in contact with Mr Smith throughout this process and our officials have been in on-going contact to deal with the problem. However I felt it was important for us to meet face to face and to discuss the way ahead. We are hopeful that the problem has been contained and that work can now concentrate on re-establishing confidence in our products.
"I am confident that we have the finest pork and beef that is produced anywhere and we must work together to capitalise on this. Mr Smith and I agreed that our officials will continue to work together for the common good in relation to this problem and for the good of the industry as a whole."
Minister Smith said that he was pleased to have been in the position to reassure Minister Gildernew and consumers North and South of the safety and high-quality of Irish pork and bacon products.
The Ministers acknowledged that this was a preliminary review of recent events and agreed that when further information was available, a further review of the events of the past week would take place and they undertook to maintain close contact in relation to this and other issues of mutual interest.