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de Brún raises Cookstown factory loophole in European Parliament

4 February, 2009

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has pointed out the loophole in the Pigmeat Recall scheme which is placing the future of the Vion factory in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone in jeopardy.

Speaking in a debate in the European Parliament, de Brún called for urgent action to support the workers and community in Cookstown.

Ms de Brún said:

"The Pigmeat Recall Scheme (PRS) announced by the Irish government in December 2008 was intended to remove all contaminated Irish pigmeat. However, the scheme does not appear to cater for the estimated 4000 live contaminated pigs that were sent to Vion pig processing plant, in Cookstown, in my constituency, during the period in question from 1 Sept-6 Dec 2008.

"I have spoken with the Vion plant in Cookstown and with the European Commission on the urgent need to address this anomaly which has left the plant at a considerable disadvantage compared to similar plants in the South of Ireland that are eligible for 100% compensation. If this plant is not eligible for compensation under an EU supported scheme, then there is a very real danger that it will not be able to continue.

"The EU needs to ensure that this pig processing plant is not left to deal alone with the consequences of receiving 4000 live contaminated pigs.

"If they are not eligible under the Pigmeat Recall Scheme agreed between the Commission and the Irish government, then a similar scheme needs to be agreed between the Commission and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Assembly in Belfast." ENDS

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