Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Progress on lifting ban on the Over Thirty Months beef welcomed

15 September, 2005

Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has welcomed the announcement from British Defra Secretary Margaret Beckett that she is accepting advice from the Food Standards Agency that it is safe to end the Over Thirty Months (OTM) rule.

Ms Gildernew said:

"Sinn Féin have campaigned remorselessly for the lifting of the beef ban at home, in Downing Street and in Europe. Accepting advice from the FSA that it is safe to end the ban on Over Thirty Months (OTM) beef is a welcome first step. This is particularly welcome here where we already have an excellent BSE-free status.

"From 7 November, older cattle will be allowed into market as long as they test negative for the disease. I have long argued that the development and availability of testing is central to progress.

"It is vital that we can maximise good will in the EU commission and European Parliament to achieve further progress in the lifting of the beef ban. I will be working closely with my colleagues Bairbre de Brún and Mary Lou McDonald to ensure that we can achieve maximum support.

"Ending the beef ban could led to a substantial increase in demand and help to reverse the recent price decline.

"There also needs to be a well resourced campaign to promote Irish beef worldwide to off-set the tainted image that British beef has across the international markets." ENDS

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