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Sinn Féin MP welcomes re-launch of six county beef on European markets

3 May, 2006

Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew has today welcomed the official re-launching of six county beef after 10 years of restrictions. Ms Gildernew said that today‚s launch represented "a new beginning for the beef industry in the North of Ireland".

Local farming organizations have travelled to Brussels to begin a marketing campaign to promote beef to continental European markets.

Speaking today Ms Gildernew said:

"Today's re-launch in Brussels is a welcome development and a boost for an industry devastated by ten years of restrictions. Through no fault of their own, farmers in the North have suffered losses of tens of millions since the ban was imposed in 1996.

"Local farmers and the farming industry, who are attached to a British agricultural system and suffered through no fault of their own, must now play catch up to promote beef from the six counties to a wider European market. Undoubtedly this will be a longer term battle, yet farmers in the North will be buoyed by the fact that they have some of the best quality beef in Europe.

"Not only will the re-opening of market exports signal a new beginning for the beef industry in Ireland but in addition it will also allow for the trade and movement of animals across Ireland to occur in the near future. I want to reiterate my calls for the implementation of a detailed timetable by DARD outlining how and when the free movement of cattle will begin across the island." ENDS

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