Ferris calls on Government to protect beef exports to Russia
The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD, has called on the Minister for Agriculture Mary Coughlan to ensure that Irish beef is not included in a proposed ban to be placed by Russia from next month. Russian exports were worth €40bn in 2005 and their loss would represent a serious blow to the Irish beef sector.
Deputy Ferris said, "It would be a disaster if this country was penalised for the apparent shortcomings of some of the new accession states in areas of traceability and safety. Irish farmers are already concerned over beef imports here and the damage that this is doing to Irish beef producers. It would be rather ironic, therefore, if that damage was to be exacerbated by being penalised for the transgressions of others in third countries.
"Minister Coughlan's sole responsibility in this is to Irish farmers and on that basis she ought to consider the Russian offer to negotiate an exemption for Irish beef from any ban placed on EU exports to Russia. The Russians are apparently satisfied as to the quality and safety of Irish beef so there would appear to be little standing in the way of ensuring that future exports are secured." ENDS