Dáil Éireann - Volume 496 - 12 November, 1998
Written Answers. - Cattle and Beef Exports.
Mr. Penrose Mr. Penrose
47. Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the situation with regard to cattle trade with Libya; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23224/98]
Mr. Neville Mr. Neville
60. Mr. Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when exports of cattle to Libya will commence. [23085/98]
Mr. Timmins Mr. Timmins
77. Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if there is a live cattle trade to Iran; if so, the details in this regard; and, if not, the plans, if any, he has to seek markets for the live trade. [23285/98]
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh) Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh)
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): I propose to take Questions Nos. 47, 60 and 77 together.
Agreement was reached with a Libyan Government delegation in July last providing for the re-opening of the Libyan market for Irish cattle and beef on the basis of agreed veterinary health conditions and terms of contracts. This agreement was the culmination of extensive contacts with  the Libyan authorities since early 1997. The Libyan Government through the General Peoples Committee formally cleared the agreement before the end of September and written confirmation to this effect was received. Although the Libyan authorities indicated their wish to have the agreement implemented immediately, there have been delays in the conclusion of contracts for Irish cattle. In order to establish the reasons for these delays, which were of concern both to myself and the Government, our Ambassador in Rome, who is accredited to Libya, visited Tripoli again in mid-October. The Ambassador was assured that there was no political blockage to the agreement and that it was now a matter for the Irish exporters to pursue contracts with the purchasing agency in Libya. Ongoing contact is being maintained with the Libyan authorities through every possible channel with a view to ensuring that the July agreement is implemented in practice. Our position is that an official agreement has been reached with the Libyan authorities and that it should be honoured.
There is no trade in live cattle with Iran and I am not aware of any demand for such a trade. However, Iran was a traditionally important market for Irish beef until 1996. I am pleased to say that a veterinary protocol was signed in Dublin on 29 October 1998 providing for detailed arrangements for the immediate resumption of the export of beef to Iran. The successful conclusion of this protocol followed a week long visit here by a veterinary delegation from Iran and the decision in principle by Iran to re-open its market to Irish beef which I had negotiated in Tehran two weeks previously. The conclusion of beef contracts is now a matter for the industry but I would be hopeful that these would be completed with the minimum of delay.
Dáil Éireann 496 Written Answers. Cattle and Beef Exports.