Dáil Éireann - Volume 503 - 28 April, 1999
Written Answers. - Pigmeat Sector.
Mr. B. Smith Mr. B. Smith
59. Mr. B. Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if he has satisfied himself that sufficient processing capacity exists nationally in the pigmeat sector and in the north-east region; the plans, if any, he has for expansion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10991/99]
Mr. Walsh Mr. Walsh
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): I am satisfied that there is sufficient capacity both slaughtering and processing in the pigmeat industry to meet current demands.
With regard to the north east region, there was pressure some months ago on slaughtering capacity there due to a fire at a pigmeat plant in Ballymoney, County Antrim. A backlog of pigs awaiting slaughter built up in the border region, which has now been cleared with the co-operation of EU approved pigmeat plant owners who between them increased the weekly kill by about 8,000 pigs per week.
In addition the McCarren plant in County Cavan was re-opened in October last, and slaughterings there are on the increase. I also gave EU export status to two slaughtering plants, one in County Meath and the other in County Westmeath which helped the north eastern region also.
In December 1998 EU approved pigmeat plants in one particular week killed 78,000 pigs. Slaughterings at the beginning of this year averaged 73,000 pigs per week while current slaughterings are averaging around 67,000. Therefore, I am satisfied that the slaughtering capacity in the country at present is adequate to deal with demand.
Dáil Éireann 503 Written Answers. Pigmeat Sector.