Dáil Éireann - Volume 567 - 28 May, 2003

Written Answers. - Live Exports.

[1465]  131. Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the number of live cattle exported over each of the past three years; if he is satisfied with the trend of this trade; if not, his efforts to improve it; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14896/03]

  Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): In the past three years a total of 634,300 cattle have been exported. This comprises of 406,300 in 2000, 100,500 in 2001 and 127,500 in 2002. Our live exports are recovering well since the drop in exports in 2001 which arose primarily from the foot and mouth disease control restrictions imposed that year. Continued recovery is expected and is reflected in our live export performance to date this year which is very strong, and at some 73,000 is more than two and half times the level than the same period last year. Increased price competitiveness of Irish calves is reflected in these significantly higher levels of exports.

  Since the beginning of the year some 32,830 calves have been exported compared to 5,245 in the same period last year. Most of these went to the Netherlands and Spain. The Lebanon remains our main third country market for finished cattle.

  132. Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the number of countries at present accepting live cattle from Ireland; the efforts his Department has made to increase the live cattle trade; the discussions his Department has had with Commissioner Fischler in regard to this matter; the results of such discussions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14897/03]

  Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): In the past three years a total of 634,300 cattle have been exported from Ireland to various destinations. Already this year some 32,800 calves have been exported, mainly to the Netherlands and Spain and a small number to Belgium. Exports of stores, weanlings and finished cattle so far this year amounted to 27,300, mainly to Northern Ireland, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain. The Lebanon is our main third country market for finished cattle with close on 13,000 head exported to date this year.

  Our live exports are recovering well since the drop in exports in 2001 which arose primarily from the foot and mouth disease control restrictions imposed that year. A continuance of this recovery is expected and is reflected in our live export performance to date this year which is very strong, and at some 73,000 is more than two and half times better than the same period last year. Increased price competitiveness of Irish calves is reflected in these significantly higher levels of exports.