Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has written to the Chair of the Agriculture Committee to hold an emergency meeting to address the growing crisis which sees calve exports limited as we approach the spring season within the farming community.

Deputy McConalogue has criticised the Minister for Agriculture and the Department as little has been done to increase calve exports as lairage capacity has not been expanded in Cherbourg, France.

Deputy McConalogue commented “It is evident that little is being done by the Minister or his Department to ensure there is enough capacity to meet the growing numbers of exports of calves to Cherbourg, France.

“With time limits on the transporting of cattle we need extra capacity on lairage areas close to Cherbourg Port. At present capacity is maxed at 4,000 at a time. With three sailings per week this means 12,000 calves can be exported a week. We are extremely restricted at peak times and Irish farmers are bearing the costs. We need to ensure every possible dairy bull calve are exported if we can over the next number of weeks.

“Estimates have shown that we could get up to 300,000 calves out of the country at calve stage. There is expected to be substantial growth this spring as dairy farmers nationwide continue to grow their herds.

“The Minister must recognise the beef sector is in crisis. If the Minister does not act we will see prices go through the floor again unless we work hard to have as many dairy bull calves exported over the next eight to twelve weeks.

“My party has written to the Chair of the Agriculture Committee to seek an emergency meeting to address the blockage issues regarding exports. The Minister must act now to ensure there is no limit on calve exports over the next number of months,” concluded Deputy McConalogue.