Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had on extending, on an all island basis, the Protected Geographical Indication status of Irish grass-fed beef.
Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs: Minister Poots engaged with the DAFM Minister on a number of occasions since September about extending an application for PGI status for ‘Irish Grass-fed Beef’ to include beef produced in Northern Ireland. He discussed the matter most recently with Minister McConalogue on 3 December. Minister Poots has asked Minister McConalogue to work with him to ensure that beef farmers in Northern Ireland as well as in the RoI can take advantage of the potential value conveyed by having the proposed PGI status.
I welcome Minister McConalogue’s commitment to work towards Northern Ireland being included in any PGI designation for grass fed beef. It has been agreed that officials from both jurisdictions will work to support this.
A project group led by the Livestock and Meat Commission, and including Departmental officials and industry representatives, has begun the work to develop a grass-fed standard in NI with the aim of applying for an amendment to the proposed PGI to include NI. My officials as well as the Livestock and Meat Commission continue to engage with both Bord Bia and DAFM officials on the matter, and meetings are scheduled between officials of both jurisdictions to monitor progress.