IFA President Joe Healy met Minister Michael Creed yesterday on the urgent need for immediate intervention to overcome the logjam on live exports.
Joe Healy said that there was now a crisis for lairage space in Cherbourg which was starting to cause a logjam in calf exports. However, this is solvable if a common-sense approach is adopted by everybody.
The Minister had banked on a commitment from a ferry company that a second boat would be sailing on alternate days, but that has not happened. Now both companies are planning to sail on the same days. This will result in the lairage space being idle some days and over-subscribed on other days.
“The Minister and the Government must take a hands-on approach to this and find a solution immediately”, he said.
“The Minister must roll up his sleeves and make something happen to solve the problem. We have customers for our calves, but we cannot get them out of the country. We have calves, customers and lairage space. We also have shipping capacity, but it needs to be arranged properly to ensure maximum potential is achieved. This is imperative given the extra numbers, pressure on the beef sector and the uncertainty of Brexit.”
We stressed to the Minister that a solution must be found to solve the problem by pursuing four options:
• Personal intervention with the ferry company to reconsider their sailing dates
• Explore the possibility of getting an approved livestock ship for special sailings
• Bring back into play a lairage facility that has been used in previous years
• Additional temporary lairage facilities at Cherbourg.