15th February, 2016

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney T.D. this morning announced that agreement has been reached with the Egyptian authorities to enable the importation of Irish cattle. The agreement follows an inspection visit by the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture to Ireland last week which concluded in an agreement with the Department of Agriculture here on a certificate to allow export of Irish cattle.

Commenting on the agreement, the Minister said “this agreement is a significant boost to the live export trade in Ireland. Opening new third country markets for Irish cattle is a priority as it represents an important alternative outlet for farmers here. My Department and Bord Bia are actively promoting such trade and were recently in Italy at Fieragricola, Italy’s premier livestock event to market the live cattle trade from Ireland.   North Africa has traditionally been a very important destination for Irish cattle but of course is affected by political instability which has severely disrupted the trade. However the addition of market like Egypt, which has been a very significant importer of Irish cattle in the past, to the list of markets open to Irish exporters, is a timely boost”.


There are currently three vessels approved to export cattle out of Ireland. The main export market in 2015 was Northern Ireland where exports were up 9% on the previous year. Other key markets were the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy and the expectation for 2016 is that Spain and Italy in particular will see increased live export trade from Ireland. Commenting on the trade the Minister said, “It is essential that both beef and live trades are functioning well and that farmers have options when marketing their stock. This year will bring its own challenges for the beef sector in Ireland but this Government has full confidence in its future. Continued investment in the sector and a focus on opening markets for both beef and the live trade will be key to the continued development of this critically important sector.”