Irish sheepmeat access to Japan has been agreed following successful talks between Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed and his Japanese counterpart, North Cork Fine Gael Councillor John Paul O’Shea has said.
The announcement was made as Minister Creed concluded the first leg of this week’s trade mission, with Government to Government meetings in Tokyo.
Cllr. O’Shea said: “This achievement reflects the increased focus by the Department of Agriculture on opening and enhancing market access to key markets.
“Sheep farming is a very important part of Irish agriculture and is the fourth most important animal enterprise in Ireland, operating on both hill and lowland farms.
“I have no doubt that this news will be warmly received by sheep farmers here in Cork.
“A strong agri-food and seafood sector is a major part in driving employment and economic development in the most peripheral areas of the country, as well as in every town and village. Fine Gael has always recognised the importance of the family farm structure and the need to ensure our rural communities receive the investment needed to continue to grow.”
Minister Creed said: “I am really delighted to announce that we have now reached agreement in principle on market access for Irish sheepmeat. Details will be finalised by an exchange of letters between my Department and the relevant Japanese officials.
“Meetings with both Ministers were very positive, reflecting the detailed technical cooperation and exchanges between our officials which led to today’s announcement. When this documentation is finalised, interested plants, who meet the relevant conditions, will be able to apply to my Department for approval to export.”