Irish chicken rearers get talks with government

Irish poultry producers have been invited to talks with the government after the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) organised a protest over the chicken procurement policy of the armed forces.

IFA poultry growers protested outside the offices of the Ministry of Defence this week and Minister Willie O’Dea has now agreed to meet with representatives from the protest group to address the Government’s policy of sourcing chicken for the Defence Forces from a non Bord Bia Assured processor outside the Republic of Ireland.

IFA poultry chairman Ned Morrissey said: “Surely when jobs are being lost all over the country, it is more important than ever that those in power lead by example and support indigenous production. Poultry meat in this country is produced to the highest standards and is responsible for over 2,500 jobs between production, processing and subsidiary industries.

“How can we expect retailers and food companies to give shelf space to Irish produce if our own Government does not lead by example and support Quality Assured Irish product? This simply would not happen in other EU countries.”

Morrissey added that there should be an instruction to all Government agencies to ensure that food procurement specifies Bord Bia Quality Assured product when it is available and there should be an implementation of a range of measures by the Government to improve competitiveness and help Irish industry compete fairly.

Last month Taoiseach Brian Cowen announced an investment of €69m into the Irish meat processing sector.

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