Written Answers. - Abattoir Premises.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

111 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if he will introduce a package of measures to assist local small abattoirs to upgrade their premises to meet the demanding standards under the Abattoirs Act, 1988, and EU regulations; and, if so, when these measures will be introduced. [22229/98]

I received a submission about a year ago from the Irish Butchers Asssociation for assistance to upgrade small abattoirs in order to comply with new regulations being introduced to comply fully with the hygiene requirements of Council Directive 91/497/EEC and Council Directive 95/23/EC. These regulations came into operation in February of this year. It was not possible to provide financial aid from resources available to my Department. Standard operating procedures were, however, drawn up to ensure that any costs involved for small abattoirs slaughtering less than six livestock units per week will be minimised.

I recently received a submission from the Craft Butchers of Ireland who are requesting inclusion for financial assistance in the new Structural Funds for the year 2000-2006. This matter is currently being examined in my Department.