Written Answers. - Beef Industry.

Michael Creed

Question:

94 Mr. Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the plans, if any, he has to facilitate rationalisation in the beef processing industry. [4711/00]

The task force on the beef industry accepted the finding of the McKinsey report that there is at present underused slaughtering capacity in the beef sector in Ireland. It recommended that a better match between slaughtering capacity and cattle supplies could be achieved in the context of a development programme under which the provision of public funding for investment would be subject to strict criteria, including the achievement of greater economies of scale at slaughtering level. The task force also recommended that the processing industry itself should set up a special fund to facilitate the removal of surplus or obsolete capacity to expedite the process.

The Government has decided under the national development plan to give priority to the beef sector at primary slaughtering and processing level in the context of the productive sector operational programme. This initiative, operating in partnership with the industry itself, should facilitate development and rationalisation in the beef processing industry in a planned way and should encourage the industry to come forward with suitable projects. The creation of the special fund recommended by the task force is a matter for the industry itself.