Written Answers. - Abattoir Licences.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

360 Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the number of licensed abattoirs; the number of refusals for licences he has issued; if he intends to provide funding for small domestic abattoirs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19153/00]

The number of abattoirs currently operating in the domestic market is 358. In the period since 1989, when licensing of abattoirs began, 311 applications were refused on the basis of a failure to meet the required hygiene standards. During the same period, 49 of these premises were upgraded and were subsequently awarded licences.

I have no proposals to introduce grant aid for small domestic abattoirs. Current EU guidelines on the payment of state aid preclude member states from providing financial assistance to abattoir operators for the purpose of bringing their premises up to the minimum standards required by EU and national legislation.