Thursday, 18 December 2008

Questions (333, 334, 335, 336, 337, 338)

Sean Sherlock

Question:

331 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the details of the compensation package agreed with pig producers following negotiations to return pork products for sale and supply; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47524/08]

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Sean Sherlock

Question:

334 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the way the figure of €180 million in compensation following the withdrawal of pork products from the market will be distributed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47527/08]

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Sean Sherlock

Question:

335 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the details of the compensation package agreed with pig producers following negotiations to return pork products for sale and supply; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47528/08]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 331, 334 and 335 together.

Detailed terms and conditions of the Product Recall Scheme will be finalised as soon as possible. The purpose of the scheme is to provide financial assistance in respect of the recall of eligible pork products from commercial markets and eligible products in storage. The scheme is aimed at primary and secondary pork processors and all eligible applications for assistance will be discharged from the facility following appropriate verification by the Department. The agreement between the Department and the processing sector has resulted in the speedy return to processing by the sector and the consequential return of Irish pork products onto commercial markets

Sean Sherlock

Question:

332 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the persons who were the chief negotiators representing pig producers during the negotiations to return pork products to the market; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47525/08]

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The Irish Association of Pigmeat Processors was represented at the negotiations by a number of its members at Chief Executive and other senior executive levels and they represented both primary and secondary processors. IBEC was also represented.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

333 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the way the figure of €180 million was arrived at in the calculation of compensation to pig producers on foot of the recent crisis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47526/08]

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In very detailed and complex negotiations, conducted over a period of three days, processors presented information on the volume and value of product in storage and product already consigned to markets, at home and internationally that was manufactured from animals slaughtered in Ireland in the period 1st September 2008 to 6th December 2008. Certain assumptions were made on the extent to which product in free market circulation would be subject to recall and prove eligible under the Product Recall Scheme. The amount of €180 million announced on Thursday last is a facility to enable processors to claim assistance in respect of eligible product rather than a target amount.

Questions Nos. 334 and 335 answered with Question No. 331.
Questions Nos. 336 and 337 answered with Question No. 324.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

338 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the marketing initiatives being prepared to restore consumer confidence in Irish pork and beef produce both at home and abroad on foot of the recent crisis in the sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47531/08]

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My Department is working closely with An Bord Bia and our embassies abroad to reassure our international customers as to the safety of Irish pork. In the case of our Asian markets our diplomatic representations are in regular contact with the relevant regulatory authorities.

I am reassured by the positive consumer response to the information label and nationwide media campaign introduced by Bord Bia for Irish pork products on the domestic market. The Bord Bia strategy, in overseas markets, is to maintain consumer confidence in Ireland's health controls through informed comprehensive briefing and responding to specific questions with the assistance of my Department. The position in individual markets is being kept under continuous review and I visited France with Bord Bia last week to provide the necessary assurances. I am, of course, ready to visit other markets if this appears appropriate.