My officials are in on-going communication with Irish exporters with regard to the need for co-operative management between each other to ensure that the lairage capacity at Cherbourg is optimised. I would urge the live export sector to consider developing an additional lairage in Cherbourg or engaging with the owners of existing facilities to explore the potential for additional capacity. This has proved possible – as evidenced by the French authorities approving an increase of the holding capacity of the Qualivia lairage in Cherbourg earlier this year. My Department worked closely with the French authorities in this matter. The move provided for additional daily capacity for 400 animals, providing increased capacity of some 1,200 animals per week
In my meetings with live exporters, I have suggested that a representative group be set up to represent their interests with a view to enhancing coordination in relation to the live export trade and I welcome the establishment of the new Exporters’ body. I am committed to formal engagement with exporters and I have arranged for a meeting with the new body later this week to discuss and review existing export procedures, including lairage facilities in Cherbourg.
In relation to the two hour extension outlined in Council Regulation No 1/2005, this provision is provided solely for the welfare and interests of the animals involved. The EU Commission have provided explicit guidelines in relation to this provision insofar as the granting of such an extension is dependent of the proximity to the place of destination.