Thursday, 17 October 2019

Questions (249)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

249. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of full-time and part-time staff, respectively, working in the dedicated market access unit established within the meat and milk policy division by staff grade in tabular form; and the annual cost of the unit including staffing costs. [42847/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The principle of market development is already a core component of Food Wise 2025 but is particularly important now in the context of Brexit. Further increasing export opportunities and outlets for the Irish food and drinks sector remains as one of my main priorities. 

My Department's market access effort includes work at political, diplomatic and technical levels. The work of staff across the Department impacts on market access and development. This includes veterinary services, laboratory staff, inspectorate staff, Brexit/International Trade Division, Meat and Milk Policy Division and others, in completing market access questionnaires from non-EU countries, facilitating incoming inspection visits, participating in diplomatic meetings, agreeing export health certificates and so on.  All this closely inter-connected work with a variety of stakeholders, facilitates the process of accessing of new markets and maintaining existing markets. 

In relation to meat, this effort is co-ordinated by a dedicated meat market access unit in the Meat and Milk Policy Division of my Department.  The unit’s staffing complement currently comprises a team of six people, across different administrative grades, led by an Assistant Principal Officer. Staffing details, including salary scales, are shown in tabular form as follows.

Grade        

Number involved     

Salary Scale     

Assistant Principal Officer

1

€65,356 - €79,681

Higher Executive Officer

1

€46,517 - €56,556

Administrative Officer

1

€32,405 - €61,545

Executive Officer

2

€30,127 - €50,834

Clerical Officer

1

€23,984 - €39,796

The meat market access unit works to forge agreements on opening and expanding access for Irish beef, sheepmeat, pigmeat, poultrymeat and cooked meats across a range of new and existing markets. It is also working to simplify certification procedures in a number of markets in which Ireland has already gained access. The work of the unit supports a meat industry with exports worth around €3.9 billion in 2018.  My Department has made significant progress in recent years in increasing market access opportunities for Irish meat exports. In 2019, these included opening the Ukrainian beef and pork markets, expanding beef access to Japan and opening the Japanese sheep market.