A Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) is a product which must be produced, processed or prepared in a particular geographical area, and where a specific quality reputation, or other characteristics are attributable to that area. I believe that such schemes can provide a positive economic opportunity for producers and for rural areas.
Earlier this year, my Department organised a workshop on Geographical Indications, with participation by the EU Commission and a range of stakeholders, at which the possibility of applying for a PGI for Irish beef was explored. Since then, officials from my Department have been working with Bord Bia, in consultation with the EU Commission, on an application for a PGI for Irish Beef. An application can only be submitted by, or on behalf of, a group of producers.
I hope that it will be possible to submit an application in the first quarter of 2020. The Regulations then require a formal national consultation or "opposition" period. Following satisfactory completion of this consultation, an application will be formally lodged with the EU Commission for scrutiny and a further consultation or "opposition" procedure.
I am deeply committed to fully supporting and developing Ireland’s beef sector, which plays an important role in sustaining the rural economy and rural communities across Ireland. The sector has many strengths and one way of capitalising on these is through the Geographical Indications system, which highlights to consumers the high quality of a given product carrying the logo.