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 Slieve Gullion Councillor, Oonagh Magennis, has welcomed confirmation that the EU Commission is supportive of the north being included in the application for Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status for Irish grass-fed beef. 

The Councillor explained "Sinn Féin has consistently lobbied for an all-island approach to this application.  My colleagues Declan McAleer MLA and Matt Carthy TD have raised the issue with Ministers Poots and McConalogue and have met Bord Bia to advance the case for inclusion the north. 

There is no reason why the north should not be included as agriculture is closely linked across the island and our cattle are raised to the exact same standard. 

This status should be afforded to all parts of our food and drink sector. The produce of Ireland, north and south, is second to none, and our grass-fed beef is some of the best in the world. Our standards remain aligned under the EU Protocol.

The EU’s PGI scheme could deliver economically for many qualifying businesses across the north through the successful registration of ‘Irish Grass-Fed Beef’ as studies carried out by the European Commission found out that the sales value of PGI meat products was on average 1.2 times the sales value for comparable standard products without the GI label". 

The Councillor continued "The announcement from the EU Commission that the north should submit a ‘constructive opposition’ to officially communicate our desire to be included is great news and it is welcome news that a PGI working group has been set up in the Assembly to consider the technical specifications and verification criteria for Irish grass-fed beef.  

Cllr Oonagh Magennis

Local farmers deserve the opportunity to market local beef on an international stage given the high quality of our produce. There is a fear that because of Brexit that the market will be flooded with cheap beef from Argentina and Australia. Our local farmers deserve better and an opportunity to showcase their commitment to the quality of their produce". 

Cllr Magennis concluded  “On an all-island basis there is no difference between the beef of an animal raised in Antrim as opposed to one reared in Cork. The standard of the produce is on an even keel and should be recognised as such, so the EU Commission announcement regarding an all-island PGI for grass-fed beef is very welcome.”

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