IFA President Joe Healy has acknowledged the announcement by the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed that capacity in lairage facilities in Cherbourg will increase to accommodate an additional 400 calves per day. However, he said more spaces are needed urgently.
“IFA has been in regular contact with the two lairage operators in Cherbourg. The other operator is willing to increase his capacity by another 600 calves, but his premises needs approval from the French authorities to do this,” said Joe Healy.
“We have IFA personnel on the ground in Cherbourg and we are talking directly to the lairage operators to try and create this extra capacity,” he said.
“We have repeatedly asked the Minister to speak to his counterpart in France to ask the authorities in Cherbourg to work with both lairage operators to get approval for the extra spaces. We need to see far greater urgency from the Minister and the Department to resolve this crisis,” said Joe Healy.
“The Minister seems to be claiming credit for these 400 extra spaces, but he must drive on and get the other 600 places on stream now,” he said.
The IFA President said: “An IFA delegation including our Dairy Chair Tom Phelan, Executive Secretary Catherine Lascurettes and Livestock Chair Angus Woods visited Cherbourg in February. We have been in constant contact with both lairage operators since then. The extra space announced by the Minister does not come close to addressing the current export crisis facing farmers”.