IBLA hosting Mayo sheep information night

THE Irish Beef and Lamb Association are holding a sheep information night on Friday, November 24, at 8.30 p.m. in the McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris.

Topics to be discussed on the night are the importation of on average 443,905 head of sheep from the UK into Ireland. The IBLA estimates these sheep are approximately a 21kg carcass weight which is equivalent to 9,322 tonnes of sheep meat as per the figures recorded by TRACES.

IBLA is using the Irish parliamentary question process to establish the facts as to where this sheep meat has gone to. It has submitted the question and, as yet, it has not been answered.

Sheep meat exports for the last five years (2018 - 2022) average 54,000 tonnes. Based on observations of live animals being transported, imports, they say, are predominantly lamb and not older sheep and none of the meat from these animals has been recorded as exports and non Irish origin on TRACES.

IBLA is of the opinion that UK lamb is being used to undermine and reduce the price paid to Irish farmers for their lamb.

IBLA also wishes to discuss the benefits of forward contracts (supply chain agreement) in the sheep industry and how farmers might be able to achieve such supply contracts. If contracts were introduced, it would spread some of the financial risk off the primary producers (farmers) and bring more certainty to Irish farmers for their quality products.

Major retailers are already doing contracts with meat processors, and contracts are up to two years. There's no reason why meat processors can't give farmers forward contracts as is seen in other industries.