Dáil debates

Thursday, 22 November 2007

3:00 pm

Photo of Michael CreedMichael Creed (Cork North West, Fine Gael)

I invite the Minister to prize herself from the fence on this matter. It is as simple as this — if she is not with us, she is against us, meaning Irish beef producers and consumers. Those with responsibility at European level must be informed and the debate must be led at a political level. Does the Minister find the report worrying, particularly that the Brazilian state veterinary service had no systematic audit system in place for animal health and that no criteria for such an audit had been established? I ask this in respect of the need to ensure a level playing pitch for Irish food producers and the beef sector and to ensure safety for consumers. This is the case, notwithstanding that the issue had been flagged in a previous Food and Veterinary Office report. Is it not worrying for consumers that cold stores in ports dealing with beef destined for Europe were not audited and that there was a lack of adequately trained staff in the state veterinary service? The list of findings against the state authorities in respect of requirements clearly outlined in previous reports is startling. Will the Minister become an advocate for change in order that we can speak to DG SANCO and Commissioner Kyprianou, with whom the Minister deals regularly? Must we put up with a situation where the Brazilians are continually given another chance to get their house in order?


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