Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
489. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to review live exports of cattle to third countries by ship; and his further plans to introduce a moratorium on same in view of a recent disaster (details supplied). [51669/19]
490. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the contingency plans in place in cases in which a live transport disaster such as recently occurred in Romania befalls a ship carrying live Irish cattle in view of the fact that the use of ships to transport live cattle is covered by Council Regulation (EC) No. 1/2005 within and outside the EU for the full extent of the journey. [51670/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 489 and 490 together.
The relevant conditions of both Council Regulation 1/2005 and S.I. 256 of 2016 were met by Ireland in the issuing of the temporary certificate of approval in 2018 for the vessel mentioned. This temporary certificate issued on 15th February 2018 for a six month period and therefore covered the journeys in question.
The episode off the coast of Romania referred to by the Deputy was indeed distressing and no doubt will be fully investigated by the relevant authorities to establish its cause. My Department implements the most stringent system of controls on the welfare of animals being exported. In addition to meeting the provisions of Council Regulation 1/2005, Ireland implements a comprehensive legislative framework relating to the transport of animals by sea (The Carriage of Livestock by Sea Regulations 2016 (S.I. 356 of 2016). This legislation goes above and beyond the requirements of the EU Council Regulation.
In relation to safety issues, this legislation ensures that Ireland's standards are recognised as among the most comprehensive in the world. The status, organisation and operating companies involved are subjected to examination. In turn, the vessels are subject to stringent checks by expert veterinary officials and marine surveyors. Stability calculations are undertaken for every voyage and clear instructions on acceptable weather conditions are issued prior to allowing the vessels to depart.