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Minister Coughlan launches Kepak "Irish Hill Lamb Initiative"

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, today launched the "Kepak Irish Hill Lamb Initiative". Speaking on her visit to the Kepak Athleague processing plant, the Minister said that the initiative would provide a valuable outlet for hill lamb producers on the Portuguese market. During the course of her visit to the plant the Minister met with a number of buyers from Portugal.

Minister Coughlan pointed out that sheep farming was a very important enterprise in Ireland's 1.5 million ha. of mountain, hill and peat lands. These most natural of surroundings were the source of our light lamb production. This lamb, when subjected to suitable husbandry practices, could find readily available market outlets in Southern European countries.

Regarding the sheep industry in general, the Minister expressed her full commitment to having the Recommendations of the recently published Sheep Industry Strategy Report implemented as quickly as possible. To this end, an Implementation Group drawn from representations of the industry - IFA, ICMSA, ICSA, Teagasc, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, Sheepmeat Processors, National Hill Farmers Association and the Department of Agriculture and Food - was being established to ensure that the necessary action was taken to provide for full implementation of the Report.

13 July, 2006

Date Released: 13 July 2006