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Minister Coughlan Welcomes The Re-Opening Of The Saudi Arabian Market For Irish Beef

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today welcomed the decision by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to lift the temporary ban on Irish beef, which has been in place since 2000. The market is being reopened under the conditions recommended by Saudi experts who visited Ireland in June.

The Minister said this positive news was the result of intensive efforts at political, diplomatic and technical level especially since the beginning of this year. Following on from the visit by the Taoiseach and herself earlier this year, her Department in co-operation with An Bord Bia and the Department of Foreign Affairs had been working intensely to have the temporary ban removed.

Minister Coughlan said "This is a very welcome decision as Saudi was traditionally an important market for Irish beef. The decision by the competent authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to reopen their market to Irish beef was taken following an on-the-spot examination of the rigorous controls applied and reflects the high standards of food safety controls in place in Ireland".

The Minister said that she expected trade to resume as soon as the individual slaughter plants designated to supply the market are approved by the Saudi authorities.

10 October, 2007

Note for Editors

The Saudi Arabian market was closed to Irish beef following the disclosure of BSE in Europe in 2000. Exports in the year prior to the ban amounted to 25,000 tonnes annually, valued at approximately €33m.

Date Released: 10 October 2007