Ireland's Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has confirmed that the country's application to the European Commission for protected geographic indication (PGI) status for ‘Irish Grass Fed Beef’ will also cover beef from Northern Ireland.

Speaking this evening (Monday, July 11), Minister McConalogue said: ““I am very pleased that consultations between my department and Bord Bia with their Northern Ireland and UK counterparts have successfully concluded, with agreement that the geographical area covered by the application will cover both Ireland and Northern Ireland.”

The minister said that he had been committed to extending the PGI application on an all-island basis, and that he has discussed this issue with his northern counterpart Minister Edwin Poots on a number of occasions, including as recently as this afternoon.

He explained that the commission will now be notified of this agreement, saying: “I hope that the remaining steps can be progressed quickly, so that the process for registration may be finalised by the European Commission as soon as possible.”

“I want the PGI for Irish Grass Fed Beef to be of real benefit to the suckler and beef farmers on the island as a reward for their hard work, commitment and dedication to producing a world-class beef product. I am excited to see the process come to a conclusion as soon as possible,” Minister McConalogue commented.

Interim CEO of the Bord Bia (the Republic of Ireland's food promotion agency), Michael Murphy, also welcomed the agreement, saying: “We are now progressing our approach to the implementation of the PGI for Irish Grass Fed Beef in our European markets, pending the successful completion of the application process.”

Murphy argued that PGI status “presents a significant opportunity to add value for beef exports to key markets based on a well-established reputation of excellent quality.”

The revised specification will be published shortly. The European Commission will advise on the next steps.

Because of the change to the geographical area, this will require a further publication and consultation period at EU and third country (non-EU) level.