The Northern Ireland Meat Exporters Association (NIMEA) has announced the appointment of Daryl McLaughlin as its new chief executive.

McLaughlin was announced as the association’s new chief executive at the Northern Ireland Food Chain Certification (NIFCC) AGM in Lisburn last week. He is taking over from Conall Donnelly.

He was previously employed at the Northern Ireland Livestock & Meat Commission (LMC) before becoming the policy officer for Beef & Lamb and Hill Farming at the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

McLaughlin is from a north-west beef farming family and NIMEA said he will bring a “wealth of knowledge of the red meat sector” to the role of NIMEA chief executive.

Welcoming McLaughlin, chair of NIMEA Campbell Tweedie said: “We are delighted to have secured Daryl for this position.

“As we seek to enhance the sustainability of Northern Irish red meat, Daryl will continue the great work of his predecessors acting as the voice of the red meat sector with policy makers.”

Commenting on his appointment, McLaughlin said:

“I am delighted to be representing the red meat sector at this crucial time. Northern Ireland already has an outstanding reputation for quality beef and lamb production.

“We need to build on that further by working across the supply chain and with government to deliver a positive future for livestock farming and red meat exports.

“A significant proportion of our private sector prosperity and rural economy depends on getting this right.”


McLaughlin said sustainability will be at the heart of every decision NIMEA takes as it strives to “be even better at what we do”.

“We have been involved in many new initiatives such as helping establish a Sustainable Ruminant Genetics programme; and a carbon benchmarking programme on a whole farm approach as well as co-designing a beef sustainability package to reduce the age at slaughter.

“This is only the beginning. There will be challenges ahead as our climate change legislation brings additional pressure for change. We must help identify the solutions and get out in front.

“That’s why we are stepping up to be a key part of the Sustainability Body for the NI Agri-Food Sector. Collaboration between industry, government and academia is critical.”

McLaughlin said the Northern Irish red meat sector has always “lagged” any other part of the British Isles for capital grant support.

“Our sector must be provided the right support to help it capitalise on new and emerging technology to decarbonise,” he said.

“This is key to long-term efficiency of the sector which goes hand in hand with sustainability. Clearly this means we need a functioning executive back at Stormont.”