The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said that he is hopeful of a favourable outcome from recent negotiations on opening the Turkish markets to live cattle exports.

Creed says good progress has been made in securing access to a number new markets for live cattle exports to non-EU countries.

In relation to Turkey, a Turkish delegation visited Ireland earlier this month to discuss certification and a number of associated issues.

The Minister said in the course of their visit they met with officials from the Department of Agriculture and visited the Central Veterinary Laboratory, farms and cattle assembly centres.

“The Turkish delegation indicated that they would be submitting a report to their authorities.

“A decision is now awaited. I am hopeful of a favourable outcome to this process,” the Minister said.

Intense negotiations took place this week between Turkish buyers and Irish live exporters and Viastar in recent weeks.

The Turkish buyers were described as being ‘keen’ to purchase stock from Ireland. It is understood that Ireland’s current status of being free of bluetongue is a key selling point.

The Irish live exporters confirmed that both sides are now ‘pretty much’ agreed on the price of the stock and praised the work of the Department of Agriculture in progressing the negotiations.

Procurement and transport of the stock for Turkey is already said to be in place and it is hoped cattle will be shipped in the next month or so.

With regard to Egypt, Minister Creed has said a certificate in respect of live cattle exports to that country is already in place and commercial activity is awaited.

In the case of Iran, the Minister said the market there is for beef, not live cattle. “A delegation from my Department recently visited that country and prospects for re-opening the beef market there remain good,” he said.