No move on EID sheep tags
NEW 12-digit tags for the electronic tagging (EID) of sheep will not be available to farmers for another month at least.
The Department of Agriculture confirmed that the tender process for supply of the tags had still not been completed, while a senior official predicted that a decision would not be taken ahead of the Easter break.
Farmer groups have been critical of delays in the assessing of tenders for the supply of the new tags. They claim the delays had contributed to the general uncertainty regarding EID.
Sheep exporters have warned that failure to move on EID could put the lucrative live export trade in jeopardy.
A Department statement said a "standard-based" approach, rather than a specific tender procedure, was adopted to approve companies for the supply of tags to Irish flockowners under the new National Sheep and Goat Identification System (NSIS II and NGIS II).
"A number of applications have recently been received and are in the process of being assessed with a view to approval in line with the standard document," the statement read.
"It is not proposed to confine approval to a sole supplier. It is felt that all companies that meet the conditions set down should be approved and the farmer himself should have the choice as to who to purchase tags from."