Rise in lamb consumption sees Ireland buck EU trend
Ireland bucked the trend in Europe last year to record an increase in lamb consumption.
James Murphy, the IFA sheep committee chairman, maintained that consumption on the domestic market may have risen by as much as 5pc over the past year.
This result runs counter to trends in other EU member states, where lamb sales have fallen steadily in recent years.
Consumption of lamb in Britain fell by more than 15pc last year, while the market in France stayed under pressure.
Mr Murphy said sales of lamb on the home market this Christmas had been particularly strong, with a decidedly "festive" feel to the trade.
He said Bord Bia, lamb processors and the IFA had all worked hard at addressing the issue of falling consumption, and the lift in sales last year was a testament to those efforts.
However, Mr Murphy warned that the solution to falling sheep meat consumption across Europe could not be cheaper lamb.
He said lamb prices would have to be maintained at last year's levels if the recovery in the sheep sector was to be maintained.