Beef imports have fallen 'significantly' since 2010
Beef imports were averaging close to 1,000t per week in 2010, equivalent to around 3,000 cattle, but fell to half that level in 2013, figures from the Central Statistics office (CSO) confirm.
Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney, said while more than 46,000t of beef per annum was imported in recent years, he claimed the volume had declined significantly in 2013.
However, the minister confirmed that beef import statistics compiled by CSO do not include imports by individual Irish companies where the value of imports is less than €191,000 in a single year.
He told Fianna Fáil's agriculture spokesman, Éamon Ó Cuív, that between 2010 and 2013 beef imports recorded by the CSO were 40,174t, 46,137t, 41,448t and 26,030t.
No information was available on the breakdown of the countries of origin of the beef or if the beef had been re-exported following processing in this country.
"Ireland is of course the largest net exporter of beef in the Northern Hemisphere and exported some 530,000t of beef in 2014," Minister Coveney pointed out.