Declan O'Brien: Beef exports up by 8pc despite horsemeat woe
There was good news for the Irish food and drinks industry last week with the announcement by Bord Bia that exports were up 8pc for the first six months of the year.
Surprisingly, the star sector was beef, with volume growth in exports from January to June up 10pc and price growth up 5pc. This helped drive total beef exports to €1.1bn for the first half of the year.
The sterling performance of beef exports must be all the more satisfying for those involved in the industry given the appalling start to the year that the horsemeat scandal delivered.
Indeed, if you'd said at the height of the scare in February that beef sales would actually improve as a result of it, questions would have been asked of your sanity.
Commenting on the increase in beef sales, the head of Bord Bia, Aidan Cotter, attributed it in part to the fact that 85pc of Irish beef production is being sourced from quality approved farms.
He might be right. The Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme has certainly helped secure contracts from some of the major retailers and buyers across Britain and mainland Europe for Irish processors.
Indeed, these contracts, particularly in Britain, have helped drive the Irish beef price to 9pc above the EU average.
However, the sceptic in me would argue that the improved export performance has a lot more to do with beef supplies than anything else.