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Poultry imports 'tsunami' hits Irish farmers

Poultry and egg processors have warned that a 'tsunami' of imports supplying the retail and catering sector has left the Irish poultry industry fighting for survival.

Poultry meat imports into Ireland have increased by 74pc from 49,133t in 2002 to 85,361t in 2011.

Imports from Brazil increased by 245pc from 1,165t in 2002 to 4,022t in 2011, while imports from Thailand rose by 472pc from 1,227t to 7,029t last year.

More than 100 producers and processors attended a crisis meeting in Cootehill, Co Cavan on Friday night, where they warned that thousands of Irish jobs were under threat unless the poultry industry stayed viable.

The meeting was organised by northwest MEP Marian Harkin.

The producers and processors group is now seeking urgent talks with Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and will lobby him for the establishment of a new Poultry Council.

The new body would, it was claimed, lead to marketing stability with uniform support for all facets of the industry from egg and chicken production right through to retail distribution.

Meanwhile, farmers in the southeast are anxiously waiting for a High Court judgement that will decide the fate of Cappoquin Poultry tomorrow.

The beleagured company, which has been in examinership since August, is at the centre of last-ditch rescue efforts by a group of local chicken suppliers.

Cappoquin Poultry Co-op, a group of more than 20 chicken farmers, and a business consortium led by Dr Sean Brady put in a joint bid to buy the troubled company after it racked up debts of €6m.

It is understood that they offered a sum in the region of €650,000 for Cappoquin Poultry Ltd and Cappoquin Poultry Holdings Ltd.

However, the deal must be approved in the High Court tomorrow before it gets the green light.

Agreed

Examiner Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton, who was appointed to both companies four months ago, confirmed on Friday that the required majority of creditors had agreed to a potential buy-out.

Five of the eight creditors of Cappoquin Poultry Ltd agreed to the plan on Thursday, while two of the five creditors of Cappoquin Poultry Holdings Ltd accepted the plan.

Unsecured creditors will be paid just 2.5 cent in the euro owed under the deal.

Among the biggest unsecured creditors to Cappoquin was feed supplier Henry Good, who was owed almost €4m.

Indo Farming