THE Greens have signed a new initiative in Cabinet to promote grass-fed Irish beef as a protected and defining national quality product.
Now the EU is being asked for approval, which would give Irish beef the same unique designation as champagne as a distinctly French regional product.
A Green Party spokesman defended the move, which comes at a time when Eamon Ryan has been speaking for the first time about reducing the number of national herds and the need for agriculture and the beef sector to make broad emissions reduction commitments.
Meanwhile, government sources admitted it was “disappointing” that less than half of all climate-related tasks due for completion in the second quarter of this year have been achieved.
Only 45 percent of the 277 separate jobs to be completed between March and June this year under the climate action plan agreed late last year have been achieved.
A spokesman for Eamon Ryan, asked if the high failure rate of 55 per cent goes against the Greens’ call for farmers to do more, commented: “This underscores the importance of us all getting behind the wheel put.”
Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue briefed Cabinet on a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) application for Irish grass-fed beef after his ministry and An Bord Bia, along with their Northern Ireland counterparts, agreed that this would apply island-wide.
It would give Irish beef premium status, much like the Kerrygold brand did for Irish butter.
The European Commission will now consider next steps – including a three-month deadline for other European countries to contest the idea of Irish beef itself officially being marketed as something special.
Under EU authorization, products can be registered and protected internationally once they are deemed to have an intrinsic link between their defining properties or characteristics and their place of origin.
The PGI already applies to a range of agricultural products, from cheese and wine to other beverages and foods.
“We have no problem with that,” said a spokesman for the Greens. “We are very supportive of our beef and dairy sectors. But as with all sectors, there is a need to cut emissions across the board.”
Asked whether consumers should be eating less Irish beef, he said: “A balanced diet is very important for everyone. We tend not to lecture anyone.”
At the same time, the fulfillment of the climate tasks specified in the climate protection plan collapsed in the second quarter – after 85 percent of the jobs assigned to the first three months of 2022 were achieved.
This fell to less than half of the items allocated for the second quarter, bringing the cumulative percentage of completions down to 71 percent.
Officials blamed the length of stakeholder consultations and capacity/skill issues.
A Green spokesman said the 45 percent success rate in the second quarter indicates the need to now “boost” delivery levels in the July, August and September quarters, which are often a slower time due to the summer vacation.
https://www.independent.ie/news/greens-sign-off-on-new-drive-to-champion-grass-fed-irish-beef-as-a-protected-and-defining-national-quality-product-41872759.html Greens approve a new initiative to champion grass-fed Irish beef as a protected and defining national quality product