By Tim Relf in Ireland
IRISH beef farmers should target Britain and other valuable EU consumer markets in their efforts to kick-start their export trade, rather than focusing on vulnerable third country orders.
According to Tom Parlon, president of the Irish Farmers Association, such steps are necessary to limit the affects of Agenda 2000 proposals which threaten to cost Irish farmers £250 million.
Speaking to reporters in Kilkenny, Mr Parlon said Ireland had much to gain from this weeks lifting of the export ban because pre-BSE it was the most beef export-dependent nation in Europe.
But Agenda 2000 proposals to cut the countrys share of the Brussels beef subsidy from 12.5% to 7% and reduce beef prices by 30% could have potentially devastating effects, he added.
However those effects could be partially offset by exporting Irish beef to Britain and other EU countries which are more lucrative destinations than third country outlets, Mr Parlon said.