26 May 1998
Ulster beef ban to be lifted
by 1 June — confirmed
By Johann Tasker in Brussels
EUROPEAN farm ministers meeting in Brussels are expected to announce tomorrow (Wednesday) that beef exports from Northern Ireland can resume on 1 June.
The final paper on the matter will be presented to ministers for ratification at tomorrows farm council meeting.
Speaking from Brussels, UK farm minister Dr Jack Cunningham said: “It is absolutely vital that this scheme is finally verified and I fully expect that to happen.
“Of course people have to get back into the market, but this is excellent news for Northern Ireland and for the economy of Northern Ireland.”
Dr Cunningham reiterated past comments that British beef was as safe, if not safer, than any other beef produced in the EU.
But the rest of the UKs best hopes of getting the beef ban lifted hinge on the acceptance the date-based scheme. The scheme, which would allow for the export of beef from animals born after 1 August 1996, is already being considered by EU farm commissioner Franz Fischler.
“I hope that before too much longer – although this is not in my hands – that we shall see a definitive proposal from the commission,” Dr Cunningham added.