Warning that Laois Offaly butchers face the chop if dispute is not resolved

Conor Ganly

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Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

Warning that Laois Offaly butchers face the chop if dispute is not resolved

Sinn Féin TD warns about a threat to local butcherPicture: Pixabay

Butcher shops and artisan meat retailers in Laois and Offaly face possible closure before Christmas if the ongoing dispute over funding between the Food Safety Authority Ireland (FSAI) and county managers is not resolved, according to Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley.

The Laois Offaly TD says the buthers are caught in the crossfire.

"Vets employed by the Local Authority Veterinary Service (LAVS) which oversees the operation of small abattoirs are employed by county councils who in turn are reimbursed by the FSAI.

"The current extension to the contract is due to run out in a month’s time and the abattoirs cannot operate without the supervision and weekly inspections carried out by the local authority vets.

"This presents a direct threat to jobs and local butcher shops right across Laois and Offaly in the run up to Christmas. These businesses have provided an excellent service right throughout the past 8 months, during what has been a difficult time for everyone.

"The breakdown in the negotiations centres on a funding figure of approximately €1.2 million, which the County and City Managers Association (CCMA) are holding out on to continue financing the service for the remainder of the year. The contract for the Council Vets has already been extended on a temporary basis a number of times this year but negotiations are now deadlocked," he said.

Dep Stanly said farmers have a stake in the issue.

"Given the dominance of a handful of large meat processing companies in the sector, it is important for farmers that these small local abattoirs continue to operate. They provide an important outlet for animals and any halt to the service will reduce options for farmers and competition in the sector.

"A swift resolution is needed to put this important supply chain for butcher on a secure footing, not just in the run in to Christmas, but out into the future. I have requested the Minister for Agriculture and Food to intervene directly and meet with both sides to try and resolve the dispute as quickly as possible,” concluded the TD.