Government urged to protect live cattle export trade in wake of TLT liabilities

Minister of State says receivership won’t have a major impact on trade

The Government has been urged to take action to protect the live cattle export industry, as a receiver continues working to establish the extent of TLT International’s liabilities.

The Government has been urged to take action to protect the live cattle export industry, as a receiver continues working to establish the extent of TLT International's liabilities. The State's largest livestock exporter, based in Mullingar, went into receivership on Friday after HSBC pulled its credit lines from the business.

Marts, and farmers who sold directly to TLT, are owed hundreds of thousands of euros for cattle.

Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley said he accepted that the Government could not get involved in the receivership process but it was incumbent on it to develop a strategy to protect the business of live cattle exports.

"You need to look at the livestock export trade and you need to find an appropriate mechanism and strategy to protect what is a sector under very considerable threat at the moment," he told Minister of State for Agriculture Tom Hayes during a special Dáil debate requested by Mr Dooley and Fianna Fáil colleague Robert Troy today.


TLT International accounted for the vast majority of weanling calves exported to Italy last year but Mr Hayes said he did not believe the receivership of the company would have a major impact on the weanling market. "Traditionally the peak weanling export trade takes places in the early autumn," he said. Mr Hayes added that the number of live exports to Italy had also declined significantly in recent years because cattle prices were strong here and farmers did not need another market.

“I should also emphasise that there are quite a few live exporters still in business are they are capable of taking up some of the slack,” he said.

Mr Troy said he had grave concerns about the impact of this receivership on the live export industry. He said it was not “right, accurate or fair” to say other live exporters would take up the slack. He also said TLT International was forced to go to HSBC because of the difficulty in accessing credit from an Irish bank. Mr Troy asked Mr Hayes to investigate why the company was not put into examinership, rather than receivership.

IFA president John Bryan said there was a lot of anger and concern that cattle bought by TLT were not paid for and these payments to marts and farmers must be prioritised. His livestock chairman Henry Burns said there was an urgent need for clarity on the extent of the creditors and debtors in TLT and he called on the receiver, Gearóid Costello of Grant Thornton, to make this information available.

On Tuesday, the receiver confirmed that 25 staff employed by the company had been given their redundancy notices. A spokesman for the receiver said there was no other option. “ The receiver and his team will be working immediately on processing the claims of the employees. The receiver will continue to work intensively over the coming days to establish the extent of the company’s liabilities, and maximize the recovery of funds for the company’s creditors.”

Alison Healy

Alison Healy

Alison Healy is a contributor to The Irish Times