TDs unite in anger at Welsh farmers

 

The Minister for Agriculture, Mr Walsh, told the Dail he made the "strongest possible representations" to the Welsh Secretary of State over the blockade at Holyhead by Welsh farmers who dumped a consignment of Irish beef into the sea.

He said it had been made clear to the Welsh Secretary Mr Ron Davies that "the UK was an extremely important market for us and that everything possible should be done to allow our product be exported and traded there without restriction or impediment".

The Minister told deputies that the British authorities "have fully accepted the validity of our complaint".

He welcomed the statement by them and the Minister for Agriculture, Dr Jack Cunningham, condemning the action of the Welsh farmers.

Mr Tommy Broughan (Labour, Dublin North East) said the action was an "outrageous, unjustified attack on our produce". He believed that to present a view of being "too conciliatory might be the wrong approach at this particular stage".

Mr Walsh insisted he had made the "strongest possible representations to the UK and there was no question of any conciliatory references by me".

Mr Eamon Gilmore (DL, Dun Laoghaire) asked what practical measures the Secretary of State intended to take to ensure that there would be no recurrence.

The Minister said the Welsh Secretary had made direct contact with the police authorities. Mr Hugh Coveney (FG, Cork South Central) asked how a cavalcade of 400 cars could be given access to a private port "in an outrageously illegal fashion".

Mr Walsh said the group was a "maverick group" which did not have the authority of the Welsh Farmers' Union.