Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue:

‘Industry must lead seed potato sector growth’

Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue has said that growing the Irish seed potato sector must be led by the industry. Currently, as a result of Brexit, the importation of seed potato from Britain is banned under EU plant health regulations.

The UK has applied for the export of certified seed potatoes under Article 44 of the regulations. However, the EU has refused on the basis that the UK’s plant health standards are not ‘dynamically aligned’ to EU legislation.

Senator Victor Boyhan told the minister that he has received a substantial amount of correspondence from Irish potato growers on the matter. In response, Minister McConalogue said that is he a “very strong proponent” for seed potatoes: “It’s a sector with great potential. I’m committed to seeing it growing again and to be restored to its heyday. This must be led by the industry with support from my department.”

He explained that the EU Commission had maintained its position on banning the UK imports despite numerous engagements with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. However, McConalogue believed that this decision provides “a real opportunity for the revival of domestic potato seed production”.


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