FINANCE Minister Sammy Wilson was the guest speaker when leading figures from Northern Ireland’s meat industry, along with farming leaders and senior Government officials, gathered this week for the NI Meat Exporters’ Association bi annual networking dinner in the LA Mon Hotel.
Mr Wilson emphasised the importance of the beef and sheep industry to the local economy, highlighting that it was currently generating 80 percent of its sales outside Northern Ireland.
The minister also praised the meat sector’s tremendous growth in recent years, achieved in spite of the economic recession.
NIMEA president Campbell Tweedie welcomed the minister’s comments.
Mr Tweedie also paid tribute to the Minister of Agriculture, Michelle O’Neill, for her robust defence of the Northern Ireland beef industry following the recent European wide issues with horsemeat entering the further-processed meat chain. He thanked FSA and DARD veterinary offiails for their work in getting to grips with the issue.
The nominated charity for the evening, which was sponsored by PwC and Invest NI, was the Princes Trust. A total of £1,460 was raised for the Trust through a raffle for prizes sponsored by La Mon Hotel and Duncrue Food Processors.
Proceedings were brought to a close by well-known local entertainer, Tim McGarry, with his irreverent look at local political and industry issues.