Some 3,918 employment permits have been issued by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment to date this year for the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors.
This is the largest number of permits to be issued over the last five years.
In total to date this year across all sectors of the economy, 27,653 employment permits have been issued.
In agriculture, some 1,400 of these permits were issued in the month of April. The total number is likely to surpass 4,000 by the end of the year.
Employment permits issued for agriculture over the last five years are as follows:
Many of the employment permits are for workers in the country’s meat processing industry, with 1,849 of the permits, almost 50%, being issued for the sector.
To date this year, Dawn Meats, across a number of its factories, has been granted 664 permits.
Anglo Beef Processors (ABP) has been granted 378 workers under the employment permit system.
Slaney Foods International and Irish Country Meats, both owned by the ABP Group, have been granted 140 and 121 permits for workers respectively.
Some 254 permits have been granted for Kepak, while Liffey Meats has 225 workers under the system.
Kavanagh Meats in Wexford has been granted 28 workers under the system and Jennings’ in Mayo has been granted nine workers under the system.
Ashbourne Meats in Tipperary has 21 employees under the scheme, while Dunleavy Meats in Mayo has been granted nine workers.