Ireland imported 435,088 live sheep last year, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has confirmed.

This was up slightly on 2022 figures, when 422,160 head of sheep were imported.

Numbers of sheep imports over the past seven years have stayed relatively stable, barring a dip to 367,936 head in 2021 and a peak of 521,798 head in 2018.

In response to a parliamentary question, Minister McConalogue gave both the head of live sheep and the tonnage of sheepmeat imported in recent years.


The tonnage of sheepmeat imported over the past 10 years was at its highest in 2023 and 2022.

Last year, 64,154t of sheepmeat was imported, while the figure was 66,273t in 2022.

Some 10 years ago, in 2014, the amount of sheepmeat brought into the country was 44,448t.

Sheepmeat imports rose over the following three years to 62,185t in 2017.

According to Bord Bia, some 77,000t of sheepmeat, worth €440m, was exported last year.