Séamus Scallan, owner of the Wicklow Calf Company, has told the Irish Farmers Journal that he is about to seek planning permission for a 6,000-calf lairage facility in Rosslare.

The prominent calf exporter said he has purchased a farm seven minutes from Rosslare Port and is working with an architectural company from Holland on the design of a state-of-the-art premises.

The facility, if granted planning permission, will be designed for 16 to 20 trucks to load calves simultaneously and allow feeding for all calves in groups of 25 without being moved from their allocated pens. The lairage will be open to other exporters to use and will not be used exclusively by the Wicklow Calf Company.

Asked about the RTÉ Investigates footage of calves from his premises in Wicklow to Spain, which did not appear to adhere to the required rest stops, Scallan said that the journey was undertaken by a haulage company he hired in and so he could not answer. However, he added that he believed that anyone who broke any law should be dismissed.

Calf exports

Data for 2023 shows calf exports underpinning the lift in exports, with 195,874 calves leaving the country in 2023. This represents an increase of 33,576 head or 20.7% year-on-year.