Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has secured agreement from the Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing to look again at potential options for securing a locally-based abattoir in Orkney.
During ministerial question time in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon, during an exchange on the importance of local food and drink, Mr McArthur took the opportunity of again highlighting the impact that the abattoir’s closure would have on the promotion of Orkney beef and lamb.
In response, Rural Affairs Minister, Mairi Gougeon accepted that Orkney beef and lamb is not only important to the food and drink sector in the islands, but for Scotland as a whole. She agreed to look at ways the Scottish Government may be able to help in identifying potential options.
Mr McArthur subsequently spoke to the Cabinet Secretary, Mr Ewing who confirmed that he and his officials would re-engage with Orkney Islands Council, the local NFUS, Orkney Mart and others to see what more could be done to secure a local abattoir facility.
Commenting afterwards, Mr McArthur said:
“It remains a concern that Orkney continues to be without a local abattoir. I am very conscious that the longer this remains the case, the more it will be to find a solution.
“I welcome the Cabinet Secretary’s willingness to re-engage with the Council and other local stakeholders in Orkney in an attempt to make sure that all possible options are fully explored. Mr Ewing acknowledged the importance of the Orkney beef and lamb brands not just to the islands’ but Scotland’s food and drink sector. I hope, even at this late stage, that a solution can be found”.