Minister McConalogue announces approval of Old Irish Goat breed as a Native rare breed, with the conservation status of ‘at risk’

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD, today announced the approval of the Old Irish Goat breed as a Native Rare breed to Ireland.  Its recognition as a breed is based on extensive DNA profiling using the latest Genotyping technology and is an important step in the conservation of this rare breed.

Minister McConalogue said: “I am pleased to announce that the Old Irish Goat is now classed as a native rare breed. There are many factors such as cultural, historic, and genetic diversity that make the Old Irish Goat a unique breed with a rich history unique to Ireland. The Old Irish Goat is celebrated in Irish folklore, tradition, paintings and literature.

“By virtue of their hardiness, they provided a crucial component of Ireland’s past farming and rural life. Today they provide an important resource in conservation grazing, heritage and tourism. I recently saw first-hand the benefit these goats play at Howth Head in controlling gorse and helping to reduce the risk of fires with their amazing skilled grazing techniques. ”

“The Old Irish Goat Society is now also recognised by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) as a breed society and approved to maintain a breeding programme for the breed in Ireland. I particularly thank the efforts of this dedicated core of breeders and community activists in collecting and selective breeding of these animals, the Old Irish Goat can now be recognised officially as a key part of the rich and unique history of Irish breeds.

Minister Pippa Hackett, speaking at the Second National Biodiversity Conference in Dublin Castle today, welcomed this announcement which demonstrates the valuable contribution of Irish farmers to biodiversity goals.  The Minister said, “It’s important we acknowledge the value of Animal Genetic Resources to supporting Biodiversity mix across the country and the role and dedication of the Old Irish Goat Society in achieving this status.”  In conclusion, she took the opportunity of “Wishing the Old Irish Goat Society every success in their endeavours in the preservation and promotion of the breed”.