Published: Tue, 06 October 2015
MEP for Ireland South, Seán Kelly, today gave his support for the extension on Geographic Indicators in the EU beyond just agricultural products, saying that doing this can potentially put additional revenue in the pockets of local producers.
Speaking in the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg last night (Monday) the Kerry native used the example of the Waterford Blaa and the success it has had since obtaining GI status in 2013:
“Geographical Indication for agricultural products have been important and in my own constituency, in Waterford, getting GI status for the Blaa has increased its market opportunities, made it far more well known, and now everybody who goes to Waterford wants, first and foremost, to have a Waterford Blaa”
Geographical indications (GI) are indications that identify goods as originating in a country, region or place where a particular quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. Currently, only agricultural products of a specific geographical origin with certain qualities or which are made according to traditional methods may be granted EU-wide unitary GI protection.
MEP Kelly is among a large number of Parliamentarians calling for this to be extended to non-agricultural products.
“It is a logical step to extend Geographical Indication beyond agricultural products. This is all about the people behind the product, the sense of authenticity, the heritage, quality and personality behind the brand. Geographical Indication gives these products EU-wide recognition and helps to extend the customer reach and open up new markets. We have seen this with the Blaa
“This is no different from non-agricultural products – if we stay with Waterford as an example, the world famous Waterford Crystal has gone through hard times, but if it were to get geographical indication, it would be a huge boost to its products, fostering growth and recreating some of the jobs that were lost in Waterford in the process”.
“By recognising non-agricultural products for the traditions and techniques from which they are produced, we can give a new lease of life to products such as Waterford Crystal, putting additional revenue into the pockets of the producers and improving the local economies around the country”, he concluded.