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'Dominant' retailers must join beef protest negotiations, says IFA

Talks will take place today with the Beef Plan Movement.

Irish Farmers Association President Joe Healy joins protesters last month.
Irish Farmers Association President Joe Healy joins protesters last month.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE IRISH FARMERS’ Association (IFA) has said that retailers and the EU Commission must be part of discussions between the meat industry and the Beef Plan Movement. 

Talks will take place today aimed at ending the ongoing dispute over beef prices. 

“While the factories are the main problem, the retailer has a dominant role in the dysfunctional food chain that is not working for beef farmers. They need to be around the table tomorrow to account for their actions and to outline how they intend to address the problem,” IFA President Joe Healy said. 

Speaking at the Tullamore Show, Healy said that the EU Commission must explain why it’s allowing imports to threaten the EU beef market. 

“New EU legislation on the Agri Markets Task Force needs to be implemented here. It will require a new state agency with robust oversight and resources to enforce it,” he added.

Over the past couple of weeks, multiple protests organised by the Beef Plan Movement have taken place in 22 sites across the country. The group has been set up by farmers who argue that they’re not getting value for money for their cattle. 

Talks between Meat Industry Ireland and the group were announced late on Friday evening – all protests will be suspended until the talks have concluded.  

The IFA is also calling for the immediate payout of the €100 million Brexit compensation package for beef and suckler farmers announced in July. 

Also speaking at the Tullamore Show, IFA Treasurer Tim Cullinan said that the industry is in “free fall”. 

“If the €100m Brexit fund is paid out immediately it will put some confidence into mart sales and store prices,” he said. 

“The announcement of a €100 million Brexit fund was late coming in the first place, given the scale and duration of the beef crisis, and any further delay is intolerable and unnecessary,” Cullinan added. 

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