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Agriculture minister appoints chair of new beef task force

The task force was agreed to by farmers and industry representatives following talks with the minister last month.

Image: Leah Farrell

AGRICULTURE MINISTER Michael Creed has announced the chair of a new beef market task force. 

The task force was agreed to by farmers and industry representatives following talks with the minister last month. 

Speaking in the Seanad on Thursday, Creed announced that Michael Dowling has been appointed as the independent chairman to lead the group. 

Dowling, a former Department of Agriculture secretary general, was involved in negotiations between beef farmers and industry representatives in September. 

The task force will be made up of department representatives, state agencies and members of farming organisations. 

Creed said the agreement was made “with a two strand-approach that aims to provide immediate financial benefits direct to beef farmers and address longer-term structural issues”. 

The first meeting of the task force has not been finalised yet “it will have its first meeting as soon as possible,” the minister said. 

Farmers began protesting back in July over the amount they were being paid by the industry for their produce. 

The protests later escalated to blockades at a number of plants, forcing dozens of meat factories to wind down their operations as no trucks could get in or out. 

The factories also reported temporary lay-offs of staff while the protests were ongoing. 

Minister Creed intervened later in the dispute and held a number of sessions with both sides of the dispute seeking a resolution. 

Following a thirty-hour period of negotiation with both sides, farmers agreed to stand down the protests in exchange for the establishment of a beef task force, as well as changes to the bonuses they were paid for their produce by meat factories. 

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