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IFA calls for commission to solve beef price stalemate as protests continue

A man was arrested in Cavan outside a meat processing plant today.

IFA President Joe Healy speaking to media at the High Court last month.
IFA President Joe Healy speaking to media at the High Court last month.
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

A COMMISSION ON beef pricing could provide a solution to the stalemate between farmers and the meat industry, the Irish Farmers’ Association has said. 

President of the IFA Joe Healy today called for a commission on the beef industry as protests continue at meat factories across the country. 

After a draft deal negotiated by the Beef Plan Movement was rejected by farmers last month, individual protests have continued with meat plants and factories targeted. 

Tensions have risen in recent days after a man drove a tractor into a wall in Ballyjamesduff on Friday, with trade unions warning that the protests pose a threat to the livelihoods of workers. 

Today, Gardaí confirmed that a man had been arrested outside a meat processing plant in Ballyjamesduff in Cavan earlier this afternoon. 

The IFA, which took part in the talks with Meat Industry Ireland, now wants the agriculture minister Michael Creed to establish a commission on price transparency in the meat sector supply chain. 

The commission, Healy said, would have full access to the financial data of meat plants and retailers and should establish how much they’re paid for beef. 

“Full transparency on the price along the chain must be an essential element of the investigation,” Healy said.

Healy also called for a price commitment from factories and an assurance from the Department of Agriculture for a Brexit support scheme for farmers who sold cattle after 12 May. 

“Farmers are entitled to know the truth about who is making what from their cattle in the beef supply chain,” Healy said. 

This is the latest suggestion on how to break the impasse after the breakdown of a proposed deal. The Beef Plan Movement, which organised the initial wave of protests that led to negotiations, has backed down from direct protests in recent weeks following the threat of legal action.  

‘Escalation’ 

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said that the “protests seem to have escalated”.

Murphy said that the government was trying to find a solution “that will work for people on both sides of the equation”. 

While not commenting on the arrest in Cavan, Murphy was critical of any escalation by farmers involved in the long-running dispute. 

“People have a right to protest but it has to be peaceful,” he said. 

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