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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 14 October, 2019

Michael Creed warns that protests could damage Irish beef's international reputation

The Agriculture Minister was speaking at the National Ploughing Championships in Carlow.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister Michael Creed.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister Michael Creed.
Image: Eamonn Farrell

MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE Michael Creed has said that a “critical tipping point” had been reached in the beef farmers protest, and that it could damage Irish beef’s international reputation. 

Speaking to media organisations including the Farmers Journal, Creed said that he would like to acknowledge the work done by seven farming organisations to reach an agreement, which ensured that all legal action taken by meat processors will be dropped when the picketing stops.

The agreement is very clear – all legal proceedings disappear when all pickets are being dispatched.

An agreement was made between representatives of farming organisations and Meat Industry Ireland following talks with Minister Creed.

It allowed for increased bonuses for farmers based on the animals’ ages and residency period as well as the withdrawal of all legal actions, in exchange for farmers discontinuing the blockades.

Although the Irish Farmers Association and the Beef Plan Movement have asked farmers to stand down pickets and allow trucks in and out of meat processing factories, which has been ongoing for several weeks now.

In the past few days, this blockade has lead to shortages of beef in restaurants and supermarkets in Ireland. 

He said that he was asking “everybody to reflect on now – our reputation is important for us”. 

We live or die by our international trade, our internal market is small. This market is in over supply in the European Union, so it is competitive, it’s cutthroat.

“There are many who would willingly knock us off our perch. That is where we are in this critical tipping point in this debate.”

Creed also asked protesting farmers to listen to “the farming organisations who negotiated on their behalf”. 

On Tuesday, President Michael D Higgins said he was concerned about “the vulnerability of primary producers” in the face of a retail environment “that is increasingly concentrated and dominated by a small number”.

“…Family farms are entitled to a fair return from what they produce. I welcome the public discussion on what is a fair share of return between producer, processor, retailer and consumer.”

Farmers are the guardians of the land for future generations, and I know you take your responsibilities very seriously.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has called for an end to the ongoing protests and blockades at meat processing plants in the Dáil, after TDs returned from their summer break.

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