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Minister for Agriculture has met representatives from both sides of the beef dispute

It comes after talks between both parties broke down earlier this week.

Image: Leah Farrell

Updated Wed 9:00 PM

AGRICULTURE MINISTER MICHAEL Creed has met representatives from both sides of the ongoing beef dispute in a bid to get stalled talks moving again. 

It is understood the minister met representatives from Meat Industries Ireland (MII) this afternoon and representatives from farming organisations this evening. 

A spokesperson for the minister said that the meetings were “constructive” but did not go into further detail. 

“All sides have outlined their positions in terms of what’s required to reconvene the process [of talks],” the spokesperson said. 

“The Minister and his officials will continue to engage with all stakeholders in an effort to convene talks at the nearest possible opportunity.” 

Talks between both parties broke down earlier this week with Creed saying at the time: “I am concerned that [these] events will only serve to entrench positions and risk prolonging this very damaging dispute”.

The row centres around the prices farmer are getting for cattle which are down on last year. The dispute has seen unofficial pickets by farmers at processing facilities around the country.

Meat Industry Ireland yesterday said that 3,000 people were laid off in the beef industry as a result of the beef dispute, sparking criticism from farmers who say the industry is now using the employees as leverage. 

Trade union Siptu, which represents workers in the meat industry, today called on the government to form a taskforce to tackle the ongoing dispute.

“This is a crisis in one of the most important economic sectors in the State. As such it’s underlying causes must be examined so that a long-lasting solution can be urgently arrived at which ensures the industry has a sustainable future,” Siptu organiser Denis Gormalley said. 

“Our members, whose livelihoods are threatened by this crisis are not on high wages and cannot afford to sustain any loss of earnings,” he added. 

Speaking on Morning Ireland this morning, IFA president Joe Healy made a call for the minister to step up his engagement. 

“He definitely can’t wash his hand out of it. It’s very clear that every one of the processors needs the minister and the Department of Agriculture every day that they’re open, need the involvement of the Department so the minister has a grip over them,” he said. 

“It’s sad that it has come to a situation that Meet Industry Ireland needs someone to put a hex on them and get them back into the talks… You won’t find a solution if you’re not at the table.”

TheJournal.ie has contacted  both the Irish Farmers Association and Meat Industry Ireland for a comment and is awaiting a reply.

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