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New beef task force will meet for the first time today

It’s one of a number of measures agreed to last month in order to end a dispute between farmers and processors.

Image: Shutterstock/Fabiano's_Photo

A NEW BEEF task force will meet for the first time this morning to examine the future of the beef industry in Ireland.

The task force was agreed to by beef farmers and organisations, and representatives of the beef processing sector last month following weeks of protests.

It’s one of a number of measures, along with a new bonus payment for quality assured cattle, which was set out in a deal brokered by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed. 

Farmers accepted this deal in exchange for the meat industry dropping all legal actions brought against protesting farmers who blockaded the gates of processing plants. 

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association claimed there were some outstanding legal cases which had not yet been withdrawn, and would threaten the work of the task force in the coming weeks. 

“While farmers have upheld their side of the bargain, it is our understanding that written confirmation has not been received by those affected that would indicate the complete withdrawal of legal threats,” ICSA president Edmond Phelan said. 

“ICSA does not want to see the work of the task force undermined by this and we would urge the minister to seek clarity from the meat processors on the issue.”

Last week, Creed announced Michael Dowling, a former Department of Agriculture secretary general, was appointed as the independent chairman to lead the group. 

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

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