Minister ‘must ensure end to legal threats before taskforce meets’

Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is being called on ensure that all legal threats and injunctions against farmers are removed before the newly-established Beef Market Taskforce meets for the first time.

AgriLand understands that at least three individuals still have injunctions in place against them since the farmer protests throughout last month.

Edmond Phelan, president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), said: “It was agreed at the beef crisis talks that beef processors would withdraw all legal proceedings against farm organisations and/or individual farmers upon farmer protests being stood down.”

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 does not want to see the work of the taskforce undermined by this and we would urge the minister to seek clarity from the meat processors on this issue in advance of Monday,” Phelan added.

Meeting set

The first meeting for the taskforce has been set for next Monday, October 14. The taskforce has arisen from the agreement struck between farmer associations, processor representatives and Minister Creed.

Michael Dowling was recently appointed as the independent chair of the taskforce.

The taskforce membership includes representatives from the Department of Agriculture, relevant state agencies, farm associations and the meat industry.

According to the department, “agreed minutes and relevant documentation” will be published on its website as soon as possible after each meeting of the taskforce.

The farm associations that will be represented include the six main “recognised” organisations, including: Beef Plan Movement; the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA); the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA); ICSA; the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA); and Macra na Feirme.