An independent TD is urging Minister Michael Creed and his department to “adopt a firm approach” in dealing with retailers when they enter into the Beef Market Taskforce at its next meeting on January 9 next year.

Looking back on the year gone by, Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath said that: “2019 will go down as one of the most stressful and traumatising years for beef farmers and the beef sector generally.

“We cannot have a repeat of that in 2020,” he added.

Minister Creed confirmed in a parliamentary question put by deputy McGrath that a number of Irish and UK retailers would attend next month’s meeting of the taskforce.

In his answer, the minister said that the retailers have been invited to discuss market tends and the Quality Payments Scheme (QPS) requirements.

“I will be urging Minister Creed and indeed the department to adopt a firm approach with the retailers in order to ensure that Irish farmers receive a more just and proportionate share of the profits from their produce,” the Tipperary TD commented.

“These retailers are benefiting enormously because of the outstanding quality of Irish beef… It is therefore entirely unacceptable that those who work night and day to deliver and grow that produce are left with a relative pittance or even a loss at the sale end of the process,” McGrath concluded.

In his response to deputy McGrath, Minister Creed confirmed: “The next meeting of the Beef Market Taskforce will take place on January 9, 2020. Irish and UK retailers have been invited to participate to discuss market trends and requirements, specifically in relation to the quality payment system in-spec bonus criteria currently in operation.”