The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Livestock Committee has been called on to change its policy of defending the 30-month age limit for the 12c/kg Quality Assurance payment by Tim Cullinan.

This age condition has cost farmers over €10.2 million in 2018, the farmer said.

Cullinan, the current IFA national treasurer who is also a presidential candidate during the upcoming IFA elections, noted a recent interview Dr. Patrick (Paddy) Wall – professor of public health at UCD – had with AgriLand regarding the requirement.

The IFA Livestock Committee’s sticking with this indefensible requirement, which Prof. Paddy Wall has said is totally unnecessary and has no scientific basis, is alienating some farmers and fuelling the protests at factory gates.

“Pat McDonagh in Galway, who runs a major chain of food outlets and Lidl have already stated clearly that prime beef up to 36 months was perfectly acceptable for their customers.”

The Co. Tipperary farmer added that a clear statement from the IFA Livestock Committee calling for the abolition of the 30-month penalty would “help find a solution to the factory blockade which has serious repercussions for beef farmers”.

Concluding, Cullinan said: “Ambiguity on the 30-month age limit is no longer an option for IFA and its abolition would go some way to addressing one of the root causes of the factory protests in the first place.

“The 30-month age condition has cost farmers over €10.2 million in 2018 and is simply a lever to manage supplies and, of course, hold down price,” the treasurer concluded.