Aontú bill on ‘below cost’ sale of beef moves through Dáil

Draft legislation on preventing the below cost sale of beef has made it through its first stage in the Dáil today (Tuesday September 15).

Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has moved forward the Equitable Beef Pricing Act 2019 which he says would bring an end to poor farmer prices.

“Many farmers are fighting for their family livelihoods and ability to survive. Of the 130,000 farmers in the state only one third are making enough from the farm to support their families.

“Another third are surviving because the farmer is also working off the farm to supplement the family income. A full third of farmers are simply not earning enough to live at all. These farmers are being pushed into poverty, debt and off the land.”

Aontú says the aim of the act is to ensure the provision of an equitable price for beef to farmers operating in that sector and to abolish the 30-month rule concerning cattle. 

Tóibín added: “It is clear that the beef industry, as it currently constituted, is unsustainable. Beef farmers are selling their produce at below cost prices while a collection of processors and supermarket multiples make astounding profits on the same product.

In the current climate Irish agriculture is already facing great uncertainty and challenges, not least because of [the] EU-Mercosur trade deal that will pave the way for the importation of cheap South American beef into the EU market.

“Aontú’s bill which I’m introducing today would ban the below cost sale of beef, ensuring that farmers make at least a breakeven price for their produce. It would do this for a year.

It would force the beef barons to the table to discuss a real and fair price. The bill, if enacted would also get rid of the illogical ‘30 month rule’ whereby farmers are paid a lower rate for a beast which is older than 30 months of age,” he concluded.