The consequences and fallout from the beef dispute will “only get worse” unless a mechanism is put in place that would allow base prices to rise, according to one independent TD.

Mattie McGrath, a TD for Tipperary, called for yet another round of talks on the beef sector so that base price can be addressed.

“The fundamental priority at this point must be to re-engage with all the major stakeholders so we can bring this crisis to a conclusion,” he said.

It is absolutely clear that unless a mechanism can be found which permits the raising of base prices for beef, then this issue is going to be prolonged, with all the devastating consequences that we have seen to date only getting worse.

“There is just too much on the line, and there are too many jobs at stake, for this to go on without a commitment to tackle the fundamental issues surrounding price,” the TD said.

McGrath claimed that, following on from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s recognition of the Irish Beef Producers Organisation, there was “no reason” why a commitment could not be given to tackle the price issue.

“What we also have to see is an immediate end to the legal threats from MII [Meat Industry Ireland] that have begun to re-emerge. That is not conducive to finding a resolution because it just polarises opinion even further,” he added, speaking after a debate in the Dáil on the matter.

The priority of the factories should be about finding meaningful ways in which they discuss base price issues.

“That will be the surest way of protecting all those misfortunate workers who have been caught up in this crisis through no fault of their own,” said the TD, referring to those factory staff who have been laid off by processors.

McGrath concluded his remarks by saying: “We can and we should be imaginative and creative enough to find a way to protect the interests of both farmer and factory worker alike. That should be our goal at this point.”