The Beef Forum meets in Dublin today with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney in attendance. The ICSA will be represented at the get-together by President Patrick Kent, Beef Committee Chairman Edmond Phelan and Chief Executive Eddie Punch.

ICSA told Agriland that the organisation remains totally committed to securing the appointment of an independent regulator with the power to carry out a root-and-branch review of the beef industry.

“Suggestions that the Farm Minister could carry out the role of the envisaged regulator won’t wash,” the spokesperson added.

“The person appointed must be wholly independent and have the authority to investigate the relationship that exists between the supermarkets and the meat processers.”

ICSA policy makers also believe that the Beef Forum must not be turned into a talking shop.

“This would suit the plants down to the ground,” the organisation’s representative said.

“So far, the factories have used the Forum meetings to tell us what a good job they are doing on behalf of Irish beef producers. In truth this is a side show. What’s required is agreement on a series of action points that will allow farmers and other stakeholders get to grips with the serious challenges that confront our livestock industry. And the clock is ticking. The starring point to all of this is ensuring that Irish beef farmers can secure a realistic living from their businesses.”

The ICSA spokesman went on to confirm that Patrick Kent’s get together with Simon Coveney on the margins of today’s meeting, in order to discuss the ongoing CAP review.

“This will be a forerunner to a formal meeting with the Minister, which should take place over the coming days,” he commented.

“Getting the new Pillar 2 arrangements to work effectively for beef and sheep farmers is fundamentally important.”