The Beef Market Taskforce is set to meet next month (March), the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has said.

The exact date is yet to be confirmed, according to a department spokesperson.

The decision to schedule a meeting comes after weeks of pressure from several quarters to convene the meeting, particularly after recent beef price cuts.

Just yesterday, the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) called for the taskforce to convene, with its beef chairperson, Edmund Graham, saying: “Beef prices have been inexplicably cut in recent weeks and ICSA wants answers as to why this is happening.”

The taskforce has not met since December 17. In the latter part of last year, the taskforce met relatively frequently in order to discuss the protected geographic indication (PGI) status application for Irish beef.

That last meeting on December 17 saw the participants presented with the second of three reports compiled by consultancy firm Grant Thornton that were commissioned by the taskforce.

The report presented to the taskforce in December was on market and customer requirements relating to the in-spec bonuses.

However, the report received a lukewarm welcome from farmer representatives, with the ICSA, again, saying it was “extremely disappointed” with it.

The association said: “The report does not provide any evidence of independent measurement of consumer preference in the market.

“Instead, we are asked to believe a limited overview of interviews with stakeholders. predominantly in the UK, who are scrambling to find varied dubious justifications for maintaining the 30 months and ‘4 residencies’ penalties,” the association had said.