Beef Plan about ‘getting power back’ Ennis meeting hears

The Auburn Lodge Hotel in Ennis, Co. Clare was the venue of choice for the latest meeting of the Beef Plan Movement, held today, January 8.

The meeting, attended by upwards of 400 people, was first addressed by the movement’s chair in the county, Joseph Woulfe, who posed the question of why beef prices had barely grown in over 20 years.

The Movement’s chairperson, Eamon Corley, highlighted his experiences of selling cattle as a group of farmers, rather than as individuals, though he added that this example would have to be replicated on a country-wide basis if the meat factories are to sit up and take notice.

The same speaker added that farmers have “lost complete power over our animals”, adding that: “This plan is about getting that power back.”

The Movement intends to set up a purchasing group of farmers in The Banner County, and urged those in attendance to join it.

The meeting also heard that if everybody currently in the movement recruited two or three other people, the targeted membership of 40,000 could be achieved “in an afternoon”.

Among the suggestions that were discussed at the meeting were the possibility of expanding the veal industry, having similar levy levels for calves as there are for sheep, and re-introducing an export subsidy.

Beef Plan Movement vice-chair Hugh Doyle criticised the discount prices that Irish beef is sold at in the UK, and highlighted that Irish consumers have no such discount for produce from Britain that is sold in here.

The speakers highlighted the possibility of farmers seeking alternative agricultural income, such as selling silage; however, by a show of hands, those in attendance were not enthusiastic about going down that road.

Another speaker urged the need to look beyond the EU to off-load our beef after Brexit, because, as he explained, the only EU countries that can absorb Irish beef produce will decide instead to protect their own beef sectors.