Beef Plan expresses ‘extreme concern’ over beef taskforce progress

The south west regional committee of the Beef Plan Movement has today, Friday, November 1, expressed “extreme concern” over the Beef Taskforce having failed to reconvene in round-table format.

The committee has also called on Bord Bia to announce the details of the Beef Price Index while it has also emerged that the first review of the grid – as agreed under the recent Beef Sector Agreement – is expected to be ready in early November.

The Beef Plan’s south west chair, Dermot O’Brien, said: “Key objectives and beef sector reforms as set out in the Beef Sector Agreement of September 15, have to be met if beef farmers are to survive in Ireland.

“The committee is calling on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to intervene and bring all stakeholders back to the the table immediately.”

The Beef Taskforce’s chairman, Michael Dowling, met last Friday with Beef Plan representatives Enda Fingleton and Dermot O’Brien for bilateral talks, where no proposed date for resumption of round table discussions was given.

The PRO of Limerick Beef Plan, John Moloney, has said: “Some farmers are currently unable to have their cattle killed in a timely manner.

The taskforce is a means of being able to discuss farmers’ difficulties with MII and all other stakeholders.

John Flaherty of the Kerry Beef Plan Movement has called for clarification on “any possible relationship of price signalling or price arranging among processors”.

Sean O’Connell of Limerick Beef Plan has expressed concern that weighing facilities have not been provided at lairages before slaughter at a number of meat plants.

The Beef Plan’s south-west vice chair,Helen O’Sullivan, referred to the factory insurance charge of €3/head and asked: “Has the taskforce addressed this matter in its entirety?

Most farmers are unaware that there is an opt condition in relation to insurance.

“Has MII instructed its clients to make their suppliers aware of this situation, as agreed during the first strand of the agreement in Backweston?”

Pat Nagle of Clare Beef Plan is seeking clarification in relation to injunctions from C&D and if letters of discontinuance have been served.

Nagle requested knowledge of whether litigation is dormant or not, as this issue had proven problematic for some farm organisations, who preferred to have the taskforce adjourned until all injunctions were lifted.

Concluding, Dermot O’Brien welcomed the fact that the first review of the grid will be ready “in the first week of November at latest”, which will require input by each stakeholder.

He added: “This hopefully will be an opportunity for stakeholders to come together and work together.”