Beef Plan Movement set to stage first official protest

The Beef Plan Movement will stage its first official protest outside the gates at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Backweston Campus in Co. Kildare tomorrow (Wednesday, February 20).

The rally is expected to gather in advance of 2030 TB Stakeholder Forum which is scheduled to take place at the department complex in Celbridge at 2:00pm.

AgriLand understands that the group’s primary motivation for the protest is in response to the department’s decision not to allow the the group to contribute to tomorrow’s TB Stakeholder Forum meeting.

Also Read: Beef Plan Movement denied access to TB 2030 Stakeholder Forum

The movement – which now claims to have more than 17,000 members – was made aware of the decision following its first official meeting with department officials at Backweston last Friday (February 15).

It is understood that the delegation from the group’s Animal Health Committee met with the officials for more than three hours where they engaged in some “constructive” discussion on the movement’s 86-point plan to address ongoing concerns within the beef sector.

However, officials also informed the group that its request to attend and contribute to the TB Stakeholder Forum had been denied.

Following this move, the movement wrote a letter to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed and the forum’s chairman asking that they reconsider the “lockout” decision.

AgriLand understands that this request was subsequently denied through a follow on communication from the department to the movement’s representation earlier today (February 19).

However, the correspondence also noted that the group’s request “will be discussed” at the next TB forum meeting.

It is understood that the Beef Plan Movement’s National Committee is tonight circulating details of tomorrow’s planned protest to its county committee representatives.

The 2030 TB Stakeholder Forum is made up of: representatives from the department; farm organisations; the veterinary profession; the agri-food industry; and the farming and research communities, with the aim of eradicating bovine TB from the national herd by 2030.

Earlier this week, Micheal Rafferty, the chairman of the group’s Animal Health Committee, said: “The beef plan movement believes the decision to lockout key stakeholders in this manner is wrong. It denies a substantial section of Irish beef farmers a proper voice at the forum.

It is understood that other issues – including the group’s concerns over the much-debated four movement rule and other quality assurance measures – are secondary factors in the group’s decision to rally tomorrow.