The Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, only set up the Beef Forum as a hollow political gesture, according to Fianna Fail’s Agriculture Spokesperson Eamon O Cuiv.

O Cuiv made the comment as the IFA is set to stage a rally of livestock farmers at Slaney Meats in Bunclody, Co. Wexford this Sunday, February 7 at 2pm to highlight price and competition issues.

O Cuiv said that the Minister has failed to address the issues in the Irish beef sector and that the forum has clearly failed farmers.

“It has proven to be a toothless tiger – benefitting the processors to the detriment of the primary producer.”

The Agriculture Spokesperson has accused the Government of failing to take any tangible action to ensure a fair price for beef farmers as processors continue to drive the Government’s agenda.

Irish beef farmers are being left behind by Fine Gael, as the price deferential between Irish beef and British beef in UK supermarkets continues to grow, according to O Cuiv.

“The move by ABP Food Group to take a 50% stake in Slaney Foods raises legitimate competition questions about the beef and lamb processing sector.

“The Minister has refused to make any submission to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission regarding the matter.”

“We cannot have a situation where farmers continue to be price takers as opposed to price makers.”