Date for beef taskforce remains up in air

There does not yet appear to be a date in sight for reconvening the Beef Market Taskforce, despite engagement between officials and the taskforce’s members and stakeholders.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine said in a statement that talks were continuing between the taskforce’s independent chairperson Michael Dowling, department officials and the organisations that make up the taskforce membership.

However, a date or timeline for possibly reconvening the taskforce has still not been decided.

The delays in advancing the taskforce, as well as delays in other aspects of the Irish Beef Sector Agreement of September 15, have drawn the ire of a number of farm organisations.

On Friday, November 8, the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), one of the stakeholder groups in the taskforce, called on Minister Michael Creed to “up the ante and get the Beef Market Taskforce moving”.

“Following a summer of protests and tough negotiations an agreement was reached by all sides. We now want to see that agreement implemented in full,” said Edmund Graham, the ICSA’s beef chairperson.

“The meat industry, by failing to remove each of the outstanding injunctions, have single-handedly paralysed the taskforce and prevented it from even getting off the ground,” Graham argued.

The taskforce was originally supposed to meet on October 14 last; however, the meeting that day was cancelled following a protest at the headquarters of the department, where the meeting was supposed to take place. It has not been recalled since.

The department has described the taskforce as “the most viable platform for strategic engagement with key stakeholders”.