Factories urged to ‘step up to mark on price – or protests will resume’

Beef processors and Meat Industry Ireland (MII) have been urged to “step up to the mark” on the issue of base price in the Beef Market Taskforce tomorrow, Tuesday, December 3, by farmers who took to Dublin in protest last week.

Cavan beef farmer John Daly was among the hundreds of demonstrators who took to Dublin in the tractor protest last Tuesday and Wednesday, November 26 and 27.

Speaking to AgriLand, he said that, while farmers don’t want a repeat of last week’s picketing, unless clear progress is made on the base price of beef tomorrow, they will feel there is no alternative.

“We’re calling on the factories and MII to step up to the mark tomorrow in the taskforce.

We need to be brought up to between €3.95 to €4.00/kg base price here; we’re well behind on European and UK markets.

The Co. Cavan farmer added that the 30-month age limit also needs to be dropped, while the four-movement rule and 60-day residency are not needed – points which have been highlighted both to members of the taskforce and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.

“The farmers are angry on the ground – they’re losing €5 million a week because of the taskforce not being up and running over these injunctions,” Daly claimed, referring to the difference between Irish prices and those in UK and continental markets.

“We’re calling on the Government and MII to get this sorted – farmers don’t need to be going up to Dublin to engage in any more protesting before Christmas, on December 15, to have this all in order.

“We need to be on the way forward,” he added.

We don’t need to be going back to Dublin – that’s what the farmers on the ground are saying, they’ve had enough of this. But, if there isn’t an immediate increase in the price of beef, they will have no other alternative other than to go to the outlets and to close down Dublin, which they have already said.

Daly said that farmers on the ground “just want a fair price”, adding if they get this, there will be no further action – but highlighted that producers are now at the end of their tether.

“If they don’t see clear and obvious progress on base price immediately, they will return to the streets,” he concluded.