The fact that the Beef Market Taskforce has not yet met has been described as a “slap in the face” for farmers who took part in the beef protests, according to one TD.

Charlie McConalogue, Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on agriculture, food and the marine, argued that farmers are “extremely frustrated” that the entity has not yet met, laying responsibility for this with Minister Michael Creed.

“We are almost two months on from the Irish beef sector deal agreed by seven national farm organisations and Meat Industry Ireland on September 15. Minister Creed has failed to get the much-referenced beef taskforce up and running,” the Donegal TD said.

This is extremely disappointing. The minister’s remarks that convening the taskforce was ‘in the hands of the chairman’ was very disingenuous. He cannot delegate out responsibility for the unresolved issue.

McConalogue continued: “With steer prices still on the floor at €3.45, beef farmers feel abandoned, with many reforms in the beef agreement awaiting progression and approval from the taskforce. This includes the beef market index, which will strengthen transparency around beef, cattle and offal prices.”

The Fianna Fáil spokesperson also addressed the apparent imposition of weight limits by factories in recent times, saying that this was contrary to the four-month notice period set out in the Irish Beef Sector Agreement, and stressed that: “All processors must adhere to [the notice period].

“The failure by Minister Creed to establish the taskforce is a slap in the face for the farmers that protested and agreed to step down protests on the basis the Government would establish the taskforce,” McConalogue argued.

This failure by Government to act and follow through is the type of inaction that lead farmers to the picket line in the first place.

“Beef farmers feel abandoned, with many reforms agreed in September still in limbo, and with the taskforce yet to meet. The minister must stand up for farmers and get the taskforce operating and take full responsibility for this action. The buck stops with him and him alone,” McConalogue concluded.