AgriLand understands that a “constructive” meeting has taken place between representatives from a number of farm organisations to discuss the currently stalled Beef Market Taskforce.
The meeting – thought to have taken place in Portlaoise, Co. Laois, this evening, Wednesday, November 20 – is believed to have featured representatives from the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA); the Beef Plan Movement; the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA); the Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA); Macra na Feirme; and the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS).
It is understood that other topics of discussion included: beef prices; the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP); outstanding injunctions against protesters that are still in place since the height of the beef protests in recent months; plus, a mooted tractor protest that is said to take place in Dublin next week.
The discussion between the organisations is understood to have been informal, though constructive. It appears that a follow-up meeting has been tentatively agreed.
Earlier this evening, a spokesperson for the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine said that “issues remain on both sides” in relation to the possibility of reconvening the beef taskforce.
However, Minister Michael Creed’s spokesperson expressed optimism that the taskforce would meet “sooner rather than later” and explained that in the meantime, “measures contained in the Beef Sector Agreement continue to be progressed”.
It is now over five weeks since the taskforce was supposed to have had its inaugural meeting.
On October 14 last, the day that meeting was scheduled for, a protest outside the headquarters of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine resulted in Meat Industry Ireland senior director Cormac Healy being denied entry to the meeting.
Following that incident, taskforce chairperson Michael Dowling took the decision to postpone the meeting. The taskforce has not been reconvened since.