An “urgent” meeting of the Beef Market Taskforce has been called for by the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) president, Joe Healy, who warned that farmer anger could boil over.

Healy said the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, must call the meeting and include the five major retailers. Otherwise, he stressed, “farmer anger will boil over”.

The IFA president said: “The IFA met Minister Creed last Thursday, December 12, and made it clear that he needs to call in the processors and the retailers and hold them to account for their actions.

No price increase came on Friday – when the factories fixed their prices.

Healy noted that the Bord Bia beef price index shows that Irish prices are now “24c/kg behind the European price, and over 50c/kg behind the UK price”.

The IFA president claimed: “The processors and retailers are pocketing the uplift in the European and world market.

“During the summer and autumn, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) was a constant presence on the airwaves telling us that the Irish price, at that time, was in line with the European market. Now, MII and the processors have gone into hiding.

“IFA took action by blockading retail distribution centres which led to a 5c/kg-10c/kg increase announced by ABP Group.”

Healy stressed: “Minister Creed must know the level of anger there is among farmers on the ground.

“He must act now or he – and the Beef Market Taskforce – will become irrelevant,” the IFA president concluded.