Fianna Fáil put have forward a number of measures that should be taken by the Government and new EU Commissioner Designate Phil Hogan to address the ongoing beef crisis, which is adversely affecting farmers all over the country.

Party Agriculture Spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív TD, commented: “Over the past 12 months farmers all over country have been at the receiving end of predatory exploitation by large supermarkets and processors. Farmers have been forced to accept losses of up to €300 per head per animal, which is driving many to the brink of poverty. Some supermarkets are selling fruit and vegetables at below cost price, which is unsustainable and putting huge pressure on already struggling farmers. Liquid milk farmers are also receiving a poor return for the produce also due to pressure from supermarkets

“As the largest indigenous industry in the country, the agri-food sector must be protected against these unfair and exploitative practices. So far the response from the Government and Minister Simon Coveney has been extremely poor.

“Fianna Fáil is proposing a number of measures than can be taken to ease the pressure on farmers, who are not receiving a fair price from their produce, despite this being outlined explicitly in the Lisbon Treaty.

“Fianna Fáil is calling on Minister Simon Coveney to immediately establish a €200 per head beef genomics scheme to boost farm incomes in the short-term. An independent beef regulator should also be appointed to ensure that the exploitation of farmers by large multiples is stopped.

“We are also calling on the new EU Commissioner Designate for Agriculture Phil Hogan to ensure article 39b of the Lisbon Treaty, which states that farmers should get a fair price for their product, is enforced.

“I am calling on Fine Gael and Labour deputies to support Fianna Fáil’s measures to help farmers receive a fair price for their product. At the heart of this is a ruthless exploitation of farmers and we as public representatives must act now to protect this most important of industries.”