Government TDs shoot down Ó Cuív’s beef regulator plans

Fianna Fáil last night used its Private Members’ Business in the Dail to highlight the beef crisis and call for a beef regulator, an idea which was swiftly shot down from the Government benches.

Deputy Ó Cuív said an independent beef regulator is needed to address many of the issues the Government is failing to deal with as the beef crisis deepens.

With the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney in the US on a trade mission, Minister for State Tom Hayes headed up the Governments rebuttal of the idea. “Prices are matters to be determined between purchasers and sellers of cattle. It is neither appropriate nor possible for me to intervene directly in the issue. The days of market intervention are clearly gone.”

He added: “My focus is on the potential of the beef industry and expanding expectations that I can intervene in the price relationships are misplaced by everybody and it is disingenuous to say we can.”

“The relationship between processors and farmers is an independent one. Farmers and processors will, at all times, fight their own end to have the best price possible for beef.”

Ministers absence

The absence of the Minister from the debate caused plenty of friction in the Dail chamber with Deputy Ó Cuív stating that: “It is quite clear that the Minister has signed off and has gone off into the sunset and is nowhere to be seen. Again tonight we find that beef farmers are let down by the fact that the Minister doesn’t think it is sufficiently important that he is in the house.

Minister Hayes however completely rejected this assertion. “We will not get results by condemning the Minister who is currently walking around the supermarkets of America to deal with the issues and also last week we had member of the Chinese Government here. We need co-operation we need support, not condemnation of the industry which has been going on for too long.”