Healy-Rae: ‘Time for beef farmers to go up to Dublin’

Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae has called on beef farmers to go to Dublin to highlight the problems in the beef sector.

Speaking in the Dail yesterday (Wednesday, March 6), Healy-Rae said that beef farmers were “on their knees, and will not take it for much longer”.

He called on farmers and farm organisations to descend on Government buildings to voice their concerns over “what the Government is not doing for farmers”.

The farmers are on their knees and will not take it for much longer. I call on them, the Irish Farmers’ Association, the Beef Plan Movement and all the other farming organisations to come to Kildare Street and let the Government know once and for all what it is not doing for farmers.

During his Dail speech, Healy-Rae highlighted what he saw as the two factors causing the difficulties in the beef sector.

He claimed that the factories have “a monopoly”, resulting in farmers not receiving proper prices, and he argued that there is not enough being done to secure further live exports.

He added that the Libyan cattle buyer, who was granted a visa after three months this week – who had planned to buy 4,000 bulls worth €5 million – has since taken his business to Spain.

Healy-Rae once again criticised the four movement and 30-month rules, saying these regulations were “tripping up farmers”.

“In the case of the four movement rule, if it is shown that an animal has moved more than four times, the factory will reduce the price by €40 to €80, even though the quality of the beef is the same. They will still kill it and sell it, and it is the same steak on the plate for the consumer,” he argued.

He continued: “On the 30-month rule, there is no difference whatsoever between an animal at 29 months or 31 months. If it goes over the age of 30 months, the price of the animal is again reduced by between €40 and €80. If the animal goes over the age of 36 months, the price of the animal is reduced by €200.

“The farming community is at a crossroads, as are all who supply them, because when farmers go bad, the rest of the country goes bad,” he argued.