The Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) is seeking an “immediate” meeting with Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and his officials to discuss the compensation package for beef farmers.

The group’s marts committee wants the minister to “ensure that the scheme is implemented equitably” so that farmers who traded animals through marts are included.

“The package will be provided through an implementing regulation from DG Agri [Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development], which is expected to be quite short,” according to Ray Doyle, livestock and environmental services executive of ICOS.

Doyle outlined that the fund will “potentially be based on the compensation package given specifically to Finnish dairy farmers directly following the Russian import ban”.

“It will therefore be nearly entirely up to the Department of Agriculture to decide how the package is distributed, with little prescription from DG AGRI,” he added.

Doyle pointed out that sellers of weanlings, forward stores and cull cows have had a “disastrous” 2018 and 2019, and that it “will not be acceptable” if the compensation is directed to “a handful of factory agents”.

With the animal identification and movement system it will be possible to ascertain the ownership and trading history of animals before they have been presented for slaughter.

“While the funds are finite, their distribution must be fair to all producers in the beef chain. That is why we are seeking a meeting with the minister,” he concluded.