IFA president: ‘We have to sit down with beef stakeholders and come up with a plan’

“We have to sit down around the table with all the key stakeholders in the beef industry and come up with a plan for going forward,” according to the president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Tim Cullinan.

The Tipperary pig farmer said he intends to deliver on his election promises “as soon as possible”.

Cullinan took office today, Monday, January 27, as Joe Healy stepped aside having served his term in charge.

During the IFA election campaign, two of Cullinan’s main ideas for the organisation were “uniting farmers” and “reforming the livestock committee”.

Speaking at a media briefing at the Irish Farm Centre today, Cullinan told AgriLand: “I did say all during the campaign that I wanted to bring reform – which I will do.

I will be sitting down with the national officers committee in the coming weeks and those changes will be made – and they will be made as soon as possible.

However, the IFA president stressed: “We are in a General Election and it’s about getting the best possible deal for our farmers in the coming weeks.

“We have an opportunity here now so it’s essential we drive that forward.”

Mentioning his plans to unite farmers, Cullinan said: “I want to work with all farmers; I speak with a lot of farmers all the time.”

He then moved to discuss Brexit and acknowledged “it’s live”.

The UK is gone next Friday; that’s a major challenge for us as an association and for Irish farming and we have to be centre-stage in that.

Continuing, he said: “I know there are concerns around the price of beef. Already I’ve been working on that and will be working on the price of beef.

“We have the taskforce up and running and we need to give it some time as well.”

Concluding, Cullinan stressed: “I want to meet all the key stakeholders in the industry and see where we can go. There are two things on the beef situation – the short-term situation on price and you have to look at the long-term future that’s coupled into the whole CAP reform.”