‘Immediate action needed after sudden and unfair beef price cuts’ – TD

A TD has called for “immediate action” following recent cuts in beef prices to farmers by processors, which he described as “sudden and unfair”.

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice said, following a drop in cattle quotes this week, that the decision to drop prices is “totally unjustified”, particularly in light of market reports and cattle prices in the UK.

“The market reasoning given so far to explain away the cut has been wholly unsatisfactory. Supplies of finished cattle are tight at present and some factories are only killing on three days of the week,” he claimed.

I believe the minister [Charlie McConalogue] must intervene and hold the processors to account, particularly since a €100 million capital investment scheme was made available to them as a result of the potential impacts of Brexit.

The Roscommon-Galway TD also called for the Beef Market Taskforce to be called back “as a matter of urgency”.

Fitzmaurice also argued that future meetings of the taskforce should be streamed live online – a call echoed by some farmer representatives on the taskforce – similar to how joint Oireachtas committee meetings are broadcast.

“This would ensure complete transparency and give farmers across the country the opportunity to watch the discussions for themselves,” he noted.

Farm organisations are doing their best to hold the other stakeholders to account, but there is no reason why all farmers should not be given the opportunity to see what is going on with their own eyes.

According to Fitzmaurice, the taskforce should be meeting once a month at least.

“The technology is there to be utilised in order to hold meetings virtually and broadcast it live,” he noted.

“Farmers deserve transparency when it comes to decisions around their livelihoods,” the TD concluded.