The president of Macra na Feirme, Thomas Duffy, has said: “Our members are free to attend [the Beef Plan Movement’s protests] in their own capacity, but not as representatives of the organisation.”

The Cavan-man added that Macra “is officially not taking a position on the protest”.

Duffy noted that this is because “there are certain requirements where Macra has to endorse a protest to ensure there are officers present”. However, the president noted that the young farmer organisation “can not meet these requirements”.

Massively concerned

Commenting on the current climate of the beef industry, Duffy said: “We are massively concerned about the current price of beef and the biggest issue for us is the drop in prices from uncertainty in the market.

“A lot of our members are contacting us about the processing specifications – and particularly – on young bulls.

We are asking for a proper rationale to be given on under 16 months bull beef. If it is a problem with market specifications – that should be communicated.

Continuing, Duffy noted that Macra condemns the “outrageous nature” of allowing imports of Brazilian beef “with lower traceability, potentially lower quality and a far lower environmental footprint than Irish beef while simultaneously encouraging Irish farmers”.

Concluding, Duffy stressed that 16-month bull beef is “essentially the prime output of the suckler herd and warned that penalising bull beef is “directly causing a massive impact on the suckler herd”.