Minister urged to include Independent Farmers reps in talks

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed has been urged to facilitate the inclusion of Independent Farmer representatives in any future talks on the beef crisis by independent rural TDs Mattie McGrath and Carol Nolan.

The TDs made the calls, noting that three representatives of the group were denied access to discussions aimed at breaking the impasse.

In a joint statement on the matter, the Tipperary and Offaly TDs said: “If the minister’s call to dialogue is to have any credibility, then he must insist that those who have been legitimately nominated to represent farmers’ interests be allowed access to the talks.

Failure to listen to these representatives would signal a clear breakdown in trust even before any talks had begun.

Underlining that “the gravity of the crisis is deepening with each passing day”, the deputies warned:

“All voices must be heard at these discussions; otherwise, it is very difficult to see how the outcomes can be accepted as binding.

“The farmers are willing to talk. The least the minister and the other major stakeholders can do is reciprocate this constructive attitude by welcoming them to the process rather than shutting them out.”

Farmer frustration

Speaking to AgriLand, one member of the Independent Farmers of Ireland outlined his frustration at the group representing protesters being excluded from stakeholder talks.

The member said that the protesters on the gates were kept “completely in the dark” on the talks, which he said is “aggravating them again”.

He added that the omission and lack of contact following the talks is disillusioning for demonstrators and is “pushing a volatile situation further and further in the wrong direction”.

“We just want a negotiation – and one that’s clear and transparent,” the protester said.