Ó Cuív critical of Minister’s handling of bull beef crisis

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on agriculture, Éamon Ó Cuív, has criticised the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney for his complete lack of action and urgency in dealing with the collapse of beef prices in Ireland. 

Deputy Ó Cuív was particularly critical of the lack of action by Minster Coveney on the urgent issues concerning the labelling of Irish beef.

Deputy Ó Cuív raised the issue during Leaders’ Questions yesterday and also expressed his disappointment at the fact that Minister Coveney failed to show up for his allocated Question Time.

“We are in the midst of a fully blown crisis with beef prices in the country. We have had two separate protests by the IFA this week at the Minister’s poor handling of the crisis and an apparent lack of interest in dealing with it. During his allocated Question Time this morning, Minister Coveney didn’t deem it serious enough to show up and answer questions on this.

“The figures are stark. Prices are down 20% this year, with farmers now receiving €200-€300 less per head on average. One of the main issues that is affecting the price of bull beef is the labelling problem,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

“Cattle that were reared in Ireland and finished in the North are no longer considered from the North for labelling purposes. This has come to the fore recently and cattle are neither Irish nor British in terms of labels, it is preventing Irish cattle from being sold in the UK as supermarkets only want beef reared and finished in the one country.

Eamon Ó Cuív said Fianna Fáil is also calling for the immediate appointment of a beef regulator to independently oversee the beef industry and work at finding solutions to the crisis.