The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed has been called on to “up the ante and get the Beef Market Taskforce moving” by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

Making the calls, ICSA beef chairman Edmund Graham said: “Following a summer of protests and tough negotiations an agreement was reached by all sides. We now want to see that agreement implemented in full.”

The chairman noted that a major part of the Irish Beef Sector Agreement, struck on September 15, was the establishment of the Beef Market Taskforce, claiming:

The meat industry, by failing to remove each of the outstanding injunctions, have single-handedly paralysed the taskforce and prevented it from even getting off the ground.

“One group, under the ABP banner, is effectively holding the whole process to ransom. The minister must answer why he has allowed this to happen,” Graham said.

“Furthermore, it is high time for the Bord Bia Beef Price Index to be up and running and for Teagasc to come through with its promised desktop review of the grid. Missing deadlines is not acceptable.”

“We have fought hard for more fairness and more transparency in the beef sector and the taskforce has the potential to deliver this.”

Graham said that the such long-term structural changes are “well overdue”, adding that “kicking the can down the road repeatedly” will not be tolerated.

It is scandalous that farmers feel they are actually in a worse position now than they were several months ago.

“Factories are continuing to use the excuse of a backlog of cattle, but the reality is they are just continuing to manipulate the system at the expense of the primary producer,” Graham claimed.

“Our beef farmers can’t wait any longer. We will not accept any further delays.

“The taskforce a has a lot of work to do, yet nothing concrete has come of it yet. Minister Creed must step up the pace, get things moving, and not allow any single player to employ delaying tactics,” Graham concluded.