News that Irish retailers have been invited to the next meeting of the Beef Market Taskforce in January has been welcomed by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

IFA president Joe Healy lauded the invitation – as well as the news that a number of retailers have confirmed they will attend the meeting on Thursday, January 9.

Commenting, he said: “At our action at retail distribution centres last week, we pointed out that retailers have been hiding in the long grass.

It’s overdue, but welcome, that they will be called to account on January 9. Each of the five major retailers must attend and fully engage.

He added: “However, we need an urgent meeting of the taskforce – as the gap between the Irish price and the Bord Bia export benchmark price has widened to 24c/kg, with the gap with the UK over 50c/kg.

“We met the minister last week and stressed to him that he needed to act now to help farmers.

“Involving the retailers is a welcome step that should have happened before now – but we need an urgent meeting as farmers are in dire straits,” the IFA president concluded.

Tesco And Musgrave Confirm Attendance

Earlier today, Monday, December 16, both Tesco and Musgrave Group confirmed that they would both be in attendance at the meeting of the taskforce.

A spokesperson for Tesco said:

Tesco supports the work of the Beef Taskforce and has accepted an invitation from its chairman to attend the next meeting on January 9 to discuss market trends and quality specifications in the retail sector.

Meanwhile, a Musgrave representative said: “Musgrave supports the work of the Beef Taskforce and has already accepted the invitation from its chairman Michael Dowling to attend a meeting scheduled for January 9, 2020.”