TD welcomes ‘proactive approach’ of Aldi in beef issues

A Fianna Fáil TD has welcomed the “proactive approach” of Aldi in relation to the beef price issue and the Beef Market Taskforce.

Anne Rabbitte, a TD for the Galway East constituency, said that she had contacted the country’s major retailers during the recent series of protests at retailer distribution centres by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Rabbitte said she made contact with Aldi, Lidl, Tesco, Dunnes Stores and the Musgrave Group, seeking “their engagement on the central issues of pricing and the extension of the 30-month age limit to 36 months, as well as the operation of the QPS [Quality Payments Scheme] and its impact on pricing”.

In a letter to the TD, Aldi – the first retailer to fall foul of the IFA’s series of protests, on Thursday, December 5 – outlined its plan to co-operate with the beef taskforce, as well as its ongoing analysis of the 30-month rule.

“I welcome the positive engagement from Aldi and its work on the pricing issues in the beef sector, as well as its meeting with the Beef Plan Movement in recent weeks,” Rabbitte commented.

She argued: “To me, this shows Aldi is genuine in its commitment to the Irish beef sector, which at present is seeing farmers being cheated out of earnings rightly owed to them.

“It’s clear that retailers have a key role to play in resolving the issue of price. We need dialogue to resolve these issues, so we can reach a satisfactory conclusion for the farmers,” the TD added.

There are a lot of delicate relationships to balance here and a part of the problem is the level of needless mysteriousness in these discussions.

Deputy Rabbitte concluded her remarks by saying: “Retailers should outline their positions on these issues, so farmers and consumers can see where they stand.”

Aldi letter

In its response to the TD, Aldi said it is “fully committed to the sector and has met with representatives of both the Beef Plan Movement and the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA)”.

“We welcome the commencement of the beef taskforce and are committed to contributing to its portfolio of work. All inputs required by Aldi will be submitted directly to the taskforce,” wrote John Curtin, the retailer’s group buying director.

He added: “We are currently carrying out an analysis of the 30-month rule versus 36 months from both a scientific and consumer perspective. This research will form part of our initial submission to the beef taskforce and will outline our position on the future of Irish beef, including the QPS.”