‘Threats to agri-sector demand Dáil recall’ – rural TDs

The threats and instability in the agriculture sector “demand a Dáil recall”, according to a group of independent rural TDs.

In a joint statement, the members of the Rural Independent Group say they “have observed with increasing alarm the developments in the UK with respect to Brexit and in particular the decision by Prime Minister Johnson to prorogue parliament from mid-September to mid-October”.

The TDs stress that this has “clearly escalated” the possibility of a hard Brexit, and the problems this would bring for rural Ireland, “dependent as it is on the viability of the agri-sector”.

The Rural Independent Group consists of six members: Mattie McGrath (Tipperary); Michael Collins (Cork South-West); Michael Healy-Rae (Kerry); Danny Healy-Rae (Kerry); Michael Harty (Clare); and Noel Grealish (Galway West).

“Running parallel to these international developments has of course been the ongoing crisis within our own indigenous beef and suckler sector,” the TDs highlight.

The joint statement went on: “We have noted with deep frustration the failure of the recent beef talks to establish meaningful pricing justice and the de facto re-emergence of an unjust balance of power between farmers and processors/retailers.”

The TDs say that farmers they have spoken to had hoped a system of “equatable and transparent accountability” would be established “as a minimum condition for survival”.

This has not happened. It is for these reasons, which constitute a grave and potentially permanent disruption to the rural agri-sector, that we are calling for the immediate end to the Dáil recess.

“Full and immediate use must be made of the Dáil and committee system in order to advance the current situation,” the group urged.

Earlier today, Fine Gael TD Pat Deering, chairperson of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said that members of the committee were considering meeting next week, in light of the beef protests and their fallout.

The Rural Independent Group concluded its statement by saying: “We ask all members of both the Dáil and the Seanad to give this matter their urgent consideration.”