With additional reporting by Charles O’Donnell at Agriculture House, Dublin

The country’s farm organisations made frank and clear demands for beef price hikes at the first official meeting of the Beef Market Taskforce in Dublin today, Tuesday, December 3.

Issues with regard to processors upholding their commitments under the recently established Irish Beef Sector Agreement September 15 were also tabled by the farmer representatives.

Speaking to AgriLand after the meeting, which took place at Agriculture House on the capital’s Kildare Street, representatives from various farm lobby groups – including Dermot O’Brien of Beef Plan Movement; Pat McCormack president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA); Joe Healy president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA); and Edmond Phelan president of the Irish Cattle Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) – reflected on how proceedings progressed during the four-hour-long engagement.

Cormac Healy, the senior director of Meat Industry Ireland (MII), also spoke to this publication and acknowledged that comparisons had been drawn around the table in relation to beef price levels in Ireland versus counterpart levels in other EU markets.

While it was originally indicated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine that the taskforce would meet on a quarterly basis, it is understood that the farm organisations today contended that more frequent meetings are necessary in order to progress the significant challenges enveloping the sector currently.

The Beef Market Taskforce was established by the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, on foot of the agreement last September.

Agreed minutes of beef talks

In a statement this evening, Minister Creed said: “I am delighted that a meeting of the taskforce has now taken place. The taskforce will provide for a robust implementation structure for commitments entered into in the agreement.

“I appointed a very experienced and able chair person in Michael Dowling to lead this process. It is imperative that the entire sector works together to secure the future of Irish beef.

“At today’s meeting the terms of reference of the taskforce were agreed and adopted. Activity under the actions agreed to on September 15 was discussed in some detail,” he said.

The agreed minutes and relevant update documents will be published on the department’s website.