Minister Coveney rules out QPS role
THE Minister for Agriculture has ruled out any role for himself or his Department in resolving the deadlock surrounding the review of the Quality Pricing System (QPS) committed to under the Beef Roundtable forum.
Minister Coveney has instead challenged the farming organisations to rescue the review from its deadlock, despite admitting that a consensus would be "difficult".
"The establishment of the grid was a complex matter and not all stakeholders, including farm bodies, were ad idem on its objectives," said the Minister in response to a Dáil question.
"It is the responsibility of the beef processing industry and farming organisations to discuss the QPS and formulate the methodology of any review. It is their agreement and therefore it must be their review," he said.
The forum's commitment to have the review completed by June now seems very unlikely to be delivered.
Minister Coveney also rejected any suggestion that it was his department's responsibility to deliver on the Beef Forum commitment.
"My Department did not engage in the design of the QPS as it is a commercial matter between farmers and processors. It would be inappropriate for me or my Department to take a lead role in a review of the pricing mechanism for beef," he said in response to a question from Sinn Fein's Martin Ferris.
He added that the QPS reflected the fact that Irish beef must supply diverse markets, and that the sale of high quality product will continue to be a central part of beef marketing strategy