Minister rules out intervening in beef row
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed ruled out any Government intervention in the row between Irish beef processor Larry Goodman and the Irish Farmers Association (IFA).
Mr Creed said there was no role for his department to play in the decision by Mr Goodman's Anglo Beef Processors (ABP) group to cease the automatic collection of levies charged on animals on behalf of the IFA.
ABP said it had taken the decision following farmer opposition to such levies in the wake of the IFA salary controversy.
While the IFA was shocked by the ABP move, some individual IFA members said they felt there was widespread support for the move amongst farmers who believed it would lead to a more transparent IFA levies structure.
Some IFA members also argued that, by ending the system of meat factories collecting IFA levies, the farm lobby will now be able to argue for better cattle prices from processors.
It is estimated that between one-quarter and one-third of the IFA's annual €13m budget is accounted for through such automatic levies on farm sales at marts, beef plants and agri-merchants. Mr Creed insisted that the levies issue did not require departmental involvement.
"We need a strong farming lobby group in Ireland. The IFA is that," he said. "They have their own issues to deal with in terms of funding."