Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Beef is 'rural heartbeat' but Minister can't force up price​

Minister Simon Coveney at the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois
Minister Simon Coveney at the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois
Aideen Sheehan

Aideen Sheehan

BEEF is "the heartbeat of the rural economy", but you can't force supermarkets in Barcelona or Berlin to pay more for it, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said.

Ireland exports nearly 90pc of the beef it produces, making farmers here vulnerable to international price changes, he said.

The Irish Farmers Association is demanding higher prices from Irish factories following recent increases in UK prices.

Mr Coveney said Irish beef output had increased 15pc this year which, combined with weaker prices, had resulted in difficulties.

General view of spectators of the ploughing competition. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
General view of spectators of the ploughing competition. National Ploughing Championships 2014. Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Damien Behan with son Michael, 21 months, from Ballybrittas, Laois. National Ploughing Championships 2014 . Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Picture: Caroline Quinn
SUPPLIED...No Fee... 24 September 2014 Peter Gohery, who lost a leg in an accident in Eyrecourt, Co. Galway in 200, with Brian Rohan, founder of farm accident support group Embrace FARM, at the National Ploughing Championships in Co. Laois today. Embrace FARM, which was founded by Brian after his father Liam died in a farm accident two years ago, today launched a major video campaign involving testimonies of families who have lost loved ones to farm accidents. Picture: Jeff Harvey/HR Photo


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Roisin Kinsella from Athy and first cousins Ellie and Amelia Bennett from Athy enjoying day two of the National ploughing championships in County Laois. Pic:Mark Condren
Liam Farrell (12) from Westmeath meets with former Irish rugby player John the Bull Hayes at day two of the National ploughing championships Pic:Mark Condren
John Tallis (9) and his mother Dorothy from Kilkenny at a fashion show on Fday two of the national ploughing championships. Pic:Mark Condren
Siofra Marum (11) from Portlaois enjoying the brown bread bake off on two of the national ploughing championships. Pic:Mark Condren
Minister Simnon Coveney at the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois Pic:Mark Condren
Conor Kelly and Sean Barry fron Cork enjoying day two of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois Pic:Mark Condren
A young boy takes a rest at day two of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois Pic:Mark Condren
Conor Kelly and Sean Barry fron Cork enjoying day two of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois Pic:Mark Condren
Elaine Farrell from Castletwonroche in North Cork enjoying day two of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois Pic:Mark Condren
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin at day two of the National ploughing championships in County Laois. PIc:Mark Condren
Enjoying day two of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois Pic:Mark Condren
Crowds enjoying day two of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois Pic:Mark Condren
Peter Finnegan from Monahgan and Lesley Anne Conlan from Athy who won the most appropriate dressed man and woman award at day two of the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois Pic:Mark Condren

"But there will be years when the opposite happens like what happened last year when we had an all-time high in terms of beef prices, so we need to try and insulate our industry as best we can from the bad years to ensure that they are benefiting in the good years," he said.

He said that "most Irish beef is consumed and purchased outside Ireland so I'm not going to be able to influence a retailer in Barcelona or in Paris or Berlin to pay more for Irish beef when they can source beef from elsewhere". However the EU could work to ensure farmers always got a fair share of the supermarket price, he said, while two-thirds of the €12.5bn in EU farm funding would go to the beef sector.

"So beef is a huge priority for me. It's the heartbeat of the rural economy - 100,000 of the 130,000 farm families get some income from beef."

He accused Fianna Fail's Eamon O'Cuiv of "auction politics" and "plucking a figure out of the sky" in demanding a €200 payment per animal under the beef genomics programme.​

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