Beef Plan movement threatens to get political

Eamon Corley addresses farmers at a previous meeting in Holycross
Eamon Corley addresses farmers at a previous meeting in Holycross

FarmIreland Team

The latest meeting of the Beef Plan movement group has said it will start canvassing politicians with local and European elections due in 2019.

The Beef Plan movement took to Monaghan on Wednesday night with a pointed threat to politicians that more needs to be done to protect the failing beef industry.

The group, which wants to take greater control of the beef industry through the establishment of producer groups and the operating of its own abattoirs, has held a series of meetings across the country in recent weeks. In Monaghan, more than 200 farmers attended to hear what the latest farm organisation wants to do to protect the beleaguered beef industry.

Its vice-chairman Hugh Doyle urged farmers to get out and “make things difficult” for politicians in 2019.

“We’ve no problem in making this an election issue (in 2019),” Doyle said.

“If farmers want to go out and make things difficult for their local politicians in every constituency, I’ve no problem with that. If it helps get the message across that beef farmers need help and support then that’s a good thing. Politicians need to be held to account and if we don’t do it, nobody else will.

“We genuinely feel rural Ireland has been thrown under the bus and that the powers-that-be in the Dáil have forgotten about rural Ireland. They need a wake-up call,” he said.

‘Genomics needs a complete overhaul’

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As has been central to the group’s strategy, the role of the ICBF and its Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) drew significant ire from the Beef Plan Movement.

Again, Hugh Doyle said the ICBF’s insistence on breeding cattle with greater maternal traits as opposed to terminal ones has hastened the demise of the suckler cow.

“We have the suckler cow. She is a known the world over for being a top-quality, prime animal. But the ICBF and the genomics scheme (the BDGP) is all wrong and it needs a complete overhaul. The traits should be weighted 60pc for terminal and 40pc for maternal. We have people coming in from Teagasc and the ICBF telling us what the ideal suckler cow is. It’s a joke,” he said.

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