Farmers want clarity over 'Irish' beef coming in from UK

A number of plants are still being blockaded (Brian Lawless/PA)
A number of plants are still being blockaded (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ciaran Moran and Aoife Walsh

Farmers have called for clarity over the importation of beef from the United Kingdom that is certified as Irish and carrying a Bord Bia stamp.

Aldi became the first major retailer to confirm difficulties in stocking its shelves with Irish beef.

It said to ensure it has a full range of fresh products for its customers, some of its Irish beef and pork suppliers have processed Irish beef and pork at their UK-based processing facilities.

Hill Farmers representative Colm O'Donnell queried how the "farm to fork" slogan adopted by Bord Bia can be justified when this beef has been processed in a meat plant outside the country.

This, he said, "is a question raised by members contacting our office this morning and one that Bord Bia now needs to answer".

As the beef talks are scheduled to resume today, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said now is the time for people to take a step back from entrenched positions.

"I have engaged intensively with all sides and have a deep understanding of the outstanding issues, and the emotion involved. I expect all sides to recognise the urgency of the current situation and to enter talks in good faith and with a firm intention to reach agreement," he said.

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) said it was committed to working constructively to resolve the situation and was always ready to participate in talks, but only when negotiations could take place in good faith.

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It said, as requested by the minister, beef slaughtering operations would remain suspended in blockaded plants during the talks.

However, MII said existing limited stocks of beef must be allowed free movement in and out of meat plants.

Meanwhile, organisers of the National Ploughing Championships said they don't "feel the need" to increase security at this year's event amid the ongoing beef protests.

The NPA confirmed the Beef Plan Movement had been given an exhibition space at this year's championships to "air their views".

Irish Independent

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