Talks are a waste of time if we can't talk about price - Joe Healy

IFA President Joe Healy. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
IFA President Joe Healy. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The IFA president Joe Healy has said talks around the issues in the beef sector are a waste of time, if price cannot be discussed.

Speaking to RTE radio today, as unofficial beef protests take place at 8-9 meat plants across the country are understood to have brought processing to a halt in some meat factories.

The protests, which farmers say are not being led by the Beef Plan Movement, started on Sunday and have continued at a number of plants today and are in response to the negotiated proposal which was the outcome of recent talks between the Beef Plan Movement and meat factories.

However, farmers have rejected the proposals, saying the talks were a 'failure'.  One protester told the Farming Independent yesterday they were ready to do "whatever it takes" for a better deal.

IFA President Joe Healy said farmers are "fighting for their livelihoods" and that "talks are  a waste of time if we can't talk about price."

"Price might not be agreed in there, but price can still be talked about in there as it's very clear for farmers it's all about price."

Farmers, he said, want a price increase and the EU beef market needs to be rebalanced due to an oversupply which, he said, is part caused by the amount of beef coming into the EU from South America.

"Everyone know what the farmer is getting and what the consumer is paying, but the processor and retailer there are a lot of questions to be asked there.

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The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission warned those in the recent talks that they could not discuss price. The Commission told the Beef Plan Movement (BFM) its two-week protests outside meat plants may be unlawful and discussions about future pricing intentions is not allowed under competition law.

It comes as IFA Presidential candidate Tim Cullinan called on the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) - formerly the Competition Authority - to launch an urgent investigation into the beef industry.

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