'We need to be really careful beef protests does not split farm families’

Farmers protest outside ABP Christendom, Ferrybank, Co Waterford in recent weeks. Photo Roger Jones.
Farmers protest outside ABP Christendom, Ferrybank, Co Waterford in recent weeks. Photo Roger Jones.
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The Tanaiste Simon Coveney has reiterated his call for protesting farmers to end their pickets, saying “we need to be really careful this does not split farm families and farm organisations”.

He said he is really worried about the ongoing beef dispute, as are some farmers on the picket lines and some who are not.

“We need to be really careful this does not split farm families and farm organisations,” and he called on protesting farmers to consider the agreement brokered at the weekend.

“We do need to think about this individual challenge, in terms of the deal done at the weekend. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start.

“The idea that we would prevent the supply of beef for another few days and potentially lose contracts, market share is something we need to think very, very carefully about.

“We have got to try to get the systems moving again, while putting in place new structures in place.

“Some of the structures set up in it can change the beef industry for the better. There is another picture we need to see and it’s Brexit. It’s possible, but I hope unlikely, that Britain could crash out of the EU and not only will we have a market that is depressed in terms of sterling depreciation but we could have tariff barriers and non tariff barriers and a a perhaps dramatic reduction in the value of sterling.

“The beef sector must try to protect itself from really significant damage.”

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Beef farmers, he said, have had a really tough few years and he sympathises with them.

“The impact of Brexit is already hitting them in terms of prices. we are living through an international market for beef where prices are weak and our reliance on the UK and a depressed sterling has had more of an impact in terms of low prices.”

Online Editors


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