IFA National Treasurer meets with Beef Plan protesters
In a significant move, IFA National Treasurer and presidential candidate Tim Cullinan has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed to intervene immediately to resolve the escalating crisis in the beef sector.
Last week, the organisation declined to comment when asked by the Farming Independent if it would join farmer protesters at factory gates.
Yesterday, Mr Cullinan, who is from Toomevara, met with farmers at ABP Nenagh and accused Minister Creed of abdicating his responsibility to the sector and is ignoring the clear message from the ongoing farmer protests at factory gates which are now entering their second week.
“This crisis has been in the making for over a year and yet the Minister has completely failed to face up to it. He is in denial and standing idly by while cattle prices are in free-fall.”
“It is unthinkable that a sector of the size and significance of the beef industry has been ignored by the Minister responsible. In no other sector of comparable scale would this have been allowed to happen.”
“I want immediate and direct intervention by Minister Creed. I do not want further committees, working groups or talking shops. I want the Minister to bring ABP, Dawn Meats and Kepak into his office with farmer representatives, to once and for all deal with the crisis.
He said there was a catalogue of issues which need to be addressed starting with cattle prices. The GRID system, which he claimed was heavily stacked against farmers and weighted towards the factories, need to be reviewed immediately.
The Beef Plan Movement is set to continue its protests at meat factory gates into a second week as the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed comes under increased pressure to intervene in the dispute.
On Friday, Fianna Fail joined a now chorus of calls including former Minister Denis Naughten for the Minister to bring both sides to the table to find a resolution to the dispute.
Recent months have seen beef farmers hit with a host of blows including Brexit fallout, Mercosur and US trade deals as well as increased pressure over their environmental performance.
Late last week, US President Donald Trump hailed a deal to sell more American beef to Europe a move which farmers have described as another example of beef farmers being sacrificed for other sectors.
Processors have to date refused to engage with the Beef Plan Movement until they call off the protests despite significant disruption to processing last week.