Unity: 'Everyone has to work together... separately we don't have a hope'

Rebecca Windrum and Alesha McAloon at the Virginia Agricultural Show.
Rebecca Windrum and Alesha McAloon at the Virginia Agricultural Show. PHOTO: LORRAINE TEEVAN
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Concern over beef prices was the hot topic of discussion at the Virginia Agricultural Show in Co Cavan yesterday.

A dispute between farmers and the meat industry emerged in recent weeks with pickets outside meat plants by members of the Beef Plan movement over the cost of beef.

Kells suckler farmer John Curran pointed out that he is a member of both IFA and Beef Plan, but feels more unity is needed among farmers if problems such as prices are to be solved.

"I don't see any future in having four or five different farm organisations. Everyone has to work together to try and achieve, because together we have a good chance. Separately, we don't have a hope."

He added that poor prices were a "sad reality" for beef farmers and was disappointed by the outcome of talks between farm organisations and Meat Industry Ireland which didn't address the issue.

"I am a member of the Beef Plan movement. I did a bit of protesting at Ballyjamesduff Mart," he said.

"If the beef man isn't getting a good price, it affects everything in rural Ireland. It'll be a sad day in rural Ireland if the situation doesn't improve because things are already isolating enough here."

Mullahoran beef farmer Eamon Reviss also thinks farmers in the Border region are disheartened by Brexit and poor returns for beef.

"The price of all beef at the moment is outrageous," he said.

IFA presidential candidate Tim Cullinan said at the show the beef talks were a "damp squib" and had failed to address the very serious penalties being imposed by factories on beef farmers costing over €30m per year.

"Failure to address the 30-month age limit alone has cost farmers €10m in 2018. If individual factories for individual contracts want a 30-month age limit, then they should negotiate this in advance with individual farmers."

Irish Independent