Meat Industry Ireland boss Cormac Healy is to leave the organisation to take up a role as director of Drinks Ireland.
Having returned to MII in 2015, Healy has played a central role in representing the Irish meat processing industry at home and abroad in recent years.
He rose to public prominence in 2019 when farmers protested outside meat plants for several weeks over poor beef prices.
Healy was a staunch defender of the industry during that period and, as a result, came in for significant criticism from protesting farmers.
Originally from South Tipperary, where he grew up on a beef and lamb farm, Healy is a graduate of Agricultural Science from UCD and has worked in the meat industry since 1993.
In a recent interview with the Irish Independent, Healy said he saw part of his job as “advocating for farmers”.
“When I started out, our meat exports were a frozen commodity with supports from Brussels, and today we have transformed into a fresh chilled product sector exporting across Europe and the world,” he said.
Healy leaves the industry as beef prices reach record levels after further increases this week on the back of strong demand.
Base prices for bullocks and heifers now range from €5.10-5.20/kg, with some factory agents reporting that bases of up to €5.30/kg were now being offered for bigger consignments.
The trade for cull cows is said to be particularly strong, with €5.00/kg being paid for R grading cows, with Continental O grades making up to 4.90/kg, while flat prices of €4.60-4.75/kg are reported for O and P grade Friesians.
The strong trade is also driving stunning prices for heavy cattle at marts nationwide. The average Continental bullock is said to be selling from €2.80-3.00/kg, almost regardless of weight, with top-end stock freely making from €3.20-3.30/kg.
Most mart managers the Farming Independent spoke to this week also
agreed that both factories and feedlots are currently accounting for a far higher proportion of purchases than would be normal.
Joe Clune of Sixmilebridge mart summed up the current trade for beef when he said that its “€3/kg in the ring for heavy bullocks, heifers and cull cows. Beef is just that again, beef. No differentiation on age or grades”.