Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív has accused the Government of sitting on its hands and failing to ensure a fair price for beef farmers. He raised the issue again in the Dáil this week, highlighting the increased price deferential between Irish beef and British beef in UK supermarkets.

Deputy Ó Cuív explained, “Over the past 12 months, the price for British beef price has increased by the equivalent of 70cent per kg, while the Irish price has gone up by only 10-15c/kg since last year. Because of the currency exchange rate, this is resulting in a British-Irish price differential of €1.10 per kg compared to a 70cent per kg differential in autumn 2014. This is completely unacceptable and is leaving Irish beef farmers at a serious disadvantage.

“Minister Simon Coveney committed to addressing the issues in the Irish beef sector more than a year ago, but aside from setting up a Beef Forum – little has changed. The forum itself has proven to be a toothless tiger. Beef farmers are really feeling the squeeze – with average beef prices hovering at around €4 per kg, which is leading them to just about break even.

“When questioned in the Dáil this week, the Minister refused to examine Fianna Fáil’s proposal of introducing a “Groceries Code Adjudicator”, similar to the one which operates in the UK, which would enshrine the protection of primary producers in national law. This anti rural government is continuing to leave farmers behind. The Minister is busy globetrotting and opening new food markets, which I of course welcome. However, there has been a total absence of political action by the Government in protecting the primary producers here in Ireland.

“Beef farmers will continue to be price takers as opposed to price makers under this regime, which is completely unfair. Fianna Fáil will continue to fight against this inequity by protecting beef farmers in the food supply chain and ensure they get a fair price for their produce”.