Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue is urging the DG Competition in Brussels to carefully examine the findings of an IFA report into the proposed merger of beef processors ABP and Slaney Foods.  The EU Commission is expected to make a ruling on the case in mid-October.

Deputy McConalogue, “The threat to the beef sector from this merger cannot be overestimated and the contents of the IFA report fully reflect that.  I’m unsurprised that the processing sector has responded by trying to downplay the seriousness of the move, but I am not convinced by their argument.

“The beef sector is hugely important in Ireland’s overall agri-business industry and must be protected.  Beef farmers have come through a difficult few years, with the collapse of bull beef prices, labelling issues and factories shifting the goalposts on producers.  Concentrating the market power of these processors will further limit competition and will have a detrimental impact on farmers.

“Reduced competition, combined with increased market dominance by a small number of players is bad for farmers and cannot be allowed to go ahead.  In its report the IFA raised legitimate competition concerns, which must be fully examined by DG Competition.

“Fianna Fáil has consistently argued for fair pricing and transparency in the food supply chain, but unfortunately over the past few years farmers have been getting a raw deal.  This needs to change.  Minister Creed must stand up for beef farmers instead of pandering to big business.  Without his backing, the entire beef sector is being put at risk”.