Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue TD has called on meat processors to remove legal threats and agree to address key outstanding issues in reconvened beef talks.

“The previous round of talks were unsuccessful due to the failure of meat processors to properly address a number of key issues in the beef supply chain and they must now indicate a willingness to address these in order to resolve the current beef crisis”, said Deputy McConalogue.

“Issues such as the 30 months age limit, the four movement rule, and the 70 day residency requirement must be up for negotiation if farmers are to accept that meat processors are serious about addressing their concerns.

“I welcome the unanimous support at today’s meeting of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee for Fianna Fáil’s proposal mandating the Minister for Agriculture to seek the immediate resumption of talks and calling for meat processors to demonstrate a willingness to address these issues as part of a renewed talks process. The Committee also unanimously agreed the necessity for retailers to be included in talks.

“Meat processors must accept that they have demonstrated no reasonable basis for the continuation of these unjustified requirements.

“The 30 month age limit puts undue pressure on farmers to sell cattle and contributes to a spike in supply at the back end of each year when a significant number of animals reach the 30 month threshold.

“With regard to the four movement rule, meat processors have not demonstrated any rationale as to why animals that have moved more than four times between quality assured farms should not be paid the quality assurance bonus.

“The 70 day residency requirement puts an unfair restriction on famers selling their animals through marts before slaughter, removing an outlet for smaller farmers in particular to generate competition for their finished animals.

“Meat processors need to realise that it is by agreeing to address these key issues in resumed talks that the current beef crisis can be addressed. They must now remove any legal threats to farmers and enable meaningful talks to proceed,” concluded Deputy McConalogue.