Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue has today called on Minister Creed to meet with farming representative organisations and the meat industry to address the growing crisis affecting the beef sector.

“It’s high time the Minister for Agriculture became engaged and tried to address the growing crisis in the Beef Sector. This week has seen rolling protests by the Beef Plan Movement at factory gates across the country as well as protests by the IFA at the EU Veterinary Office in Co Meath.

“Beef farmers are on their knees with prices at a low that hasn’t been seen for many years. It’s simply not sustainable for the Government to expect farmers to continue to carry such heavy losses. The Minister must roll up his sleeves and seek to address the frustration that has led farmers to the picket lines this week.

“The Minister can’t simply sit back and watch from the side-lines as the situation deteriorates by the day. He should immediately meet with the farmer representative organisations and the meat industry and give leadership at this time of crisis.

“Base beef prices for steers are now as low at €3.45 kg which is lower than experienced during the reference period of September to May covered by the recently announced €100 million EU co funded BEAM scheme.

“Further assistance for farmers is going to be required and Minister Creed needs to provide the assurances that this will be forthcoming.

“Minister Creed must also act to ensure that there is transparency brought to the meat industry and see that factories are not allowed to continuously take advantage of famers’ weak position in the food supply chain.

“Farmers have once again posed legitimate questions this week on a number of issues to the Meat Processing Industry which need to be answered. It is past time that Minister Creed got involved to ensure that these issues are addressed and that the crisis is not allowed to worsen further,” concluded McConalogue.