Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Sligo-Leitrim Cllr. Eamon Scanlon says beef farmers are facing into another crisis as British processors impose new penalties on Irish stock.  The Sligo based councillor is calling on the Agriculture Minister to address the situation without delay.

Cllr. Scanlon commented, “Farmers across the North West and around the rest of the country are extremely worried that they are heading towards a crisis similar to the one they faced less than 18 months ago, which saw prices collapse and revenues plummet.  No sooner have they weathered that crisis than they are being plunged into another one, yet Minister Coveney is adopting a hands-off approach to the situation.

“Only last week we saw one of the major British processors cutting prices by £1/kg on all non-UK stock.  This is unfairly penalising Irish farmers, who export the majority of their cattle to either Northern Ireland or the UK for finishing.  These processors are also bringing in new weight penalties, which will see the amount of money paid to farmers substantially reduced.

“I have been highlighting this issue for months, but this Government has done little to address the issue.  Minister Coveney established the Beef Forum in the aftermath of the first crisis but it has had no real impact on beef prices and has failed to protect producers.

“Fianna Fáil proposed a Groceries Code Adjudicator in its latest Agriculture policy.  This would ensure that farmers are paid a fair price for their produce and would guard against the domination of large retailers.  At the moment, processors and supermarket giants are dictating prices and farmers are losing out.  Minister Coveney cannot continue to turn a blind eye to this impending crisis and I am urging him to seriously consider our proposals”.