Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Sligo-Leitrim Cllr. Eamon Scanlon says small farmers are being ripped off by beef processors who are imposing penalties on Irish beef. The Sligo based councillor says farmers across the country are being unfairly penalised because of beef labelling criteria being enforced by British retailers and upheld by the processors.
Cllr. Scanlon commented, “This is a very serious problem for hundreds of farmers across the North West who are being slapped with penalties by Northern processors for so-called “nomad cattle”. The term itself is completely disingenuous. These are Irish cattle plain and simple and should be categorised as such. The fact that the retailers are allowed to impose these classifications is ridiculous and Minister Simon Coveney should be taking more stringent action to address this issue.
“The problem has a particular impact on farmers in the North West as many of them send their cattle to Northern processors because of their proximity to the border. These farmers face substantial penalties in selling their cattle to Northern meat processors and the situation is causing many farmers to re-evaluate their business.
“Beef farmers have already come through a very difficult period. Over the past two years, the price of bull beef collapsed, as factories shifted the goalposts on producers. The stringent labelling conditions imposed by the British authorities are exacerbating an already difficult situation and is threatening the livelihoods of farmers across the North West.
“The Government’s attitude to this crisis has been scandalous, with the Minister all but ignoring the situation. Minister Coveney has failed to grasp the seriousness of the issue, especially for farmers living along the border. There is no fairness in the current system and that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency”.