Meetings between Minister for agriculture, farm bodies and processors futile…

Sligo News File Online.

Sligo Fianna Fail senator, Marc MacSharry has slammed beef crisis  
beef crisis meetings between the Minister for Agriculture, farm organisations and beef processors as “futile without tangible action at EU level to remove market constraints affecting hard-pressed farmers.”

Senator Marc MacSharry
Senator Marc MacSharry,
Fianna Fail

He said that despite repeated calls from Fianna Fail, “no action has been taken to enforce Article 39b of the EU Treaty which guarantees a fair price for farm families for their produce.

“Minister Simon Coveney has failed to act in this regard,” he said.

“Since September I and others have travelled to Brussels to lobby the EU Commission for the introduction of regulations to prevent supermarkets and processors from imposing unfair barriers to trade based on the specifications, age and number of movements of cattle, which are discriminatory and should be made illegal.

“We have also sought a more proactive approach by government in broadening the international market for Irish beef products.

“Fianna Fail is demanding tangible outcomes and not just superficial talks during this beef forum. We are calling on Minister Coveney to immediately seek EU intervention on discriminatory practices depriving small farmers of a fair living.

“He must immediately establish a €200 per head beef genomics scheme to boost farm incomes.

“An independent beef regulator must urgently be appointed to ensure that the exploitation of farmers by large multiples and processors is stopped.

“The government must also take a more proactive role in seeking the removal of unnecessary BSE era age restrictions and the broadening of the market for Irish beef across the world.”

Senator MacSharry said that while engagement between the government, the industry and the IFA was important on an ongoing basis, “without tangible outcomes they are futile and superficial.

“This is why it is imperative that there are real outcomes from the beef forum.”