IFA's Healy says beef farmers disappointed not to secure immediate price increase at today's talks

IFA's Healy says beef farmers disappointed not to secure immediate price increase at today's talks

The Irish Farmers Association has said it is disappointed to walk away from today's Beef Market Taskforce meeting without a price increase for beef farmers.

The group called for an immediate and significant price increase to the amount they are being paid for beef products.

Today marked the first meeting of the Taskforce, which was forced to adjourn proceedings two months ago following a confrontation between farmers and meat industry representatives.

IFA President Joe Healy said they wasted no time in setting out their position for a price increase today, but walked away from the meeting empty-handed.

He said: "All farmers wanted from today was news of a price rise. We didn't get that, so that's disappointing. When it was mentioned (by) the Meat Industry Ireland representations that there should be a price rise in the short term, we want that immediately. Farmers need it immediately."

The senior director of Meat Industry Ireland said he would inform processors of farmers' calls for an immediate price increase.

Cormac Healy says the taskforce must meet for further discussions in the New Year, and for "many more meetings to follow through on the actions in the beef sector agreement."

EARLIER: Lack of progress at Beef Market Taskforce 'will return farmers to the picket line', says IFA Presidential candidate

The Beef Market Taskforce is to meet this morning, two months after it was originally due to happen.

It was due to meet in October but was called off due to protests, while last week hundreds of farmers took to the streets of Dublin, grinding parts of the city to a halt.

Farmers and representatives of the beef industry are expected to meet today to discuss the ongoing issues regarding the price of the meat.

They have nearly 40 actions to carry out on a range of issues and they include cattle prices which is top of the list for the Irish Farmers Association as they claim farmers are getting depressed prices at the factory gates.

They want the Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to attend the meeting which is due to begin at 9am.

IFA Presidential candidate, John Coughlan said the Beef Market Taskforce has 20 days to save farmers €20m.

He said the taskforce must immediately deliver a fair base price for beef farm families and address the meat industry’s failure to honour the Irish Beef Sector Agreement of September 15.

He claimed that Irish beef farmers have lost €60m to date and are set to lose another €20m by the end of the year "if the Taskforce does not hold beef factories to account".

Mr Coughlan said that lack of progress will lead to further unrest in the beef sector, prolonged protests and growing uncertainty for Ireland’s 75,000 beef farmers.

Ahead of the meeting Mr Coughlan said: "The work of the Beef Market Task Force has been long awaited. Irish beef farmers have placed huge trust in the group's commitment to ensure the implementation of the Irish Beef Sector Agreement reached at September’s beef talks that brought an end to over two months of farmer protests at beef factories across the country.

Any failure to progress tangible solutions for beef farmers will return farmers to the picket line and lead to further protests in Dublin as we approach the Christmas period.

"The Taskforce meets today with the challenge of securing a fair profit margin for beef farm families. The future of beef farming in Ireland is heavily compromised by the disproportionately high percentage of profit taken by beef processors and retailers.

“It is an utter disgrace that the Taskforce’s failure to hold the meat industry to account on the Agreement of 15 September has resulted in a loss of €60 million for Irish beef farmers. The Taskforce has 20 days to save beef farmers from losing a further €20 million.

“We need a Taskforce with teeth and not just another talking shop and I again call on the Taskforce’s Chair, Michael Dowling to show real leadership and secure tangible progress.

“I have set out seven key actions which are central to the future of Ireland’s beef industry and the ultimate success of the taskforce. We need to work together, progressively and collaboratively to achieve these and to secure the future and livelihood of over 75,000 farmers and families who are depending on the success of this Taskforce. Failure is not an option.”

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