Farmers are facing 'financial ruin', says Beef Plan Movement vice-chairman

Vice-Chairman of the Beef Plan West Region David Whelehan told RTÉ Radio's Morning Ireland that following consultations with members they concluded that despite a few small gains, the main key issues have not been addressed in an adequate or meaningful way.

Farmers are facing 'financial ruin', says Beef Plan Movement vice-chairman

Update 11.20am: Vice-Chairman of the Beef Plan West Region David Whelehan told RTÉ Radio's Morning Ireland that following consultations with members they concluded that despite a few small gains, the main key issues have not been addressed in an adequate or meaningful way.

He said the document was only a draft proposal and had not been signed off on.

"We didn't consent to the deal, we've actually signed off on nothing, the document is only a draft proposal.

"Because we are a volunteer organisation the majority of our members would be part-time farmers who have day jobs and we have had to consult with our membership base, because the whole basis and foundation of our organisation is based around transparency and about listening to our members based on the ground."

Mr Whelehan also said "absolutely no way" when asked about organising protests, adding that they have officially stood down.

He said that the pickets seem to be by individual farmers who are aggrieved and farmers on the picket lines have obviously seen that the talks have not worked.

There is no transparency in the industry and anti-competitive practices - which he called price controlling measures - in the industry leave farms unviable and unsustainable.

"Until such a time that the minister and the industry come up with a workable solution that keep our farms viable I can't see any change from the situation we're in at the moment," he added.

"Minister Creed is going to have to address these issues. Our membership have said no to the deal that is on the table. They say it's not good enough," said Mr Whelehan.

"We all know that the key issues in the industry really disadvantages the primary producer, there is no level playing field, there is no transparency.

They leave our farms and businesses both unviable and unsustainable, and the majority of our members are facing financial ruin.

"It's up to the industry to come forward with meaningful proposals to ensure the primary producer provides them with the raw product that they need to make their businesses sustainable and return a fair share. We are not asking for much, we are asking for a fair share of the end retail price."

He described the beef industry as "very profitable".

"You have three toxic ingredients that makes up this industry – you have power, money and greed," he added.

Additional reporting by PA

Beef Plan Movement rejects deal saying it doesn't go far enough

By Digital Desk

Update 8am: The Beef Plan Movement has rejected the deal hammered out between farmers and industry representatives.

It says it does not go far enough to deal with real pricing control measures that factories and retailers put on farmers.

The agreement reached last week had dealt with some key issues, however, farmers had expressed their disappointment that pricing was not addressed.

Protests are set to take place today at some meat plants in relation to the issue.

The Beef Plan Movement is not endorsing those demonstrations.

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) says it is disappointed that the protests have resumed at a number of beef processing plants since yesterday afternoon.

Industry representatives says price was not and could not be discussed during these talks.

In a statement, MII says price is determined by conditions in the market which is extremely challenging.

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