Fianna Fáil take swipe at Creed for ignoring farmers

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has been accused of ignoring farmers and exacerbating the beef crisis.

Fianna Fáil take swipe at Creed for ignoring farmers

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has been accused of ignoring farmers and exacerbating the beef crisis.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has hit out at the Government who he said only took notice of plummeting farm incomes when they were faced with the local elections in May.

It comes as meat processors pulled out of talks which had been due to take place today.

Round tables discussions had been planned to resume this evening at Backweston in Co Kildare, however, with 20 processing plants around the country still blockaded, Meat Industry Ireland has now refused to attend.

Taking direct aim at Mr Creed, Mr Martin said: "I don't think there was an understanding at government level as to how serious the beef crisis was, and how serious the plight that farmers are in."

Speaking as he arrived at the party's think-in in Wexford, Mr Martin said: "Minister Creed let this issue grow, this could have been dealt for two years ago. Now we have the result of that in terms of the protests that have been ongoing all summer. "

Mr Martin claimed that Fianna Fáil had put forward proposals for a framework to govern beef prices five years ago. He said there has been a growing anger among farmers in recent years who feel they have been ignored by the Government.

It's not today or yesterday that the crisis of primary producers was revealed and government, I think they have neglected that.

"The first real sign of a government response was during the local elections when the EU Commissioner Phil Hogan bailed them out with an announcement during an election," he said.

Mr Martin added: "I think it's important that everybody keeps an eye on the big picture in terms of the quality of grief and the fact that from the carbon footprint point of view it has to be acknowledged that it's a far more efficient sector than the beef other countries particularly countries, like in South America, for example. It's a genuine crisis and there are medium to longer term issues around sustainability."

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