Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív has accused the Government of failing to take any tangible action to ensure a fair price for beef farmers in the Republic of Ireland.
Over the past 12 months the price differential between Irish and British beef has increased significantly and now stands at €1.10 per kg, with the British price in euro terms increasing by some 35 cent per kg.
Deputy Ó Cuív explained: “Irish beef farmers are being left behind as the price difference between Irish and British beef prices continues to widen. This is completely unacceptable and is leaving Irish beef farmers at a serious disadvantage.
“Minister Simon Coveney committed to addressing the issues in the Irish beef sector more than a year ago, but aside from setting up a Beef Forum, little has changed. The forum itself has proven to be a toothless tiger and is floundering before our eyes this week. While I welcome any moves that will create better equality and transparency in the beef sector, the forum appears to be benefitting the processors to the detriment of the primary producer.
“Beef farmers are failing to secure prices comparable to those being delivered in our main export market - the UK – and Minister Coveney is doing nothing to step in and stop processors imposing punitive penalties on our producers. Some farmers are incurring penalties of up to 20 cent per kg for livestock over 420kg deadweight or 30 months of age. Beef farmers are really feeling the squeeze – with average beef prices hovering at around €4 per kg, and many of them are struggling to break even.
“Fianna Fáil has proposed a “Groceries Code Adjudicator”, similar to the one which operates in the UK, to enshrine the protection of primary producers in national law. Beef farmers will continue to be price takers as opposed to price makers under the current regime, which is completely unfair. Fianna Fáil wants to end this inequity by protecting beef farmers in the food supply chain and ensure they get a fair price for their produce.”