Independent TD Denis Naughten has called on Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to convene an emergency summit of all the key players in the beef sector “in light of growing tensions between farmers, processors and those regulating the beef sector”.
Deputy Naughten said: “From my recent discussions with many farmers, it is clear that they do not want to be protesting but there is huge fear as to the viability of beef farming particularly over the coming weeks.
“Before this situation escalates, Minister Creed needs to bring all of the players together under an independent chair to assess the current situation and explore all potential options for the beef sector.
“As a measure of goodwill the Government must commit to fast-tracking, as a matter of urgency, the new EU law which will ban 16 unfair trading practices covering agricultural and food products traded in the food supply chain.
“All farmers want is a fair price for what they produce but clearly someone is making a huge margin at their expense.
“In a recent survey I conducted, the share of the price of beef going to farmers has dropped by one quarter over the last 15 years, which clearly highlights the reason why the suckler beef sector is struggling and why we need new laws to ban unfair trading practices.
“The fact is our suckler beef industry is the lifeblood of towns and villages the length and breadth of the country and unless we get everybody around the table quickly then we risk condemning the Irish countryside to desolation,” concluded Denis Naughten.