The Beef Plan Movement has called the Government’s commitment to beef farmers into question following a recent meeting between chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe on Monday.
A spokesperson for the Roscommon Beef Plan Movement said: “It is universally accepted that Irish beef farmers are one of the most vulnerable sectors with respect to Brexit with 52% of our exports going to the UK. With this in mind, we question why Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed did not meet with Michel Barnier.
“The Beef Plan Movement have outlined the difficulties that Irish beef farmers face on numerous occasions to the Minister. The current beef price is 40c/kg below what it was this week last year. Farmers are making severe losses on cattle – particularly winter finishers.
“We need our concerns to be communicated in the strongest possible terms – particularly in the case of a possible no-deal scenario. It is a missed opportunity for this Government to show their long-term commitment to the Irish beef farmer”.
The spokesperson added that this week’s roll-out of the Green Schools initiative and Glanbia and Kepak’s Twenty20 Beef Club launch showed a blatant disregard for farmers.
“There are many aspects of the Green Schools programme that are commendable but there is a blatant disregard for the food pyramid of which meat and dairy are cornerstones.
“The fact that Minister Richard Bruton has endorsed this programme to reduce students’ carbon footprint shows a blatant disregard for the farming community with ‘Meat Free Mondays’ and ‘Vegan Hotpots’ among the suggestions.
“It beggars belief that endorsement of this document comes hot on the heels of a declaration by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that he was eating less meat a few weeks ago – followed by his Hereford steak a few days later to quell anger at the initial statement.
“It is becoming clear to rural dwellers that Fine Gael and the current government are growing increasingly removed from the issues encountered by farmers every day”.