Although the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed this week confirmed that talks with beef stakeholders have successfully concluded, the general consensus in the local area has been that farmers are still grossly dissatisfied with the on-going situation.
There have been some minor concessions made including commitments on review of the grid; review of the in-spec criteria for the quality payment system bonus; availability of carcass images; appeals system for carcass classification in manually grading factories; publication of an expert report on new technology in mechanical carcass classification and promotional initiatives for the beef sector and market transparency initiatives.
However, local farmers have this week expressed their continuing concern at the fact there has been no breakthrough on the main issue surrounding the prices they are receiving for beef.
“We still feel very let down by these negotiations,” stated Elphin farmer Conal Tiernan. “These concessions this week are only token gestures and are not dealing with the main issue of the beef prices which has been at the centre of this all”.
Conal also confirmed that the next course of action may be to return to the picket line once more.
“There are so many disgruntled farmers out there. It is very possible that farmers will be returning to picket factories and supermarkets in order to vent our continued frustration at recent developments,” he added.
“We are calling on everybody in rural Ireland to get behind us because this is very much a problem for all of rural Ireland,” he added.
This latest feedback is contrary to reports circulating this week complimenting all those involved in the talks for the progress made, with Minister Creed thanking Michael Dowling for his “excellent work in chairing the talks and all of the participants for the constructive engagement throughout the process”.