Call for emergency beef summit amid growing protests

Galway Daily news Galway farmers awarded €2.2 million under beef finisher scheme

Galway TD Denis Naughten has said that the government must call an emergency summit between all parties in the beef sector as tensions continue to grow.

In Galway beef farmers have been protesting outside Liffey Meats in Ballinasloe since Monday over falling prices in the sector.

They have said that are ready to dig in for the long haul as similar protests are taking place around the country.

Other issues of deep alarm in the beef sector are the Mercosur trade deal and he potentially devastating impact of Brexit on exports.

“From my discussions with many farmers this week, it is clear that they do not want to be protesting but there is huge fear as to the viability of beef farming patricularly over the coming weeks,” said Denis Naughten.

“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 gesture of goodwill to farmers the Independent TD said that government should fast track a 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.”

According to Deputy Naughten in the past 15 years the share of the price of beef going to farmers has dropped by 25%, threatening the suckler industry and many rural communities.

“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”.