It’s claimed Government measures with “a bite” are now needed to resolve the ongoing beef dispute.
Former Labour TD Michael McNamara has welcomed calls for an investigation into whether meat processors are operating as a cartel.
It comes as Kepak has indefinitely suspended it’s planned 6.5 million euro investment in its Drumquin facility in Clare, as Clare FM’s Fiona Cahill reports.
The Government has warned that the future of the beef industry is now at tipping point.
Ministers have said that if the dispute doesn’t come to an end soon, it won’t be possible to prevent irreparable damage in the event of a no deal Brexit.
But in a Dáil discussion last night, Clare TD Michael Harty stood in the farmers’ corner, telling TDs that processors should be investigated to ensure they’re not engaged in anti-competitive practices.
A number of farmers throughout the country have rejected the deal brokered this past weekend, and continued pickets at the Kepak plant in Drumquin.
They’ve now prompted that company to say it’s “suspending indefinitely” a planned €6.5 million upgrade there.
Kepak says protesters are threatening the long-term viability of the sector, but those farmers insist they cannot continue to produce animals at costs that are higher than their income.
Clare Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley accused Minister Michael Creed of failing to broker a deal that addressed these concerns.
Today, the Restaurants Association of Ireland is calling on protesters to stand down in the “national interest.”
The association says that half of restaurants around the country won’t have beef on their menus next week if protests continue and that Steak houses in particular are facing a serious financial hit, as some have bought beef in bulk.
Adrian Cummins from the Restaurants Association of Ireland says enough is enough.
But a former Clare Labour TD doesn’t believe that the deal reached last weekend amounts to much.
Michael McNamara inists that meaningful negotiations are needed to resolve the current impasse and says it’s up to the Government to put strong measures in place to allow that to happen.