Call For Beef Subsidies Leads To War Of Words In Council Chambers

There have been strong disagreements among two Clare Councillors following calls for a government subsidy to help struggling beef farmers cope with plummeting prices.

As base prices for factory-fit cattle remain worryingly low, some want to see financial support introduced.

But concern has been expressed in some quarters that this may in fact have a reverse effect.


Farmers in Ireland have been struggling with low beef prices for several months now, with no sign of any let up.

It’s led to serious concern among farming groups, with the IFA saying just this week that some farmers are facing financial ruin.

The possibility of post-Brexit tariffs on Irish beef exports to the UK, too, is leading to concern the UK will look elsewhere for cheaper produce, and that reduced demand will hurt farmers further.

Maghera Fianna Fáil Councillor Pat Hayes believes farmers are being discouraged from staying in the sector and wants a subsidy introduced.

But that call hasn’t received a universal welcome.

Whitegate Fine Gael Councillor Pat Burke feels it would, in fact, negatively impact on the beef trade.

The Beef Plan Group, meanwhile, is advocating going back to basics in terms of beef production to protect the industry going forward.

The group has been holding meetings throughout the county in recent weeks – this week they visited Scarriff while next week they’ll be in Kilrush.

Clare Chair of the grassroots group, Joseph Woulfe, says focusing on local produce will help protect prices.