The Clare chair of the IFA says farmers will happily allow the Beef Market Taskforce to proceed – but is warning that the legal threat against farmers must be lifted.
The government says it can’t say when the taskforce will be able to begin its work, following demonstrations on Monday which forced its meeting to be abandoned.
It’s now been three months since the beef protests first kicked off, when members of the Beef Plan Movement mounted demonstrations outside meat processing plants nationwide.
These grew legs and while the Beef Plan later distanced itself from them, farmers in their droves turned up in locations including Kepak at Drumquin, near Ennis.
Several rounds of talks eventually led to an agreement and the establishment of the Beef Market Taskforce, which was due to meet on Monday for the first time.
But there were angry scenes outside the Department of Agriculture when farmers blocked access to the building.
Farmers staged the action to highlight their anger over continued legal actions against some of those who refused to lift their blockades.
They demanded that the legal threat, by C&D Foods, be lifted.
The company is wholly owned by Larry Goodman’s ABP Group but says it’s run independently, and not a member of Meat Industry Ireland who are to take part in the Taskforce.
Junior Agriculture Minister Andrew Doyle last night hit out at those who took part in Monday’s protest.
Minister Doyle has now pleaded with farmers to allow the Beef Market Taskforce carry on with the work at hand.
Clare Chair of the IFA Willie Hanrahan says farmers are happy to do so – but he says first, the government needs to ensure that no farmer faces prosecution.
Meanwhile, Clare’s Independent TD Dr Michael Harty has issued a fresh call for a independent investigation into the meat processing industry.
Deputy Harty says things can’t continue as they are if the farmer is the only one in the process not operating at a profit.