Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy has called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to intervene in the ongoing beef crisis, stating that it’s imperative that Meat Industry Ireland (MII) returns to the negotiating table.
Deputy Murphy welcomed Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed’s calls on MII to return to talks following the group’s announcement that it would walk away on Monday due to ongoing blockades of meat processing plants throughout the country.
“If Meat Industry Ireland fails to re-engage in these talks then we need the Taoiseach to intervene as the situation is escalating. Progress can only be made by getting all the groups back to the table. It is the only way we will have success and a resolution in the beef crisis,” Deputy Murphy said.
Meanwhile, Independent TD Denis Naughten has called on IBEC, the umbrella organisation for Meat Industry Ireland, to intervene in the ongoing dispute.
“Walking away from talks and locking the gates as Meat Industry Ireland has done will not only fail to resolve the current beef price impasse but is likely to lead to farmers leaving the industry altogether, which will have long-term consequences for meat processors,” he said.
Deputy Naughten added that the Irish beef sector was at a “crossroads” and that immediate steps needed to be taken to resolve the dispute.
“I cannot recall a situation where an IBEC member organisation has snubbed the invitation of a Cabinet Minister to sit down to talks. The fact is that this situation can only be resolved around the table and we now need constructive movement from the meat industry and IBEC,” he concluded.
MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan said he believes a “root and branch reform” of the entire sector is needed.
“The protesting beef farmers have rightly identified the key issues that are undermining their sector, the 30-month rule, the 4-movement rule and the 70-day residency rule. These rules have no scientific justification and are trade distorting and anti-competitive,” he said before urging farmers to “hold steadfast” in demanding movement on these issues and calling on Minister Creed to intervene with a major review of “all aspects of the beef industry”.
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carty had previously insisted that Minister Creed not be a “neutral observer” to beef talks and called on him to bring forward “supportive proposals to help secure the future viability of this sector”.
Meanwhile, following Meat Industry Ireland’s announcement that 3,000 members have been temporarily laid off due to “continuing illegal blockades of factories and intimidation of staff and suppliers by protestors”, SIPTU has called on the Government and Minister Creed to establish a taskforce to tackle the ongoing crisis.
Meetings to resolve the ongoing row were underway in Dublin last night (Wednesday) between the Minister for Agricultural Michael Creed, farm organisations and meat factories.