-Government must commit to securing additional EU financial support-
Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, says that any further talks should deliver results for Beef Farmers in Cavan-Monaghan.
Deputy Smith explained, “It was determined action by Beef Farmers in support of the Beef Plan Movement protests recently which forced Meat Factories to the negotiating table and it is essential that we now see results from this process for farmers if and when talks resume.
“Issues such as the QPS Grid; movement, age and weight restrictions on cattle; the two-tier pricing structure and the need for transparency in the Beef Supply Chain must all be addressed conclusively. The Government must also immediately demand the attendance of Retail Multiples at talks to address the requirement for a fair margin for beef farming families.
“In addition, the Government must commit to securing financial aid from the European Commission to address the continuing financial losses for beef farmers.
“Article 39.1(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states the EU seek ‘to ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural community, in particular by increasing the individual earnings of persons engaged in agriculture’. It’s time that Fine Gael in Government sought to invoke this clause and that the EU Commission take tangible action to give it effect.
“Farming families in Cavan-Monaghan must have the opportunity to recover the cost of production plus a margin for their products. As things stand, they are expected to effectively engage in slave labour to support the lion’s share of the consumer price going to highly profitable Retail Multiples. This situation is totally unacceptable.
“Base beef prices are now lower than experienced during the reference period of September to May covered by the recently announced EU co funded BEAM scheme. Further assistance for farmers is required and Minister Creed needs to provide the assurances that this will be forthcoming. Such funding should not have unnecessary conditions attached and reflect the market disturbance currently being experienced.
“We also need to see a plan to increase live exports over the coming months to provide more competition in the market. This is a matter I have raised directly with the Minister recently. The Government has a central role to play in assisting to develop these markets and must step up in this regard” concluded Deputy Smith.