Meat processors must return to talks, remove legal threats and commit to addressing key issues – Smith


Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has called on meat processors to return to talks, remove legal threats and agree to address key outstanding issues in reconvened beef talks.

Deputy Smith commented, “The previous round of talks were unsuccessful due to the failure of meat processors to properly address a number of key issues in the beef supply chain and it is simply not acceptable that they now refuse to engage further in reconvened beef talks.

“Instead Meat Processors should immediately announce that they will remove all legal threats to farmers and indicate a willingness to address key outstanding issues. It is only by doing this that farmers can have any confidence that the renewed talks can deliver a constructive outcome.

“Meat Processors must accept that they will have to address key issues such as the 30 months age limit, the four movement rule, and the 70 day residency requirement if farmers are to accept that meat processors are serious about addressing their concerns.

“Last weeks meeting of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee agreed to a Fianna Fáil proposal mandating the Minister for Agriculture to initiate the immediate resumption of talks and calling for meat processors to demonstrate a willingness to address these key issues.  The Committee also unanimously agreed the necessity for retailers to be included in talks.

“It is most disappointing to see retailers also refuse to take part in talks due to start yesterday and Minister Creed must insist on their attendance. All involved in the beef supply chain must show respect for farmers who are the primary producer by attending the talks. Minister Creed must also ensure that those who are representing farmers on the protest lines are fully included in negotiations.

“There is an onus on Minister Creed to now ensure that meat processors and retailers engage in reconvened talks immediately.  All must realise that it is only by getting back around the talks table that the current crisis can be resolved,” concluded Deputy Brendan Smith.