Both the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) and the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) have said that they will not attend the Beef Roundtable, according to Agriland.
The event is expected to take place at the Agriculture House in Dublin on Wednesday (3 October), and Agriland understands that the decision to miss the event was born from last week’s announcement from the IFA that the farmer representative group planned to stage protests outside the event rather than attend them.
Speaking at the time, IFA President Joe Healy confirmed that the group will not participate in the forum after it has “tried to constructively engage at the Beef Forum which is presided over by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed, but nothing has been delivered”.
These sentiments have been shared by Pat McCormack, the president of the ICMSA and ICSA president Patrick Kent.
McCormack said that his association has never passed a farmer picket, and based on its current understanding, the group is “unlikely to attend any meeting in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine offices on Wednesday next in the event of a farmer protest going ahead”.
He did add, however, that it is crucial that this action is not interpreted as a response to low beef prices, “because it is not”.
“The problems of the beef industry are inextricably linked to the problems inherent in the beef grid which was badly designed to the advantage of meat plants and has worked against farmers from the first day it was introduced – as we said it would,” McCormack said.
He said since the inception of the beef grid, farmers have lost approximately €120 million.
Kent, of the ICSA, said that his group would be absent due to the lack of solidarity shown by meat processors in recent weeks, adding that “cutting prices week after week is shameful”.
“It shows complete contempt for farmers and is particularly egregious when many are on their knees due to increased costs,” he said.
“There is no point in attending a roundtable discussion when factories are attending in bad faith.”
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.