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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Factories must be made to answer for failure to honour promises – TD

Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol Nolan has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, to immediately investigate why many of the agreements made on the Beef Taskforce are being reneged upon by factories.

Deputy Nolan put the issues to the minister during a Dáil debate on the agricultural sector and Covid-19.

“It has been brought to my attention by a number of farmers that the agreement that factories would confirm prices to farmers by text or email prior to arrival at the factory is just not happening.”

“As I understand it, there was another agreement to put weighing scales into factories, and that has not been acted upon either. It was also agreed that notice would be given to farmers of any changes to weight, and that is also not happening.”

She stated that it should now be evident to the Minister that there is a “profound” lack of honest trading in the supply chain and that this is not a sustainable model.

“The Minister needs to come to grips with that instead of producing so-called transparency reports, the findings of which have been routinely contested by farmers on the ground.”

Deputy Nolan stressed that Ireland is facing an “unacceptable” situation that constantly disadvantages farmers.

“It is leading to a situation where beef and suckler farmers are exiting the sector and opting for dairy. The minister needs to take this on board and challenge the factories to honour the basic commitments that were provided to farmers.” Deputy Nolan concluded.

Some miscellaneous industry commitments under Irish Beef Sector Agreement:
  • Meat industry confirmed that the base price at individual plant level applies to all steers and heifers regardless of age or breed;
  • No change in weight limits without a minimum of four months’ notice to the farmer;
  • Farmers have the right to access their carcass images;
  • Lairage weighing services will be provided on request, which may incur a nominal charge;
  • Written confirmation of terms of sale, where requested;
  • Farmers can opt-out of the insurance scheme for animals delivered to factories.
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