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Farmers have ‘no options’ but to protest if taskforce winds down – IBLA

“To conclude or wind down the [beef market] taskforce removes that right of grievance procedure and leaves no options available to primary producers only to return to protest to have their voices heard.”

That is the view of the Irish Beef and Lamb Association, which issued a statement following yesterday afternoon’s sitting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture.

Members viewed the meeting which Beef Taskforce chairman Mr Michael Dowling and DAFM officials attended to give evidence on progress from the taskforce.

The beef market taskforce

“Many issues were raised by all members of the Ag committee, and from the questioning, it is abundantly clear that IBLA members are very positively engaged with their rural TDs.”

“We commend the scrutiny and lines of questioning observed during the meeting. There are many differing views, and perspectives from the taskforce stakeholders.”

IBLA has called on the ag committee to hear those different views from the farm organisation representatives who attend the taskforce.

“This will allow the ag committee to have a clearer, greater and more inclusive view of the workings, achievements and failures of the taskforce to date, and this is critically important from a farmer perspective.”

“The very reason that the taskforce was set up was to air, hear and resolve all farmer grievances relating to the beef industry.”

The group said it is only fitting that the ag committee affords taskforce representatives the opportunity to have their voice and those of farmers heard.

“The Beef Taskforce forum was set up as a direct result of the factory gate protests in 2019. The Beef Taskforce is the only forum to air grievances and conduct discussion with all stakeholders in the beef industry.”

A vast body of work to be carried out

“IBLA does not concur with the taskforce chairman that the taskforce remit is near a conclusion. On the contrary, there is a vast body of work to be carried out on behalf of farmers.“

“Minister McConalogue can continue to utilise the taskforce to set a pathway forward to address further outstanding issues.”

“He can broaden the scope of the taskforce to cover other bodies of work that need to be addressed in the meat industry.”

IBLA would also welcome, if the minister would request that the [beef market] taskforce scope out how and in what areas its remit could be extended and utilised, as a key forum for stakeholder engagement and for resolving grievance issues from the primary producers in the beef sector.”

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