A political party has called on the government and the European Union to suspend all non-EU beef imports as a “matter of urgency”.
Sinn Féin said “decisive” action needs to be taken to protect the agricultural industry in Ireland and across Europe.
Sinn Féin MEP, Chris MacManus, who sits on the EU Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, said, “We need to stop harmful imports of beef to help the sector survive a decline in demand caused by the fallout from the coronavirus.”
“Our current situation is unprecedented in modern times and we need a response to match. The ‘wait and see’ approach from the government and the European Union isn’t good enough.”
“We know we are facing a severe decline in demand across the board that will have a profound impact on agricultural markets. This is particularly true of the beef sector, which was already on its knees prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus.”
The political party said the removal of non-EU beef from the markets will help to stabilise prices by reducing supply into the EU.
It also believes that the EU should also monitor other import of agricultural produce closely to ensure it is not harming domestic prices.
“This is about protecting the livelihoods of farmers and rural communities, but it is also about guaranteeing food security.”
“To do this, we need to ensure that farmers are getting a fair price for their produce that keeps them in business.”
“The coronavirus has consistently shown us that a rapid response is vital in order to keep pace with the pandemic and indeed the impact of the virus.”
“It has also shown us that we need bold action that reflects the severity of the crisis we face.”
MacManus said the same level of decisive action is needed for farmers and the food supply chain.