With all of the political manifestos now available, the Independent Farmers of Ireland has said they are very disappointed, but altogether surprised, with the “very poor grasp” among the main parties of the state of the Irish agri-food sector.
In a statement to this publication, a spokesperson said: “In the main, the political manifestos could be loosely described as nothing more than ‘window dressing’ or reorganising the deck chairs on the titanic. “
“No political party is committed to tackling the criminality, corruption and misrepresentation by the processors under the watchful eye of key state bodies, whose facilitation has lost them all credibility with the public.”
IFoI are calling as a matter of urgency;
- 1. For the abolition of Bord Bia, to be replaced by a body who will be “truly committed” to the promotion of Irish produce, both domestically and Internationally;
- 2. For the abolition of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), for their “failure” to address anti-competitive practices in the sector;
- 3. For the “immediate abolition” of the Beef Task Force, which has “ignored price, but has now delivered on its primary objective to get the beleaguered Minister for Agriculture past a general election”;
- 4. For an EU-led investigation into; a. the “fraudulent claiming of Flat Rate Vat by feedlot producers/processors, and the deployment of CAB for the recovery of the proceeds of crime”;
- B. The Irish government’s “failure” to implement the EU instruction in 2016 to close down the Flat Rate Vat provision resulting to “widespread abuse”;
- C. The “widespread mislabelling of foreign beef as Irish”;
- D. The “operation of a cartel within the Irish beef sector”, including rendering and processing of offal;
- E. The “obstacles” put in place by the Department of Agriculture & Food to “frustrate” live shipping of cattle;
- F. The Department of Agriculture & Food’s strategy of “shutting down small abattoirs further strengthening the hand of the large-scale processors”;
- G. The abolition of non-statutory levies being collected by processors on behalf of some farm organisations “creating anti-competitive practice”;
- H. The abuse of work permits covering migrant labour in the processing sector;
- I. All non-disclosure agreements signed between the Department of Agriculture and farm representative organisations since the year 2000.
Shared values of trust and respect
“Irrespective of the outcome of the general election IFoI, who is a totally voluntary organisation, will continue to fight for the good of Irish family farms and for viability of rural communities.”
Accordingly, the statement added, in the forthcoming general election, IFoI will support the election of some local candidates on the basis of its shared values of trust and respect for rural communities.