Carthy calls on Minister Creed to intervene in Beef Agreement delays or risk new protests
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has criticised Minister Michael Creed for his failure to ensure progress is made in the implementation of the Irish beef Sector Agreement. Carthy this week called on the Minister engage in talks with the Beef Task Force members to resolve the outstanding issues, clearing the way for a new meeting.
Carthy, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture & Rural Development committee, said:
“The Agreement was signed on the 15th of September and the farming community cautiously welcomed it. However, any initial optimism has been quashed by a lack of implementation of a number of points of the agreement.
“Issues such as penalties and arbitrary quality rules have undermined farmers margins and have resulted in family farmers often selling to factories at a loss. The work of the Beef Task Force is core to addressing the imbalances in the sector that has put thousands of Irish farmers in this precarious position.
“The prospect of progress in these areas has been damaged by the refusal of APB associated companies to lift injunctions against some farmers who participated in protests. It is shameful that C&D continues to pursue legal action instead of working to rebuild the trust with farmers.
“The remaining injunctions have delayed the reconvening of the Beef Task Force and paralysed implementation of the Beef Agreement; they must be lifted immediately and MII cannot ignore the fact that they are implicated in the threats.
“It is imperative that Minister Creed moves now to break the deadlock, as Minister he is a guarantor of the Agreement.
“If this agreement is allowed to collapse, due to a bad faith by the factories and Government inaction, we will see the prospect of new picket lines emerging. Words of condemnation from the Minister at that point will count for little if he continues to sit on his hands during this crucial period.
“We in Sinn Féin continue to support our family farmers in their quest for fair prices and fair conditions. We want to see a sustainable solution reached and implemented. But, the Government’s inept approach to date has jeopardised the future of family farms and the rural communities that depend on them and is opening up the vista of a new series of protests.”