Carthy claims Government inaction worsening beef crisis
The Sinn Fein MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has claimed that the Irish Government’s approach to the crises in the beef sector is worsening the situation faced by farers.
Carthy, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture & Rural Development committee, commented:
“The events of the past week should be taken as a wakeup call for the Irish Government and particularly Minister Creed. I commend the farmer representative organisations for making it abundantly clear to the government that the situation has reached crisis point.
“By protesting and refusing to attend the Beef Roundtable, they are reflecting the view of the members that the time for talking shops are past. Strong leadership is now required from government rather than the inaction that has marked their response to date.
“The ongoing reduction in beef prices have been compounded by this year’s weather conditions. Feed bills have spiralled while other costs have mounted yet rather than solidarity from the beef sector there have been attempts to exploit the situation while the government sat on their hands. Last week’s reduction of prime cattle base quotas by 5c shows processors lack of regard for suppliers on the edge.
“It is unfortunate that the only rise in prices may come from scarcity of supply due to the unfavourable market conditions.
“Minister Creed claims this is beyond his control, but the rise in beef prices in Britain expose this fallacy. The government’s must-vaunted pursuit of trade deals has had no impact the prices farmers receive. Any Irish benefit appears confined to the balance sheet of the factories.
“Farmers must be able to depend on the government to challenge factories and retailers when they are clearly exploiting market conditions. Instead, government are content to allow farmers to use CAP payments to compensate for poor prices.
“Average incomes in the sector amount to just 60% of the “living wage”. This is clearly unsustainable. Government intervention is required now. Minister Creed must declare whether he is willing to provide the leadership required or if he intends to pursue his strategy of inaction. If the latter, then he should be removed from office.
“For our part, Sinn Fein will continue to support farmers’ call for a sucker payment, and in government we would move swiftly to tackle the problem at source”.