“End of Beef Protests should mark beginning for radical change in sector” – Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has commended protesting beef farmers for shining a spotlight on the inequalities in their sector. He said that the decision to call off the pickets was the right one but that government and the meat industry must use this opportunity to bring about the radical reform that is required.
Carthy, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture & Rural Development committee, said
“Farmers never wanted to be on picket lines. They mounted protests because they were at breaking point. Their actions have shone a spotlight on the inequalities in the market that they operate in. It was due to their resolve that the Meat Industry went further than they had ever intended in talks.
“The spotlight must remain focused on the inequalities that remain in this sector. The farmers who this weekend decided to stand down from their protests made the right call. But, that doesn’t mean that government and industry can return to normal. Action is required by the factories themselves but also by government.
“For our part, we in Sinn Féin will continue to press for the radical reforms required. The government must work with us to bring forward the measures that will protect our family farms. That means ensuring that farmers secure fair prices for their products, that there is full transparency across the sector and that the EU market is not flooded with cheap beef imports. It also means that the premium product that is natural, grass-fed beef is recognised in labelling and price structures. Beef from factory feed-lots is not the same product, it should not be allowed to distort the market.
“Sinn Féin will continue to work at domestic and EU level to introduce provisions to protect our family farms. The end of the beef protests should mark the beginning for the radical change that is required”.