“The Minister must make it clear to factories that the fodder crisis cannot be used to drop the price paid to farmers for cattle, as the severe fodder shortage crisis has transformed into a full-blown income crisis," Fianna Fáil spokesperson on agriculture and food Charlie McConalogue said.

He called on Minister Creed to immediately convene the Beef Forum.

He said the forum is needed to enable all stakeholders to input their proposals on how beef farmers can be directly supported.

“It is incredulous that beef factories are pulling prices, at the very moment farmers are at their wits end with prices below €3.80/kg. Cattle prices in Britain, our main beef export market, have increased in the last few weeks in contrast to the prices cuts from Irish factories," McConalogue said.

The Beef Forum last met in February, but with Brexit and Mercosur on the horizon McConalogue says it should meet more regularly.

“A key plank of Fianna Fáil policy is to campaign for a dedicated suckler fund in the next CAP. In the meantime, Government must immediately commence the process of working towards the introduction of a €200 suckler cow payment," he said.

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