Independent TD and member of the Rural Independent Group Michael Collins has slammed the Government’s response to the group's Dáil motion seeking the immediate establishment of a statutory beef regulator to protect farmers’ interests.

“This week, the Government response to our motion was wishy-washy, non-committal and full of pretence,” Collins said.

“This approach is failing farmers and farm families and only serves to protect the interests of the beef barons.

“The current beef system in Ireland is broken.”

Key issue

A beef regulator was one of the key issues in previous beef protests outside meat factories across Ireland and a public consultation was launched on the introduction of a food ombudsman this year.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said he wants the ombudsman to bring greater levels of transparency to all levels of the food chain.

However, the Rural Independent Group believe a specific beef regulator is needed.

“Our proposals seek a regulator with real powers and resources to oversee the sector and to make direct recommendations to Government,” Collins said.

“The Irish beef sector has gone from crisis to crisis for years. Farmers have always been the losers.”