While the Beef Market Taskforce did most of what it set out to do, lessons must be learned from what it failed to do, according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA).

ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham said the need for a dedicated red meat regulator is something the association will continue to pursue with Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue.

Graham made the comments on Monday while welcoming the Minister’s commitment to establish a new strategic beef forum following the publication of the final beef taskforce report by the group’s chair Michael Dowling.

Lack of power

The Monaghan farmer claimed the taskforce did not have the power to make meaningful changes.

“While the beef taskforce did oversee the implementation of the majority of the agreed actions under the Irish beef sector agreement, it is ultimately what the taskforce was prevented from doing that should inform us going forward.”

“Crucially, it did not have the power to compel processors or retailers to co-operate with any of the independent reports it undertook.”

He warned that the ICSA does not want to see another beef forum where farmer representatives are operating with “one hand tied behind their backs” due to a lack of co-operation from major players.

“Any new beef sector forum that is established must be fit for purpose; it must have the power to deliver meaningful change.”

Red meat regulator

Graham called for a “dedicated red meat regulator equipped with the necessary powers and resources”.

“This is something which [the] ICSA has long since been fighting for and something which we continue to pursue with Minister McConalogue.”