MEP Matt Carthy has criticised Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed’s “deafening” silence on the Beef Plan Movement factory protests.
Carthy said that Government and minister intervention was needed as a matter of urgency.
“He cannot play the role of the detached observer – the Government has a role to intervene to resolve this dispute as a matter of urgency and Minister Creed has a responsibility to personally intervene,” Carthy said.
“Farmers are not asking for anything radical. They are simply requesting that they receive a fair price for their product and a guarantee that they will be paid more than their cost of production.”
Although Minister Creed released a statement saying that he could not intervene on the matter of beef prices, his comments have been lambasted by the Beef Plan and labelled as a “divergence tactic” by the group.
Carthy pointed out that incomes on beef farms were at an all-time low and the situation wasn’t helped by the Mercosur trade deal which will allow for cheap imports of Brazilian meat.
“The beef farmer's share of the supermarket sale price amounts to just 20%. Is it any wonder that farmers are at the constant brink of bankruptcy,” he said.
“At €8,300, cattle-rearing incomes amount to around a third of what is considered the living wage.”
He concluded by saying that Sinn Féin would continue to stand with farmers on the picket lines for as long as it would take for people to understand that rural Ireland needed farm families to survive.