Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue needs to immediately convene a forum which allows farmers to have their voices heard and issues addressed, according to the Irish Beef and Lamb Association (IBLA).
The association said it was the only farm organisation to request that the Beef Market Taskforce not be wound down as “there is a huge body of work still remaining to be completed”.
Minister McConalogue announced that the taskforce had concluded its work last month. He also signalled that a new strategic stakeholder forum will be set up in due course to ensure ongoing stakeholder engagement.
The comments from the IBLA come as a group of farmers, known as the Individual Farmers of Ireland, hold a protest at a Musgraves distribution centre in Kilcock.
The IBLA said it recognises the frustration and despair experienced by farmers once again and said that this led to farmers having to take matters into their own hands by engaging in public protest.
The association criticised other farmer representative groups.
“The decisions being made and endorsed by the majority of farm organisations do not reflect the views of the farmers on the ground.
“IBLA is the only farm organisation that called out the shortcomings of the end reports on the bodies of work undertaken by industry stakeholders at the recent beef taskforce.”
An IBLA spokesperson said it “now imperative that [Minister McConalogue] shows leadership again” and immediately reconvenes a stakeholder forum, now that the Beef Market Taskforce has been concluded.
It said such a forum must allow farmers to have their voices heard and have all the issues addressed in a fair and transparent manner.
“This forum must be conducted in an open setting and be livestreamed.
“It is imperative that the farming public are allowed to contribute via their representatives at the forum.
“The new forum should be conducted in a similar format as the joint Oireachtas committee on agriculture so that Irish farmers can really see who is representing them.”