Over 400 farmers attended the Beef Plan Meeting in Kilkenny which was held at Newpark Hotel on Wednesday night (November 28th).
Speakers included Emma McCormack - agricultural student; Hugh Doyle; Alison De Vere Hunt - Cashel Mart; George Candler - Kilkenny Mart; Alan O’Brien; Willie Fay - a cattle exporter and Noel McGoldrick - Irish Charolais Cattle Society.
Once the floor had been opened to questions, dozens of farmers took to the mic to share their experiences, make suggestions and to ask questions on the details of the Plan, according to the group’s public officer - Emma McCormack.
“Many people expressed anger and disgust toward governing bodies and farm unions whom they had previously placed their faith in.”
“Farmers felt they had been exploited time and time again, with no one to turn to.” Emma McCormack said.
Emma said that the Beef Plan Committee accepted the fact that it is important to pinpoint the reasons the sector has taken such a hit in order to learn from the downfall, but they went on to stress that there is equal importance in drawing a line and moving on from what has happened.
“The vast majority of farmers who attended the Kilkenny meeting appeared grateful to be offered a chance to resolve the beef crisis, which is currently at an all-time low,” Emma said.
A minute of silence was offered toward the end of the meeting by Eamon Corley, for the farmers who sadly are no longer with us.
He acknowledged the fact that things have become increasingly unbearable and difficult for beef farmers over the past number of years, and sadly some could not see any light at the end of the tunnel.
Strength in numbers
The group hopes to expand by a further 30,000 members at a minimum, with the idea that there is strength in numbers and the proposed changes will happen with enough people fighting for them.
The group claims to have almost 9,000 members, with good progress being made, according to Eamon Corley - the group’s chairperson and spokesperson.
He said the group was created a number of weeks ago in a bid to help farmers get a fair payment for their produce, among other things.
The seven-year plan outlines eighty-six potential modifications which can be made to the beef sector and the group is constantly taking suggestions on board, adding to the plan and tweaking it based on what Irish farmers want.
“The whole idea behind this Movement is for farmers to take back some control over the sector they run and make aprofit,” Eamon said.
“The majority of beef farmers are barely covering costs, due to uneven distribution of money within the sector. Essentially, we are asking farmers to come on board and fight for their right to farm. We need everyone behind us, in order for farmers to truly reap the rewards and regain control of their businesses.”
“The response to the Plan has been phenomenal so far and we have every belief that we will succeed. Farmers have had enough, and it is time to make a change.” Eamon concluded.
Farmers can join the group via the website, which offers information on upcoming meetings, as well as a detailed description of the Plan itself.
Whatsapp groups have been created for each county and farmers can communicate directly with one another, regarding the next steps to be taken - there is a €10 fee, which covers administration costs.Upcoming Meetings:
- Galway/Clare: Gort Mart - December 4th at 8:00pm;
- Westmeath/Longford/Offaly: Downs GAA Club, Mullingar - December 5th at 8:00pm;
- Galway: Ballinasloe Mart - December 11th at 8:00pm;
- Cork: Kanturk Mart - December 12th at 8:00pm;
- Wicklow/Wexford: Riverside Park Hotel, Enniscorthy - December 17th at 8:00pm.