Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture and Food Brian Stanley TD has called for beef farmers to be given a fair price for their produce as figures from the Beef Price Index reveal that Irish prices are now 50c/kg behind British prices.
Deputy Stanley made his comments as the IFA’s protests for fair pricing continue for a second day.
Speaking this morning, Teachta Stanley said: "First of all, Sinn Féin welcomes the fact that the Beef Taskforce is up and running and we welcome the fact that all of the injunctions against farmers have been lifted.”
"However, what beef farmers need to see now is an increase in their base price per kg; something that hasn't happened yet, despite a recent admission by Meat Industry Ireland that pricing is a major issue.
The Beef Price Index indicates that Irish prices are 20c/kg behind the EU average (€80 per animal) and 50c/kg behind British prices (€180 per animal), Stanley added.
'Like a cartel'
"20c/kg is the difference between an Irish beef farmer making a living or shutting up shop.”
Considering the superior quality of Irish produce, these price discrepancies, the TD, said, point to "margin manipulation" by both factories and retailers.”
“They have run the beef sector like a cartel for decades now and it must be put to an end.”
"To be fair, Aldi has met with the Beef Plan Movement and with the ICSA in recent weeks and spoke of making progress with regards to the 30-month upper age limit and the four-movement rule."
"However, what Aldi and other retailers need to do is to demand of processors that they give a fair price to beef farmers.
He stressed that the difficulty right now is that there is no transparency throughout the supply chain as to who is receiving a fair price and who is being “ripped off”.
Sinn Féin introduced the Beef Price Transparency Bill 2019 in September to provide such transparency for farmers and consumers.
“I would call on Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to get off the fence and to support our legislation to ensure farmers are afforded a level playing field,” Stanley concluded.