An independent TD has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to grant permission to representatives of the Independent Farmers of Ireland group to attend Beef Market Taskforce meetings.
Mattie McGrath raised the issue during a Dáil debate on Tuesday, December 3rd.
He said that the Independent Farmers of Ireland group, which "manned the factory gates" during the recent protests, is still "locked out" from the talks.
"All the usual suspects, including the non-independent chairperson - the former Secretary-General of the Department, Mr. Dowling - are at the talks," McGrath stressed.
"They represent those who have lost faith in their organisations."
"It cannot be business as usual, with Meat Industry Ireland and the usual suspects inside there excluding the people who matter on the ground."
Two different organisations
In response, Minister Creed said that he acknowledged the point that has "consistently" been made by Deputy Mattie McGrath.
"We negotiated with the Independent Farmers of Ireland group in September."
"After those talks concluded, the Department received notification from the negotiators that the Independent Farmers of Ireland group was dissolving because it had achieved what it set out to achieve."
"Subsequently, we have received representations from two different organisations claiming to be the Independent Farmers of Ireland group."
In response, McGrath said: "I am advocating for the real farmers, not the big ones represented by those who are forgetting the ordinary people."
In response to a parliamentary question from Danny Healy-Rae, the Minister said he is satisfied that the current composition of the taskforce is "sufficiently representative of all parties".
He stressed that he will not be extending membership to any additional groups outside of those already invited to submit nominees.