Farmers have been encouraged to reject the ‘sweetheart’ deals being offered by some factories as the Beef Plan Movement’s protests continue across the country.
Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has called on farmers to stick together in an effort to secure a more sustainable income moving forward.
Having been in attendance at a number of the protests, the Roscommon-Galway TD said: “First of all, these protestors need to be complimented for their determination and willingness to stand up for what they believe in.
“It is widely recognised that the retailers, who are not innocent in any of this, are taking €5 out of every €10 spent on beef.
He noted that the factory takes €2.90 and the farmer – who brings the animals from birth right through until slaughter – gets just €2.10.
“Does the Government, or factories or the retailers not realise that they will destroy rural Ireland if they keep treating farmers the way they are at the moment?”
“When you weigh up the money that is spent in the different towns and villages, the businesspeople, merchants and garages – be they farm machinery or cars – must realise how important our communities are and how important agriculture is to these areas.”
“Now is time that we must stand together as one in order to resist the headwinds that are facing rural Ireland, including climate change and the depopulation of some areas.
Polish beef and British lamb
Speaking to community activist Anna Kavanagh, he said: “From what we hear, there is Polish beef being brought into this country.”
“From what we are hearing, and this is alleged at the moment, is that there is beef nearly going around in circles – coming from Poland into this country, going out again to the likes of Italy.”
“It is well-known in a lot of factories that kill lambs that massive amounts of lambs are coming across the border and also it is widely reported that lambs have come from Scotland in through Northern Ireland, into the processing factories south of the border.”
“If this is happening, is Bord Bia promoting British lamb under Irish lamb going to other countries?” he added.
Fitzmaurice believes that some form of legislation will have to be brought forward in order to ensure that all farmers receive a cost of production plus a margin.