Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy has called on Minister Creed to engage in talks with Beef Task Force members to resolve “outstanding issues clearing the way for another meeting”.
The MEP has criticised the Minister for his “failure” to ensure progress is made in the implementation of the Irish Beef Sector Agreement.
Carthy, said: “The Agreement was signed on September 15th and the farming community cautiously welcomed it. However, any initial optimism has been quashed by a lack of implementation of a number of points of the agreement.”
“Issues such as penalties and arbitrary quality rules have undermined farmers margins and have resulted in family farmers often selling to factories at a loss.
He believes that the work of the Beef Task Force is “core” to addressing the imbalances in the sector that has put thousands of Irish farmers in this “precarious” position.
“The prospect of progress in these areas has been damaged by the refusal of APB associated companies to lift injunctions against some farmers who participated in protests.”
“It is shameful that C&D continues to pursue legal action instead of working to rebuild the trust with farmers.
He said that remaining injunctions have delayed the reconvening of the Beef Task Force and “paralysed” the implementation of the Beef Agreement.
“They must be lifted immediately and MII cannot ignore the fact that they are implicated in the threats.”
Break the deadlock
Carthy believes that it is imperative that Minister Creed moves now to break the deadlock, as, as "Minister, he is a guarantor of the Agreement.”
“If this agreement is allowed to collapse, due to bad faith by the factories and Government inaction, we will see the prospect of new picket lines emerging.”
“Words of condemnation from the Minister at that point will count for little if he continues to sit on his hands during this crucial period.”
He believes that the Government’s “inept” approach to date has jeopardised the future of family farms and the rural communities that depend on them and is opening up the “vista of a new series of protests”.