Sinn Féin has announced a high-level meeting with farmers and dealers in the beef industry, where its MEPs, TDs and MLAs will discuss solutions to the crisis in the industry.
Announcing the meeting, Sinn Féin agriculture spokesperson, Martin Ferris TD said:
“The crisis in the beef industry has caused hardship and stress among producers recently and it seems that the government and Minister Simon Coveney are happy to let the market rule.
“The problem is that the market can be manipulated by the beef barons and by the large multiple retailers who change specification and introduce penalties at will, while the minister sits on his hands.
“The trade of cattle across the island is a traditional agricultural activity for centuries. This is particularly true of trade between the Six Counties and the West.
“Farmers and marts depend on this trade and the consequences of this trade being prevented due to the movement from what is deemed as one member state to another is detrimental for numerous beef farmers.
“The only way to solve this issue practically is to secure a derogation from Europe in relation to the EU beef labelling rules, which will allow for our unique circumstances and will open the way to free trade across the island.
“If the government has abandoned the beef farmer, Sinn Féin has not and will we do all in our power, North and South and in the EU parliament to help Irish farmers.”
The meeting with the trade will take place in Ballinasloe on 11 July 2014 and will be followed by a public meeting in the town where the views of farmers will be listened to.
Details of the full list of speakers and time and place of the meeting will be issued next week.