Sinn Féin's Dáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD, has welcomed the meeting held on Wednesday between Agriculture Ministers Michelle O’Neill MLA and Simon Coveney TD to discuss the difficulties facing the Irish beef industry.
Deputy Ferris said:
“Beef farmers and the livestock marts are under awful pressure due to a reduction in cattle prices and the implementation of unreasonable specifications by processors and retailers
“One of the penalties being applied to cattle coming from the South is costing farmers up to £150 a head, just because it has crossed the border and is being designated 'nomad'.
“Livestock has been traded all over this island for centuries but this healthy commerce is being damaged, to the point of disappearance by this labelling issue, which is having a knock on effect on competition in the marts.
"I welcome the commitment today from the agriculture ministers to address the problem on an all-Ireland basis, intending to write jointly to the main retailers to encourage them to relax their specifications
“Sinn Féin has engaged extensively with farmers and the mart representatives across the country and I will continue to work with our minister in the North, Michelle O'Neill to find an all-island solution to this all-island problem.”