Sinn Féin's Agriculture spokesperson Oliver McMullan has said that unless there is movement on the issue of ‘nomad’ cattle the beef farmers are facing a crisis.
Mr McMullan said,
“I am deeply concerned that the continued penalisation of Southern born cattle by Northern Based beef processors will result in a crisis for beef farmers.
“Farmers who previously sourced cattle from Southern based marts are now facing severe penalties of £150 per head due to the implementation of unnecessary specifications.
“This is now having a detrimental impact on the cross border trade and sale of cattle as many farmers cannot afford this additional levy.
“Beef sourced on either side of our Ireland is subject to the exact same checks and balances in terms of traceability and high standards, therefore there is no logic in these discriminatory measures.
“All stakeholders now need to work closely to find a solution to this issue as the fallout is continuing to have a negative impact on the farming industry, both in terms of competition in our marts and also in the generations old cross border trade of cattle.
“I am hopeful that a resolution can be found and I welcome the efforts currently being made by the Minister Michelle O'Neill to find a solution aimed at protecting the future of our red meat industry.
“I have also been in regular contact with our Agriculture Spokesperson in the Dáil, Martin Ferris TD to discuss potential solutions to this 'nomad' debacle.
“Sinn Féin has engaged extensively with stakeholders from across the industry and we believe that an accommodation may be reached if there is a willingness from processors and retailers to act”.