Martin Ferris TD calls on Coveney to protect beef farmers against cartel
Speaking in the Dáil last night, Deputy Martin Ferris, Sinn Féin spokesman on agriculture, challenged Minister Simon Coveney to defend farmers against the actions of the big players in the beef processing industry.
During the debate Deputy Ferris said: “The reality is that large numbers in our farming community are on their knees. The Minister knows it, I know it and (Fianna Fail) Deputies McNamara and Connaughton, know it.
“They are on their knees because a cartel is in operation and the market is being manipulated by the cartel and by the multiples. The figures are frightening. In the farming section of today's Irish Independent, Joe Healy calculated that he is getting €600 less for a Friesian steer now than he got in 1988.
“He took inflation and the single farm payment into account and did his sums. He is getting €3.30 per kilogram for O and P grades. Meanwhile, Tesco is selling fillet steak at €35.94, rib eye steak for €26.65 and minced round steak for €8.40 per kilogram.
“The producers and small farmers in the west are being crucified. The people whom deputies from the west represent are on their knees. These are the people from whom Farm Assist was taken.
“These are the people who have no social structures or anything to help them. The big barons can manipulate the market any time they want to by calling on their feeders to surplus the market and bring down the price of cattle. That is what they do.
“They have access to the database, maybe not legally, but the Minister and I, and every Deputy knows that. They use it to manipulate the market and the prices.”