Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Agriculture Deputy Brian Stanley has launched his party’s Mandatory Beef Price Transparency Bill 2019.
As the farmer protests continue at the beef factory gates, despite an injunction from the processors, the Laois TD has called for talks to reconvene.
The Bill would provide much needed transparency to Irish farmers regarding beef pricing through the establishment of a beef market observatory which would report on cattle prices on a daily basis.
Speaking this morning, Deputy Stanley said:
“First of all, it is clear from what the Beef Plan Movement has had to say, and from the emergence of a number of unofficial protests across the country that Irish beef farmers are not happy with the outcome of the beef talks.
“It is completely unacceptable that the substantive issue of pricing was not discussed at the last round of talks.
“At the heart of this dispute is the basic and reasonable demand by beef farmers that they receive a fair and just share of the end retail price; as the current economic reality is that the price they are receiving is unsustainable.
“It is therefore very important that Minister Creed reconvenes talks between the key stakeholders in the beef sector as a matter of urgency.
“A huge frustration being expressed by beef farmers right now is due to a failure of the meat industry to provide any transparency on their margin or the price they can secure for the beef on the export market.
“What we need is beef price transparency right across the supply chain.
“Beef farmers right now have very little information on which to determine whether or not they are being given a fair price for a carcass. How is that fair? The current lack of transparency plays into the hands of the processors who are taking advantage of the situation.
“The Bill which we have produced will go some way to providing that much needed transparency.
“The piece of legislation entitled ‘Mandatory Beef Price Transparency Bill 2019’ will provide for the establishment of a reliable source of date on the prices being received for beef products right throughout the supply chain.
“The Minister will be mandated to establish a beef market observatory which will report on the price of the cattle per KG, the live weight, the dressed weight, the quality grade, and of any premiums or discounts associated with the transaction.
“Without this basic information the entire beef industry lacks credibility and leaves open the possibility of price exploitation.
“Sinn Féin wants to work with all the stakeholders in the beef sector and we want to see the Irish market develop.
“For the sector to develop, however, we need to see farmers being given a sustainable price for their beef and we hope that this piece of legislation will help to achieve that.”