Minister meets IFA over beef crisis

Coveney urges factories to be more flexible

Meat factories have been urged by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to show as much flexibility as possible to farmers when it comes to weight specifications for buying cattle. He said this flexibility would "allow a window for the kind of constructive engagement between the parties on both immediate and strategic issues that is essential if the sector is to develop to its potential".

Mr Coveney was speaking after a meeting with the Irish Farmers Association about the beef crisis. Cattle prices have fallen significantly in recent months. Weight and age specifications for cattle are being strictly enforced which means that farmers find they have no market for animals that were sought after a year ago.

Mr Coveney said beef farmers had legitimate concerns in this regard. He said they needed time to adjust to changed market circumstances and he encouraged farmers and processors to step up their engagement. “Processors need to keep efficient beef specialists in this vital export industry, and every effort should be made to ensure that this sector is developed and nurtured.”

IFA president Eddie Downey said he had made it very clear to Mr Coveney that farmers were angry and frustrated over the way their incomes had been cut. The IFA was demanding urgent progress and cattle farmers needed to see real results very soon.


IFA livestock chairman Henry Burns said he had urged Mr Coveney to remove the road blocks impeding the live export trade to our nearest market – Northern Ireland.

Alison Healy

Alison Healy

Alison Healy is a contributor to The Irish Times