Citing the huge concern amongst farmers on the question of beef prices, the President of ICMSA has indicated that his association would be willing to be part of the reconvened beef talks. Mr. Pat McCormack said that against the looming threat of Brexit and very poor beef prices, farmer frustrations on both prices and the question of the ‘specs’ that had to be hit in order to qualify for base or bonus payments had reached boiling point.
The ICMSA President noted that during the last round of talks chaired by Michael Dowling, there had been long discussions on specifications resulting in a proposal to include O- and 4+ cattle for the ‘in-spec’ bonus – a proposal that ICMSA categorically welcomed.
Mr. McCormack described the proposal as the main positive resulting from those talks with potentially 200,000 cattle eligible for this bonus, and he repeated his call that this proposal be implemented immediately allowing farmers with these categories to benefit from the in-spec bonus.
In terms of reconvening talks and given that Brexit and the traditional peak kill period are almost upon us, a solution to the current impasse urgently needs to be found. Mr. McCormack said that ICMSA believes that some degree of farmer confidence would be restored by a clear signal from Government and the EU on the Brexit supports that will be put in place to address the losses suffered by farmers. He said that Brexit is hanging over the farm sector, completely undermining confidence and leaving farmers to ship heavy losses and that, in the interest of fairness, farmers need to know straightaway how the Government and the EU intends to support them – “and they need specifics.”
“ICMSA will attend further talks, but if talks are to be reconvened then we need to be confident that progress can be made on some of the substantive issues – that has to mean economically sustainable beef production. ICMSA believes that perhaps bilateral talks -on same day if necessary – should take place with the parties initially to establish if progress can be made at a general reconvening on some of the substantive issues that we all know – or should know – have to be dealt with”, concluded Mr. McCormack.
Ends 27 August 2019.
Pat McCormack, 087-7608958
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office