Kilkenny TD accuses Agriculture Minister of hiding away from the escalating beef crisis
By COLIN BARTLEY
A LOCAL TD, and farmer, has put the welly into the Minister of Agriculture accusing him of hiding away from the issues at the centre of the beef crisis protests.
Kilkenny’s Fianna Fáil TD Bobby Aylward is calling on Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to find a way of opening dialogue between all the stakeholders in the beef industry and said the farmers are protesting as they have no options left to them.
Commenting on the ongoing protests by the Beef Plan Movement, Deputy Aylward said, “It is simply not acceptable that Minister Creed continues to watch from the sidelines as the beef crisis escalates.
“He is taking cover under the guise that the Government can’t directly intervene in the determination of prices paid to farmers – it’s very frustrating for the farmers on their knees at the moment.
He strongly criticised the inaction of Minister Creed and the Government in this crisis, saying they have shown a lack of leadership.
“There is nothing to prevent Minister Creed engaging with farming representative organisations and the meat industry to address the growing crisis affecting the beef sector.
“Minister Creed is choosing to ignore the fact that it is his role to provide leadership to the sector and that he and the Government have a central role to play in addressing many of the issues being raised by farmers.
“He should meet with all stakeholders immediately to discuss how these issues can be addressed and, in particular how transparency can be brought into the beef supply chain. Minister Creed should also facilitate independent mediation between farmers and the processing sector to address the price issue.
“These pickets are the last resort for farmers who cannot get by anymore on prices at a level not seen for many years.”