In imports, Healy said the IFA had highlighted the harm caused to the EU beef market by «imports of low-quality beef from outside the EU». He said it had been agreed «to ban imports that do not meet the same strict standards as EU producers». After more than 24 hours of discussions at Agriculture House in Dublin, an agreement was reached between all the actors involved in the discussions on the reform of the beef sector. The agreement also obliges beef processors to withdraw all legal proceedings against agricultural organisations and individual farmers. He said: «Almost €24 million of new money in the pockets of struggling beef producers is worth supporting. The Minister of Agriculture negotiated an agreement between all agricultural organizations (IFA, ICMSA, ICSA, Macra na Feirme, Beef Plan, IHNFA and IFI) and the meat industry (MII) to resolve the dispute and end the protest in the factories. Discussions on the beef problem have ended with an agreement, but the Irish Farmers` Association (IFA) says its members will be «disappointed» that there has been no agreement on raising beef prices. Protests against beef prices in recent weeks have shut down two dozen meat processing plants across the state ahead of the start of talks organized by the Agriculture Ministry last week. Since July, farmers have been protesting against the prices they receive for beef. However, one of the organizations that participated in the discussions stated that it did not accept or reject the proposals. Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said all parties to the dispute had approved the deal, which includes higher prices for beef producers and reform of the sector. He asked them to give the deal a chance and told protesters that the future of Ireland`s beef sector was in their hands and said: «Please don`t be responsible for its destruction.» An agreement has been reached between representatives of the meat industry and agricultural organisations on a two-track agreement on the reform of the Irish beef sector, the Minister for Agriculture said. File photo: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.
In a statement after the talks, Healy said the deal was «far from perfect.» There was consensus on the need for a fully funded Common Agricultural Policy (Cap) and on the protection of its share in the EU budget, as well as on guaranteeing the current level of direct payments to Irish beef producers. Other agreed conditions include a reduction in the residency requirement from 70 days to 60 days on the last farm and a new Bord Bia beef market price index covering cattle prices and beef market prices in our main export markets and offal (see box). An agreement was reached this afternoon between beef producers and meat processors, following discussions organised this weekend by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed. Last night, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed wrote an open letter to farmers calling on them to study the agreement on the weekend beef negotiations. «All blockades and protests will be lifted immediately and all parties to this agreement will ensure that this happens,» the document reads. The IRM spokesman added that the dispute had seriously harmed the Irish meat industry. «This is an extremely damaging episode for all parties involved in the beef and sheepmeat sector. It occurred at a time of considerable and persistent challenges in the EU beef market.
This situation is particularly worrying, given the proximity of Brexit and the significant impact that a no-deal outcome will have on our sector. There will be an immediate scientific review of the quality payment grid by Teagasc and an independent review of market and customer requirements, in particular with regard to the four in-spec bonus criteria currently in force in the Irish beef sector. Meat Industry Ireland welcomed the conclusion of the beef talks, but warned that the seven-week dispute had been an «extremely damaging episode for all parties involved in the beef and sheepmeat sector». . . .