In Varadkar’s Ireland, Farmers are in Poverty While Beef Barons make €170m tax-free – Tóibín

Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín and Cavan County Councillor Sarah O’Reilly have joined farmers on the picket outside of a beef factory in Ballyjamesduff.

Speaking to farmers an Teachta Peadar Tóibín stated:

“A small number of factories and supermarkets have massive near-cartel power that determines beef prices. Tens of thousands of Farmers have little or no supplier power and cannot affect price at all. This is a dysfunctional market and it is grossly unfair.

“Beef farmers constitute the main stakeholders in the Irish beef producing industry. Paying farmers a rate for their produce which is below the production costs, while the processing industry continues showing substantial profits, is economically unjust. It is pushing farmers into poverty, debt and out of farming”.

“The unchallenged power of meat processors and supermarkets is causing damage to our agricultural sector, leading to fewer and fewer farmers, which is damaging Ireland’s ability to be self-sufficient in food supply.

“The absence of government support for beef farmers, combined with the disastrous EU-Mercosur trade deal, negotiated by Fine Gael’s European Commissioner Phil Hogan, makes it clear that economic justice for ordinary Irish people, including farmers, is far from what the government is pursuing.

“To add insult in injury, farmers participating in their democratic right to protest peacefully are being served with injections which could lead to many farmers being held in custody. Is this what Fine Gael wants?

“In Leo Varadkar’s Ireland, farmers in poverty are being served with injunctions while beef barons make €170m, own €3.5 billion in assets, file their accounts in Luxembourg and are largely untaxed.

“Michael Creed needs to take his job seriously and act as a fair arbitrator in the current dispute. Buyer and supplier power needs to be rebalanced within the market and if the law needs to be changed to make this happen so be it. If necessary, state supports should be withheld from the dominant beef processing sector.

“Farmers need to create producer groups in order to redress the imbalance and to get a fair price.”