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Waterford TD calls on Minister for Agriculture to 'wake up' and engage with farmers

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Waterford TD calls on Minister for Agriculture to 'wake up' and engage with farmers

Waterford TD Mary Butler wants the minister to engage with farmers

Fianna Fáil TD for Waterford Mary Butler has said the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed should meet with farming representative organisations and the meat industry to address the growing crisis affecting the beef sector.

Deputy Butler was speaking having met with stakeholders on a picket line protesting against the pay and conditions for farmers in the sector.

Farmers are protesting at what they say is a 25% reduction in the price being paid for their animals over the past 12 months.

The national protest was initially coordinated by new organisation Beef Plan and began on July 30 and continued all week. However, now farmers have continued their own independent protest.

“Farming communities are feeling abandoned by Government. It is incredible that the Minister for Agriculture has not stepped in during this crisis.

“I met with nearly 30 farmers who are on the picket line. Others had left to tend to farms, be with family and just take a break from the 24-hour protest. We had a very open discussion and they detailed just how disillusioned they are with the sector.

“There is a real fear among farmers. They are worried as the school year returns how they will fund books and uniforms for their children. They have fears as to how they will earn a living in the next year," she said. 

Deputy Butler said the minister must intervene. "There are workers in plants and factories, who if the stand off continues, will lose their jobs. All the while farmers struggle met their own costs.

“The minister must wake up and let common sense prevail before the situation worsens any further,” concluded Deputy Butler.