Discussions on beef sector reforms begin following lifting of injunctions
Beef taskforce begins roundtable talks aimed at resolving dispute

Beef taskforce begins roundtable talks aimed at resolving dispute

Beef taskforce begins roundtable talks aimed at resolving dispute

Beef taskforce begins roundtable talks aimed at resolving dispute

Beef taskforce begins roundtable talks aimed at resolving dispute

Beef taskforce begins roundtable talks aimed at resolving dispute
Beef taskforce begins roundtable talks aimed at resolving dispute
  • 2019-12-03 12:10:12 9 days ago
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Roundtable talks aimed at resolving a major dispute between beef farmers and processing factories over prices began in the Department of Agriculture on Tuesday morning.

The talks include department officials and representatives from the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), the industry group Meat Industry Ireland (MII), and the grassroots group Beef Plan Movement.

The taskforce is chaired by former department secretary general Michael Dowling and began at 9am. The taskforce was agreed to be set up to work towards reforms in the beef sector as part of previous negotiations aimed at ending farmer protests at meat factories around the country.

Last week farmers blockaded Dublin city centre as part of the ongoing protest over the lack of progress on demanded reforms in the sector and improvements in beef prices for farmers.

The beef taskforce talks had been due to begin in October, but the initial meeting failed to go ahead following protests by farmers over the fact injunctions remained in place against two farmers who had blockaded processing factories.

The country-wide protests blocking the entrances of meat factories essentially shut down the processing industry, and led to companies running the plants to seek injunctions against individual farmers.

Blockades

Two farmers who continued to face injunctions were involved in blockades at C&D Foods, a pet food factory in Co Longford owned by Larry Goodman’s ABP Group. Last week C&D Foods, which is itself not a member of MII, applied to strike out injunctions it had sought against the farmers.

Following this move the beef taskforce reconvened for its first meeting on Tuesday, which sources said is not expected to be as tense as previous negotiations between farmer representatives and MII.

The roundtable talks are scheduled to last until the afternoon.

The set-up of the taskforce is similar in nature to the “beef forum” set up by then-minister for agriculture Simon Coveney in 2014, which discussed farmers concerns over beef prices but made little headway to resolve grievances.

In a statement ahead of the new discussions, IFA president Joe Healy said increases in price for cattle must be top of the group’s agenda.

“We need to see real progress on the independent review of market and customer requirements, specifically in relation to the four in-spec bonus criteria currently in operation in the Irish beef sector,” he said.

“The independent examination of the price composition of the total value of the animal, including the fifth quarter, along the supply chain needs to be progressed,” he said.

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Beef taskforce begins roundtable talks aimed at resolving dispute

'On yer bike' if you don't follow rules of the road, says 85-year-old racing cyclist

'On yer bike' if you don't follow rules of the road, says 85-year-old racing cyclist

An 85-year-old record-holding cyclist has urged other bikers to observe the rules of the road to stay safe this winter.

Patsy Fitzsimons from Navan, Co Meath, holds a national record in the 85 age category with the Irish Veteran Cycling Association.

Patsy cycles almost 65 kilometers twice a week before heading out to compete in an 80km event most Sundays during the racing season.

The octogenarian mainly sticks to the back roads when out training to avoid heavy traffic but says he has seen leisure cyclists taking unnecessary risks.

"The roads are much more dangerous now than when I was starting out and I tend to stick to back roads mostly but you have to observe the rules of the road," he said.

Most racing cyclists will observe the rules but I have seen cyclists breaking red lights, cycling on footpaths or more than two abreast on roads.

"That's just dangerous behaviour and it's not right."

However, his daughter Laureen admits that she worries when he's out training.

"My heart skips a beat every time he goes out but I know he's long enough out on the roads now that he'll be okay. But he won't carry a mobile phone with him as he says it adds weight and would slow him down so if he ever goes missing, God knows where we'd start looking for him," she said

The father of two, who has never been in hospital overnight, is also an advocate of the flu vaccine to keep him illness free.

"I got the flu vaccine last year and was cold and flu free all through winter so I'd highly recommend it and will definitely be getting it again."

The fit pioneer man started racing in 1956 with Navan Road Club and won a number of races over the years.

Such is his love of cycling that he went to a family wedding in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, a decade ago and insisted on cycling home the next day.

"I bought my first second-hand racing bike in 1952 and it cost me 20 pound. Nowadays, you can pay up to €10,000 for one.

"I love being out in the fresh air and I love the thrill of trying to better my time. I'd recommend it to anyone.

"However, you have to train. If you don't train hard, you've no business racing and you should stick to the leisure events.

"I've also my wife Olive to hugely thank for supporting me through the years and taking care of my dirty training gear after I come back from a cycle," he laughed.

Navan Road Club member Niall Doggett described Patsy as 'inspirational' adding, "everyone in the club holds him in such high regard. If I'm still cycling at his age, I'll be a happy man."

Patsy is now gearing up to take part in the Navan Road Race charity cycle in aid of St Vincent de Paul on Christmas Day and will also take part in a 24-hour roller cycle in aid of ARC Cancer Care in Navan this Thursday which will also remember Meath cyclist Sean Lynch who died in a cycle race last year.

Concerns raised over air quality in Cork City, EPA confirm monitoring station returns 'poor' readings

Concerns raised over air quality in Cork City, EPA confirm monitoring station returns 'poor' readings

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have identified one air quality monitoring station as returning 'poor' readings for Cork City.

In their Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH) summary this morning they note air quality as good in Connaught, Dublin, Ulster but poor in at least one station in Cork city and very poor in at least one station in the Leinster and Munster regions.

The report comes on the back of considerable social media reaction to the fact that Cork City was earlier this morning identified as the EU black spot in terms of air quality by a global air quality monitoring site.

Purple Air, who are a private company who sell air filters, monitor air quality via monitors located across the world to create a real-time air quality map.

The map has today consistently shown Cork with an an air quality index (AQI) above 150, well above the internationally accepted threshold for harmful effects on health.

According to the site an AQI value over 300 represents hazardous air quality and below 50 the air quality is good.

With figures over 150 Cork city is experiencing conditions where people "may begin to experience health effects if they are exposed for 24 hours ... particularly for sensitive groups such as the elderly or those with respiratory conditions..."

It is believed current weather conditions with low winds and temperatures is adding to the problem.

More as we get it ...

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