[Sinn Fein]

18th January 2000

Meat industry must give fair prices to farmers to end crisis

Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said that the crisis in the livestock sector must be resolved by the meat industry giving fair prices to farmers. He deplored the use of the courts against the IFA. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``The crisis situation in the livestock trade is now affecting the livelihood of tens of thousands of farmers and thousands of workers in the meat plants. This crisis has been deepened by the use of the courts against the Irish Farmers Association. Such a punitive approach by the industry displays a lack of commitment to resolve the dispute.

``The massive fines imposed on the IFA are in sharp contrast to the treatment of certain sectors of the meat industry where massive fraud was exposed in the past and the perpetrators were allowed to go scot free.

``Sinn Fein urges the resolution of the dispute through negotiation on the basis of the reasonable demand of the IFA for a fair minimum price of 90p per lb for O Grade cattle. This price can and should be paid by the industry so that the crisis is ended now, thus securing the livelihoods of farming families and of meat plant workers.''

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