By Olivia Cooper

IRISH Farmers Association president Tom Parlon has strongly criticised the “unacceptable lack of urgency” shown by agriculture minister Joe Walsh in tackling the recent collapse in Irish beef prices.

At a major cattle farmers meeting on Monday, 20 August, Mr Parlon addressed a capacity crowd of 500 livestock producers, where the mood was one of anger and frustration at the lack action being taken by the minister.

Mr Parlon said the failure of Mr Walsh to reopen vital third country beef markets means he must immediately deliver on the cattle price stability deal he negotiated in Brussels in June.

The deal stated that intervention would be used to stabilise cattle prices this autumn in the event of third country export markets, which account for a quarter of beef exports, remaining closed.

Cattle prices have fallen by IR10p/lb (17.6p/kg Sterling equivalent) or IR75/head (60/head) in the past four weeks, and IFA livestock chairman Derek Deane said that the situation was “critical”.