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ICMSA question Restaurants Association Chief’s comments on beef dispute – “The crisis could have been avoided if his sector had looked back over their shoulder to check whether the farmers producing the food were paid for it”

The President of ICMSA has thanked the Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association, Adrian Cummins, for his contribution to the ongoing beef crisis debate and said that there could be no doubting Mr. Cummins’ sincerity and knowledge of the situation in the restaurants that he represented. It was indeed absolutely vital that Irish beef remained the choice of our restaurants and that they showcased the superlative quality of our product.

But Mr. McCormack was more sceptical of the idea that those on the pickets should be criticised and put aside their anger ‘in the national interest’ and he pointed out that it was remarkable that links further along the food chain were never told to adjust their attitudes, policies – or prices – in the ‘national interest’.

Mr. McCormack said that perhaps a lot of the anger and demoralisation that had led directly to this bitter dispute could and should have been avoided if those at the retail end of the supply chain had occasionally looked back over their shoulders to check whether the farmer and primary-producers behind them were being paid a decent price for the food that was being sold to consumers and customers.

“I wonder whether a record that showed an insistence that the people behind you actually producing the food got paid properly wouldn’t be more beneficial at this stage than appeals to national interest?” said Mr. McCormack.  “I know, as does everybody else, that we need to get back processing and that we’re getting to the point where permanent damage is a possibility. But the problems that have led us here are a long time coming and retailers have been very silent over that period about the terrible prices being paid to the farmers behind them in the chain. That’s going to have to change – in the national interest”.

Ends   18 September 2019

Pat McCormack, 087-7608958

President, ICMSA

Or

Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office