IFA President Eddie Downey and National Sheep Chairman John Lynskey met with the UFU (Ulster Farmers Union) in Dublin this week to discuss the lamb market situation and changes to labelling.
Eddie Downey said both the IFA and the UFU are very clear that the lamb processors must act in a responsible way to stabilise the market at this important time for the sheep trade. “Both Minister Coveney and Minister O’Neill must also act to ensure that unintended consequences from the labelling changes are not allowed to impact on primary producers or to distort trade.”
Eddie Downey said the changes to the labelling requirements since April 1st are being used as an excuse to destabilise the market. He said this was never the intention and Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and his Northern counterpart Michelle O’Neill must immediately act to stabilise the situation with the processors and ensure that farmers are not unfairly penalised.
The IFA President said the labelling issues go way beyond lamb and similar problems on beef last year are yet to be resolved. He said the failure of the Ministers to properly deal with the situation last year on beef continues to restrict the normal North/South trading pattern.
He said the arrangements on trade between the North and the South are unique and imposing EU labelling laws which unintentionally distort this trade, with negative consequences for farmers on both sides of the border, must be addressed by both Ministers. He called on the Ministers to hold an immediate meeting and examine all the options including voluntary labelling arrangements involving the use of Northern Ireland and Ireland.