Meat Industry Ireland has said that processors while do recognise that farmers are under pressure and are willing to give some flexibility on specifications, it will only be in the short term.

The comments were made this morning by Ciaran Fitzgerald, Chairman of Meat Industry Ireland on RTE’s Morning Ireland. “Flexibility means that we recognise that the year has been tough for farmers. That in this year given the hardship that has been suffered by farmers we are prepared to look at something in the context of weights and the penalties that might apply to weights.”

However he also said that processors are very clear on where they are going in the term. “There are medium-term trends here around younger animals and lighter weights.

“Next year is a different year. The underlying issues in beef which is the fall in consumption may well turn around. I can tell you in the meantime we are introducing some flexibility.”

He also outlined that: there was an independent report done by Michael Dowling to set out where the issues were really at because there was a lot of noise in the background.

“That report suggested that while specifications were having an impact those specifications have been in place for a long time in many instances 5-10 years and at the same time notwithstanding the fact that the years were quite tough those specifications are actually quite manageable. 80-90% of the cattle that are slaughtered in the prime cattle are can met these specifications.”

He said: “So we have come here to this space on the bases that fundamentally the market is weak and nobody is weak and nobody neither a Minister, the industry nor even the farmers through wishing it better can change that.

“The figures being talked about a €200 average price loss on last year is just not true. Its nearer €140-€150, it’s still quite substantial.”