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Coveney Chairs Second Beef Roundtable

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD today hosted the second beef roundtable meeting in Dublin Castle. The discussions included presentations from ICBF, Bord Bia and Teagasc with the main focus on the presentation by Michael Dowling, who had updated his work on the implementation of the Beef Activation Group report.

Commenting on the proceedings, the Minister said “I was pleased to chair this second meeting of the beef roundtable and build on my commitment to host these meetings on a quarterly basis. It is through active engagement by all stakeholders in this forum that we can resolve any issues which arise for a sector which is so vital to our economy and ensure that its full potential can be realised. It is clear that we have to build positive relationships between operators along the supply chain if the beef sector is to prosper, and I am confident that this initiative can make a positive contribution to that aim”.

The roundtable received a number of updates from its first meeting in April, including

  • Information on the development of a new platform on his Department’s website homepage which makes beef price information more user friendly for farmers. This is a key step in the development of the Beef Pricewatch App which is being worked on at present and will be available shortly;
  • An update by Bord Bia on its targeted €500,000 fund to intensify its marketing of Irish beef in the UK, Netherlands and Germany;
  • A presentation by the ICBF on its work and the essential contribution that better breeding can make to improving on farm profitability;
  • An explanation by Professor Gerry Boyle of Teagasc on the work that Teagasc is doing to disseminate information on best practice and efficient production to farmers.

The main focus of the roundtable was a report from Michael Dowling who had been requested by the Minister to update on the implementation of the Beef Activation group and consider any additional actions required. Commenting on Mr Dowling’s report, the Minister said “I would like to compliment Michael on an extremely comprehensive piece of work produced since the last roundtable. The report represents intensive consultation with the various stakeholders in the last few weeks and its recommendations provided us all with much food for thought. I have decided to publish the report to allow the parties present here today to reflect on the recommendations”.

In the course of his presentation, Mr Dowling recommended that consideration be given in particular to

  • Improved transparency and timely communication on price and market specification between particularly suppliers and processors;
  • A formalised mechanism for ensuring that research, breeding and education remains consistent with evolving market realities;
  • The potential for Producer Organisations recognised under the EU’s Common Market organisation rules to play a role in building scale for farmers in the supply chain and building more professional relationships with the processing sector;
  • The possibility for more formalised contract arrangements between factories and their suppliers.

Concluding, the Minister said “Today represented another fruitful engagement between all the partners in this important sector. There was some robust discussion as one would expect, but ultimately the exchanges were characterised by a common desire to see the removal of any roadblocks to the development of the sector. It’s important that the time between the quarterly roundtable meetings is used productively and that we are pro-active in tackling issues as they arise. Michael Dowling’s report is an excellent roadmap for where we take our work from here and I am interested in feedback from all stakeholders on his recommendations. Ultimately, questions of price and market dynamics are commercial issues, and I would urge the parties in this discussion to use this report as a vehicle for engaging in the kind of productive dialogue that will help to restore confidence in the beef sector”.

Note to Editors: Reports from Michael Dowling, Bord Bia, Teagasc and ICBF are available on the Department's website on the following link -

View this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 78/2014 (pdf 652Kb) 

Date Released: 03 June 2014