Coveney rejects criticism from farmers' association

The Agriculture Minister has hit out at claims by the IFA that he's "asleep at the wheel" and more focused on his next Cabinet job than the interests of farmers.

Simon Coveney's Department was targeted by a livestock farmers protest yesterday - with demonstrators accusing him of failing to tackle falling beef prices.

The Minister said the beef crisis affects every country in Europe, and is not an Irish problem. He also insisted he is fully focused on his remit, and not on the Cabinet reshuffle.

"I can be accused of a lot of things, but being asleep at the wheel isn't one of them," he said.

"We're finalising a €12.5bn support package for Irish agriculture over the next six years in the common agricultural policy.

"This Government has prioritised agriculture in a major way, and I will continue to work as hard as I can in agriculture."

He said speculation about a reshuffle was "a matter for the Taoiseach".

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