Beef Farmers In Overnight Protest

Thousands of farmers have protested overnight at 30 meat plants across Ireland over current beef prices.

The 24-hour protest began at 15:00 yesterday afternoon in support of the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA).

IFA President Eddie Downey said farmers are angry over a €350 per head cattle price gap that has opened up with Ireland's main export market in the UK.

"Beef farmers have had a very tough year, and with our main markets now recovering strongly they are not prepared to tolerate loss-making prices any longer," he said.

Eddie Downey said in the last number of weeks, prices in the UK have increased by over €100, but without any increase in Irish prices, which are now below the EU average.

The IFA President said: "Farmers cannot continue to sell cattle at a loss. Teagasc figures show that on our most efficient farms, producers need a base price of at least €4.00/kg."

IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said livestock farmers were angry with Minister of Agriculture Simon Coveney over what he saw as a failure "to tackle the factories on the beef issues that have seriously damaged the sector and farm incomes since last January."

He said the IFA had repeatedly requested Minister Coveney to deal with a number of issues on beef, including resolving the problems for the live trade to Northern Ireland, the need for more competition and transparency in the trade and for increased monitoring and controls on carcase trim.


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