Meat Protest Highlights Farmers' Anger - IFA

A turnout of thousands of farmers at meat plants across Ireland is a strong indicator of the anger over a €350 per head cattle price gap with the UK, according to the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA).

IFA President Eddie Downey made the comments following the end of a 24-hour protest yesterday late afternoon.

Speaking to farmers in Charleville, Co Cork, Mr Downey said: "Since 3pm yesterday, 15,000 farmers have turned out at nearly 30 locations to voice their deep frustration with the factories. Our main markets have recovered strongly and farmers are not prepared to tolerate loss-making prices any longer. MII must address the fundamental issue, which is their refusal to pass back to Irish farmers strong UK market price increases of over 30c/kg (€100 per head) in the last number of weeks."

The IFA President said for the past 12 months, farmers have been selling at a loss and coping with specification cuts that have detrimentally affected incomes.

"Farmers cannot continue to sell cattle at a loss," he said. "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 are "very angry with the failure of the Minister of Agriculture Simon Coveney to tackle the factories on the beef issues that have seriously damaged the sector and farm incomes since last January."

He said farmers had been "let down" on beef specification issues and that the IFA had requested Minister Coveney to deal with issues on beef, including resolving problems for the live trade to Northern Ireland, the need for more competition and transparency and for increased monitoring and controls on carcase trim, weights and classification.


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