Beef prices: Farmers protest at Musgrave centre in Co Kildare

Kilcock picket comes as latest Irish Farmers’ Association protests enter fourth day

Farmers outside the Lidl distribution centre in Charleville, Co Cork, last week. Photograph: IFA

Farmers outside the Lidl distribution centre in Charleville, Co Cork, last week. Photograph: IFA

 

Farmers have gathered outside the Musgrave distribution centre in Kilcock, Co Kildare, as part of protests calling for a rise in beef prices.

The picket, organised by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), follows demonstrations outside the Tesco central distribution centre in Dublin on Monday and the Aldi distribution centre last week.

Protesters gathered in Kilcock at 7am on Tuesday for their fourth day of picketing and parked a tractor at the entrance to the Musgrave distribution centre, blocking the main entrance to staff.

A statement from the Musgrave group said SuperValu had a “long-standing commitment” to Irish farmers and that 100 per cent of the supermarket’s branded beef was Irish.

“The price of beef is agreed between processors and farmers, as 90 per cent of Irish beef is exported, it is important to note that we do not determine the market price of beef.”

On Monday, protesters blockaded Tesco’s distribution centre, while IFA president Joe Healy described the Tesco half-price beef sale as an “insult to farmers and the work they do”.

Mr Healy also criticised Larry Goodman’s ABP group, accusing it of a lack of transparency over prices.

Last week the country’s biggest beef processor announced it would increase prices it pays farmers for their cattle but included no figures.

“From talking to farmers, it would seem that generally the price rises appear to be 5c/kg for heifers and 10c/kg for steers,” he said.

“This still leaves the Irish price well short of the Bord Bia EU benchmark, and it remains over 50c off the UK price as their market continues to strengthen. The UK price increased again last week, and sterling improved to 84p/€1 last Friday,” he said.

He also accused Meat Industry Ireland, the industry representative body, of adopting the same “stalling tactic” at the Beef Taskforce.

Mr Healy has warned farmers will continue protesting until they see a substantial price increase.