Hundreds of farmers protest over price cuts


HUNDREDS OF farmers demonstrated outside three meat factories yesterday in protest at beef price cuts implemented in recent weeks.

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) staged the protests outside the AIBP beef factory in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, Kepak in Athleague, Co Roscommon, and the Dawn Meats Group plant in Granagh, Co Waterford. IFA president Pádraig Walshe warned that many beef producers could be put out of business.

Farmers who raise beef during winter months are being hit by lower prices of €3.02 per kilo, causing them to lose up to €200 per head, according to the IFA. It said Bord Bia is reporting the UK price at £2.90 per kilo, equivalent to €3.43 per kilo. More than half of Irish beef exports – more than 260,000 tonnes – go to the UK.

IFA livestock chairman Michael Doran said the factory price cuts could not be justified as beef prices in Ireland’s main export markets are stable. He said price cuts will wipe out profitability and drive the beef sector back into a major seasonality problem.

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) said the IFA protests were misguided and unhelpful and cattle price levels were a reflection of the market returns for Irish beef.

“This is a totally inappropriate action and serves only to create unnecessary division,” said MII director Cormac Healy.