Farmers
protest over
factory prices

Taking part in the protest at one of the Dawn Meats factories on Monday was former IFA President John Bryan with a number of farmers. Hundreds of farmers took part in the protests that were held at 30 meat plants around the country.
Longford farmers were among thousands nationally to take part in pickets at 30 meat plants across the country this week.

Longford farmers were among thousands nationally to take part in pickets at 30 meat plants across the country this week.

Longford IFA members placed themselves at the plant in Athleague on Monday, while others picketed in Castlepollard on Tuesday.

The beef protest is the first nationwide action taken against processors since 2000 and involves pickets at 30 meat plants across 16 counties from Donegal to Cork.

The factories have reacted angrily to the blockade, describing the action as “unnecessary, misguided and counterproductive.”

However, Longford IFA chairman, Andrew McHugh said the situation was at crisis point and further action would be taken in the weeks ahead if the processors continued to operate in the same manner as they have been.

“Great crowds turned out for the protest,” said Mr McHugh, adding, “this must achieve something”.

He said the massive €350/hd price differential which had opened up between Ireland and Britain and Northern Ireland would not be tolerated by farmers any longer.

“It is impossible to explain to farmers why Irish beef prices are €1/kg behind those paid to farmers in Britain and Northern Ireland,” he added.

“If things don’t change by the end of the week with regard to the processors, this action will continued,” Mr McHugh warned. “The situation at the moment is not sustainable and over half the meat being exported from Ireland goes to England.”

Meanwhile, IFA president, Eddie Downey added: “In the last number of weeks, prices in the UK have increased by over €100/hd without any increase in Irish prices. Irish prices are now below the EU average. This is very unfair and farmers are right to react with protests.”