WATCH| Farmers take protests to Kepak Ballymahon

Kevin Forde

Reporter:

Kevin Forde

Email:

kevin.forde@longfordleader.ie

Longford farmers at Kepak Ballymahon

Longford farmers at Kepak Ballymahon

Farmers from throughout Longford and surrounding areas have taken peaceful protests to Kepak Ballymahon.

A group of farmers are holding the peaceful protest in light of recent beef price fluctuations and say they are 'all in' for the foreseeable future. They told the Leader that this is not a new picket, merely a continuation of recent pickets in Kilbeggan and Athleague, before vowing to take the protests to other factories should price increases not be put in place. 

"This protest is here to stay." said farmer Joe Murphy.

"We will stay until Christmas if we have to." 

Protesters explained to the Leader that poor returns for their labour is the main frustration with prices now on par with the late 80's, while other issues include the 30-month rule and movements. 

Lanesboro farmer Joe Murphy said: "The prices we are getting now we were getting back in 1986/87."

These frustrations were shared by Ballymahon councillor and beef farmer Paul Ross, who has been continually supporting peaceful protests from the get go. 

He said: "The 30-month rule is a red-line issue for me." Before adding that farmers cannot continue at losses estimated at €200 per head: "We can't continue in this business at this price.

"We can't sell under the market value. It is as simple as that."

Farmers present at the picket in Ballymahon confirmed to the Leader that no animals/livestock hauliers have gained access to the plant since they began protests at the plant and they have vowed to continue protests for as long as needs be. They also wished thank local communities and businesses for the support shown since protests began and encouraged other farmers to lend a hand to the cause.

Farmer Martin Skelly noted: "We are trying to keep rural Ireland alive as rural Ireland is dying.

"People are leaving in their hundreds because they cannot sustain a living.

"All farmers are asking for is a fair return for working hard." he concluded.