The president of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), Joe Healy, has described as “unfortunate” the scenes at Liffey Meats plant in Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan where one protestor was arrested and another injured.
There is a huge amount of frustration among farmers about how much they are being paid per kilo for beef - €3.50 while a Teagasc report had indicated that between €4 and €4.50 was necessary for farmers “to make ends meet,” he said.
Every farmer has a right to peacefully protest, Mr Healy, told RTÉ radio’s News at One.
Mr Healy pointed out that agreements had been worked out at some plants to allow Chinese inspectors into plants.
He called for a statutory investigation into the beef sector. “There is a need for transparency. Price is a key one. There needs to be a look at what is happening with processors and retailers - what they are paying, what are the margins?
“It has to be a statutory investigation, without statutory powers, we won’t get answers.
“A lot more transparency is required.”
On the same programme the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy expressed concern at the escalation witnessed in the past two weeks. He said that the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed was trying to make progress in finding a solution that will help both sides.
“People have a right to protest, but it has to be peaceful.”