IFA sanctions more blockades in meat price row

The IFA has sanctioned more meat factory blockades in its campaign to secure beef price increases.

The IDA’s executive council met in emergency session in Dublin last night — a meeting which was also attended by the National Livestock Committee.

IFA president Eddie Downey said they had a lengthy discussion about the price and specification issues that have to be resolved since 15,000 farmers mounted 24-hour blockades of meat plants.

“The clear message from members of the Executive Council and the Livestock Committee was that farmers are very angry that the price gap has not been addressed,” he said.

“Unless there is significant movement on this and the specification issues, farmers will not let another week go by without further action.”

Earlier, he said there had to be an urgent response from the meat factories as farmers had struggled with loss-making beef prices through all of 2014 and patience had run out.

At the Beef Forum meeting last Wednesday, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney challenged factories to explain why they were not returning higher market prices to farmers.

Mr Downey said he made it very clear to Mr Coveney and the factories at the forum that they must respond to the protests by addressing the massive €350 per head price gap that has opened up with our main export market in the UK.

He said the industry’s commitment to address the issues must translate into immediate and substantial beef price increases.

“The minister confirmed that he will convene another meeting of the Beef Forum on November 12 and in the interim, he expects significant progress to be made on the market price and specification issues,” Mr Downey said.

He added that, with UK beef prices up by 30c/kg (€100 per head) in recent weeks, there was no excuse for the factories to withhold a price increase to farmers.


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