'Farmers can't take any more': IFA say protests will continue until there is price increase

Latest: The Irish Farmers' Association says protests will continue until there's a significant increase in the price of beef.

'Farmers can't take any more': IFA say protests will continue until there is price increase

Latest: The Irish Farmers' Association says protests will continue until there's a significant increase in the price of beef.

Farmers are blockading the Lidl distribution centre in Charleville in Cork this morning, and it comes after a protest in Kildare yesterday.

The blockade in Cork started at 7am this morning, and will continue until 7pm tonight.

IFA President Joe Healy says with the way prices are at the minute, they have no other choice but to protest.

"This will continue and we have to get a price increase because our farmers can't take any more of it," said Mr Healy.

"Last Monday week, the IFA handed a letter in to Meath Industry Ireland and handed one in to the Minister for Agriculture and it was on the back of the first Price Index from Bord Bia that showed the gap between Ireland and the UK and the EU.

"And that was demanding an immediate price increase. Then, eight days later there was no movement."

John Coughlan, Munster Regional Chairman of the IFA, organised today's protest in Cork.

He is a beef farmer and he said that the current prices are having negative impact on his livlihood.

"The impact that it is having is that every animal that I have slaughtered this year, I have lost up to €150 each which to me is between €15-18m.

"We need to get the returns from the European market back to Irish farmers."

Eamon Corley, co-chairman of Beef Plan Movement, believes farmers, retailers and factory owners all need to be part of talks.

"I do think we need all the supermarket chains to be involved in the taskforce and we also need the factory owners moreson than Meat Industry Ireland," said Mr Corley.

"Meat Industry Ireland have always said that they can't talk about price but price is the big issue."

'This action will continue': Farmers blockade Lidl distribution centre in Cork

Farmers outside the Lidl distribution centre in Charleville this morning
Farmers outside the Lidl distribution centre in Charleville this morning

Update 8.30am: The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) is blockading the Lidl distribution centre in Charleville, Co Cork this morning.

Meat Industry Ireland branded a similar blockade at the Aldi distribution centre in Naas, Co Kildare as "an irresponsible and completely unjustified stunt."

IFA President Joe Healy disagrees and says protests will continue until there is a significant increase in the price of beef.

"The message is simple: these farmers have to get an immediate price rise," said Mr Healy.

"We cannot continue to be expected to sell top quality production at more than 50c under the cost of production.

"While that gap is there and while the factories aren't making any attempt to close it, this action will continue."

IFA Presidential candidate, John Coughlan, said that the government needs to realise that for farmers the Beef Taskforce is the equivalent of the national pay talks.

Mr Coughlan criticised what he said is the government's listless attitude and said that farmers need more than a shrug of the shoulders from them.

"“All the parties to the talks, including the meat industry, are saying they want a deal. If so, why are we not all in a room right now looking to agree one?" asked Mr Coughlan.

"The lack of urgency is staggering. Farmers do not need a stop-start talking shop, they need action.

"The only people who benefit from delays are meat barons who are pocketing the additional margin which independent analysis shows is in the market.”

He highlighted that Irish beef farmers have lost a staggering €60 million to date due to the meat industry’s failure to honour their commitments, with farmers set to lose another €20 million by the end of the year if a price deal is not agreed.

“We have 20 days to save €20 million. Every day that passes without progress, farm family livelihoods worsen.

"We need a new dynamic, because where we are is clearly not working,” Coughlan concluded.

Farmers begin blockade at Lidl distribution centre in Cork

Update 7.25am: The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) is blockading the Lidl distribution centre in Charleville, Co Cork this morning.

This follows the blockade at the Aldi distribution centre in Naas, Co Kildare yesterday.

The IFA has accused retailers of “hiding behind factories” and failing to do what they can to address the prices paid to beef farmers.

Speaking at the picket line at the Aldi regional distribution centre in Naas yesterday, IFA President Joe Healy warned they would protest outside more retailers until their price demands are met.

“This is the first of many protests,” he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

The demonstrations follow a meeting earlier this week of the Beef Task Force - a body that was established to address the issues that prompted farmers’ protests at meat processing plants around the country.

However the IFA said the meeting did little to assure them that their core demand of higher prices paid to farmers would be met.

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