Irish farmers stage cattle price protest

Irish beef farmers are to stage a blockade outside abattoirs today in a 24-hour protest over the price gap between Irish and UK cattle prices.

Organisers of the protest, the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA), reported UK cattle prices have increased by £78.74 (€100) per head over recent weeks and are now over £275 per head above Irish prices. IFA president Eddie Downey also reported Irish prices are below the European Union average.

Downey said: “Farmers have had enough and are not prepared to tolerate loss-making prices any longer, especially when our main markets are returning much higher prices.

“Farmers cannot continue to sell cattle at a loss. Teagasc (The Irish Food and Agriculture Development Authority) figures show that on our most efficient farms, producers need a base price of at least €4.00/kg to make a small margin and €4.50/kg to make a return on investment and labour.”

IFA said its members were “very determined” to secure a rise in cattle prices to reflect the similar rise in UK prices. However, Ireland’s meat promotional body, Meat Industry Ireland, said the action was “unnecessary, misguided and counterproductive”.

The 24-hour protest will begin at 3pm today outside several meat factories across Ireland.

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