Irish beef farmers continue protest at UK price gap

Thousands of Irish beef farmers have staged another protest outside meat factories as anger grows over the price gap with the UK.

Organisers of the 48 hour protest, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), said not enough has been done to reduce the price gap which stands at £275 (350 euros) per head. IFA President Eddie Downey said the “steel and resolve” of farmers across the country is very strong.

The blockade began on Sunday and finished yesterday (11 November 2014) after emergency talks between the IFA and Meat Industry Ireland (MII), who represent processors, broke down on Friday.

The IFA staged a similar blockade two weeks ago which the BBC reported cost 10m euros (£785,000) in lost output.

In yesterday’s protest, farmers blockaded 14 of the 29 meat factories across Ireland, including ABP and Dawn Meats.

Downey said: “Bord Bia [the Irish Food Board] confirmed to the Beef Forum that cattle prices in the UK market have improved by 30cent/kg in recent months and this must be reflected in returns to Irish farmers. Cattle prices here have improved by 10cent/kg over the last week, but this is nowhere near enough the strong returns in our main export market in the UK”.

MII said making comparisons between British and Irish prices is “inappropriate” due to quality standard differences.

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