Louth IFA chairman Matthew McGreehan has said farmers are tired of working for nothing as factories profit at their expense.
Mr McGreeghan was speaking outside the Kepak plant in Meath on Sunday as livestock farmers began their two-day round-the-clock protest.
“Factories are profiteering at the expense of farm families in Louth and throughout the country,” he said. “There is money in the system to pay a fair price to farmers. This issue needs to be dealt with accordingly. Farmers were assured all year that when market conditions improved, beef prices would move on to reflect this. Farmers cannot continue to sell cattle at a loss.”
“The strong turnout of farmers and their families at Kepak and other meat plants around the country has been huge entering into the 48-hour protest. It emphasises how hurt and angry farmers are from these unfair prices. I would like to thank farmers, friends and families who came. Your support was greatly appreciated.”
“Our main markets have recovered strongly and farmers are not prepared to tolerate loss-making prices any longer. MII must address the fundamental issue.
“Farmers are being hammered with loss-making prices and specification cuts that have decimated their incomes. There will be more protests if there is no significant rise in price, factories must listen.”
IFA president Eddie Downey said the IFA had engaged fully with the beef forum process.
He said he was confident, based on intensive discussions last week, that agreement could be reached on a wide range of issues at the minister’s beef forum this Wednesday.
“After over 8 hours of discussions,” Mr Downey said, “under chairmanship of Michael Dowling with the meat factories on Friday last, progress was made on a range of concerns regarding specifications, but the issue of market price returns is separate to the forum’s discussions and needs to be progressed by the meat factories immediately.”