December 10, 2019
Latest Irish beef farmers' protest hits Tesco distribution centre in Dublin
The unhappiness of Irish beef farmers appears to show no signs of abating as protesters obstructed a Tesco central distribution centre in Dublin due to dissatisfaction over beef prices.
Members of the IFA began the protest at the Tesco centre in Donabate in the morning and said the protest would go on for 12 hours.
It is part of a series of rolling protests against retailers who the IFA accuse of being complicit in keeping prices for farmers low. Previous blockades took place at the Lidl distribution centre in Charleville, Co Cork and the Aldi distribution centre in Naas, Co Kildare last week.
IFA president Joe Healy said a Tesco half-price beef sale was an "insult to farmers and the work they do." ABP's Larry Goodman was also accused for a lack of transparency over prices.
ABP, Ireland's largest beef processor, has announced that it will increase prices it pays farmers for their cattle, but included no figures.
"From talking to farmers, it would seem that generally the price rises appear to be 5c/kg for heifers and 10c/kg for steers," Healy said.
"This still leaves the Irish price well short of the Bord Bia EU benchmark and it remains over 50c off the UK price as their market continues to strengthen. The UK price increased again last week and sterling improved to 84p/€1 last Friday."
Healy claimed ABP could have increased cattle prices some weeks earlier, but decided not to. He further accused the company of keeping "increases for themselves and refused to pass it back to farmers."
He also accused Meat Industry Ireland (MII), the industry representative body, of adopting the same "stalling tactic" at the Beef Taskforce.
Healy warned that farmers will continue their actions until they have a substantial price increase.
He added: " We don't have to wait until 'price setting Friday', as ABP insisted in their press statement. This can happen any day. This sort of controlling practice only serves to fuel the belief amongst farmers that ABP are abusing their dominant position in the market.
"I would call on the other meat processors to break from this practice and announce a further price increase immediately, in line with increases in the market."
- The Irish Times