Additional reporting by Charles O’Donnell from the protest site in Naas, Co. Kildare

Supermarket chain Aldi has issued a statement in response to the ongoing Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) protest at its distribution centre in Naas, Co. Kildare.

Aldi has said it is “extremely disappointed” by today’s IFA protest at its Naas Regional Distribution Centre.

A statement from the supermarket clarified: “To be very clear, Aldi received no request for engagement on this issue from any member of the IFA leadership.

No communication [was given] about specific concerns, about the mechanics of the beef market, including age specification, and no warning of any grievance the IFA had before this morning.

Continuing, the supermarket added: “Aldi is a proud supporter of Irish beef and all of our fresh meat, including our beef is 100% Irish and Bord Bia assured.

“We remain committed to reporting back through the taskforce and playing a fulsome role in the process. Any action outside of this process is short-sighted and not constructive, the supermarket explained.

Continuing, the Aldi statement explained that it had welcomed the resumption of the beef taskforce this week and outlined it has “engaged openly” with farmer representative organisations on the beef issue over recent months.

Aldi is fully committed to cooperating with the beef taskforce and met with the one of the representative groups, the Beef Plan Movement (BPM), as recently as last week to further update our position.

“As part of our preparations for the taskforce, we have initiated research on a wide range of beef products to determine a number of issues.

“Our work also includes a complete review of procedures and processes with our suppliers to ensure we are meeting all customer and market requirements,” the statement concludes.

IFA response

Meanwhile, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) president Joe Healy has this morning said: “We will continue to take action until processors give a significant price increase.”

Commenting on the IFA protest taking place this morning, Thursday, November 5, Healy said: “The supply chain is failing and today, we are blocking it for 12 hours.”

Speaking to AgriLand at the site of the protest this morning, Healy said: “We’re here to send a clear message to the retailers: For them to send out a message to the processors to pass on an immediate price increase to Irish beef farmers.”

Healy expressed his frustration at the beef taskforce meeting, saying: “We went into the beef taskforce meeting last Tuesday and there was no minister, no retailers and Meat Industry Ireland (MII) came in with nothing to offer.”