Beef Plan Movement stages mock funeral for the sector

The Beef Plan Movement has staged a mock funeral for the beef sector at a meeting in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, this evening, Thursday, May 9.

Almost 1,000 people attended the protest, which also featured representatives from various breed societies.

According to organisers, the coffin represents the “imminent death of the suckler and beef industry”.

Representatives from the Irish Charolais Cattle Society and the Irish Limousin Cattle Society also made their voices heard at the protest.

The farmers in attendance said they are “being exploited by processors and retailers”.

The protest comes after a call from one of the Beef Plan Movement’s senior representatives, urging farmers to “mobilise themselves and travel to Ballinasloe”.

Speaking to AgriLand ahead of the protest, Eoin Donnelly, western regional chairman for the group, said: “Farmer exploitation must be stopped and we’re asking all stakeholders to help us.

“The level of power that’s being leveraged over farmers by a combination of retailers and processors is shocking,” he argued.

“We need legislative change to protect farmers from the vulnerable position that they’re in.”

According to Donnelly, farmers are eating into any funding that they receive “just to keep their farms alive”.

“Money is filtering back up through the channel to the processors and retailers – while the farmers can’t do a thing about it,” he claimed.

This evening’s protest kicked off at approximately 6:00pm; protesters gathered in Saint Michael’s Square before descending upon the Shearwater Hotel in the east Galway town, where a beef sector meeting was taking place.

“We need to get the message across loud and clear. If something isn’t done that changes the status quo, then beef farming in Ireland is finished. We will be left rearing only dairy calves in Ireland,” warned Donnelly.