Calls made for Aid to Private Storage measures after McDonald’s closure

Calls have been made for the implementation of market support measures such as Aid to Private Storage (APS), following the decision by McDonald’s to close its outlets in Ireland and the UK.

McDonald’s outlets will close from this evening, Monday, March 23, and in response, the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) said that the “immediate introduction” of such measures was needed to “keep cattle farmers in business”.

“Cattle farmers are already extremely vulnerable, and we need to immediately re-set the intervention reference price to ensure price does not drop below current levels,” said Edmund Graham, the ICSA’s beef chairman.

The ICSA recognises that many sectors are badly impacted by Covid-19. However, it is critical to understand that farmers are now more vital than ever and are already struggling to stay going at current beef prices.

“The closure of McDonald’s represents a loss of over 3,000t of beef per month, much of which goes to UK outlets as well as Irish outlets,” Graham highlighted.

The ICSA beef chairperson did note an increase in demand from supermarkets for beef, but he stressed: “This is not a time for gambling, and the introduction of market support measures is vital to keep price stable.”

Graham added that the ICSA has been in contact with Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed, requesting that the minister put this issue “to the top of his agenda” for a video meeting with other agriculture ministers from across the EU this Wednesday, March 25.

We cannot prevaricate at a time when food supply and security is so vital.

McDonald’s announced yesterday, Sunday, March 22, that it would be closing all of its Irish and UK outlets from this evening, Monday, because of the spread of Covid-19.

In an online statement, the multinational fastfood giant said: “We have taken the difficult decision to close all McDonald’s restaurants in the UK and Ireland by 7:00pm on Monday, March 23, at the latest.

“This is not a decision we are taking lightly, but one made with the well-being and safety of our employees in mind, as well as in the best interests of our customers,” the statement added.

McDonald’s said it would work with local community groups to “responsibly distribute food and drink” from its outlets in the coming days.