The news that processors would not be in attendance at tonight’s IFA beef meeting in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon, sparked anger among those who did turn up.

Tom Turley Connacht IFA Chairman told the 200-plus crowd that the non-appearance of the processors was a ‘disgrace’. “It is up to them to explain the situation because they caused this mess.”

He also said that there are plenty of processors in the region and it is outrageous that none of them bothered to turn up.

IFA President Eddie Downey said that, in recent days, the factories had made comments that there were ready to speak, but questioned their ‘no-show’ at the Roscommon meeting.

He said that the sector brought 100,000 extra cattle into 2013 and the factories used this extra supply to ‘abuse the system’.” They tore up the specification requirements and their means of communication with farmers has been appalling.”

Downey also stated that beef farmers won’t be able to survive another a period like that past 12 months. He said the factories need to realise that farmers are very angry and that anger is real. “Farmers have every right to be angry.”

He also told farmers that they have been robbed.

While he said that in recent meetings with both McDonalds and Tescos, the chief buyers for both companies had said that their specifications had not changed for beef.

“However when we meet the factories here at home they tell us that the specifications have changed. Somebody is not telling the truth.”

Downey also said that the retailers make a big play out of the fair trade brand to support farmers in the third world. He said that those same reataliers need to bring the fair trade home to farmers in Ireland.