A High Court judge has ruled in favour of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) in a case taken by Lidl Ireland seeking an injunction against the association and its president Tim Cullinan, and vice-president Brian Rushe.

Earlier this year, the IFA and Lidl got into a war of words over the labels the retailer uses on its milk.

On Sunday, March 14, the IFA ran an advertisement claiming that Lidl and Aldi labelled their milk in such a way to make it appear as though it comes from particular dairies or creameries, when those dairies and creameries didn’t exist.

Lidl refuted the claims stating that all of its milk comes from farmers in the Republic of Ireland and took a case against the IFA claiming defamation and that the advertisment was ‘misleading’.

High Court ruling

Judgement in the case was reserved last month (April) and today, the High Court declined Lidl’s injunction application against the farm organisation.

The judge also provisionally awarded costs to the IFA.

Speaking to Agriland after today’s ruling in the High Court, president of the IFA, Tim Cullinan welcomed the decision of the judge.

“The IFA had been quietly confident in the case and today the association has been vindicated.

“It is something we have been challenging for years i.e. the dominance of retailers in driving down the price of produce.”

The IFA has said it will push the government to establish the new Food Ombudsman office without delay.

Cullinan added: “Irish farmers work incredibly hard to produce top-quality, nutritious food.  However, marketing strategies like Lidl’s undermine this work and the role of farm families in the food supply chain.

“It is very difficult for individual farmers and suppliers to challenge major retailers given the disparity in scale and resources. It is the farmers as the primary producer who loses out,” he concluded.

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