With additional reporting by Charles O’Donnell in Naas, Co. Kildare

A protest is taking place this morning, Thursday, December 5, at the Aldi distribution centre in Naas, Co. Kildare.

The protest comes as the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) is demanding a “significant and immediate beef price increase” to bring the Irish beef price in line with the Bord Bia European Export Benchmark Price Index.

Commenting on the protest, the IFA president Joe Healy said: “Farmers are sick of being short changed by meat factories and retailers on beef price.

The supply chain is delivering mega profits for factories and retailers at the expense of farmers. We can have all the reviews we like, but farmers need a price increase now.

“Before any talks last August, we insisted that the retailers had to be present, but they refused to take part.

“They have a dominant role in a dysfunctional food chain and they have to be held to account.

Irish prices are 20c/kg or €80/animal behind the Bord Bia price tracker, and 50c/kg or €180 behind the UK price. Prices here have been well behind the EU and UK beef price for weeks.

Continuing, Healy said: “To hear Meat Industry Ireland (MII) representatives after the Beef Taskforce talk about the ‘green shoots’ of a market recovery when the grass has been growing under their feet for weeks is an insult to farmers’ intelligence and another delaying tactic.

“Farmers won’t accept any more stalling or a Mickey Mouse price increase. There is no reason why we shouldn’t be at the EU Export Benchmark Price,” he said.

“The retail sector has been driving down food prices without any consideration for the impact on primary producers.

We hear a lot of talk from these retailers about Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability. Yet, they work hand in glove with processors without any consideration for the impact on farmers.

Concluding, Healy said: “The supply chain is failing and today we are blocking it for 12 hours. We will continue to take action until processors give a significant price increase.”