The meeting between a delegation from the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and representatives from Dunnes Stores yesterday evening (Tuesday, February 16) was “straight talking but constructive”, the farm organisation has said.
The IFA delegation included its president Tim Cullinan, as well as chairperson of the National Poultry Committee Nigel Sweetman and the chairperson of the National Pigs Committee Roy Gallie.
The meeting took place after protests at Dunnes Stores outlets in counties Cork and Monaghan yesterday and Monday (February 14).
The protest was stood down yesterday after Dunnes Stores contacted the IFA to say they will meet with the farm organisation.
Speaking after the meeting, Cullinan said: “We made it clear to the senior management in Dunnes that there is a real urgency around addressing rising costs at farm level.”
He added that the IFA “put a number of proposals” to the retailer.
According to the association, Dunnes Stores “have committed to come back shortly with a detailed response”.
Yesterday morning, after the protests had been stood down, Cullinan had said that he would meet representatives from Dunnes himself, on the basis that “they would engage in meaningful discussions”.
“Following a call from Dunnes Stores this morning, we have agreed to meet this afternoon to discuss what is needed to restore the viability of producers,” the IFA president had added.
On foot of that call from Dunnes, IFA members moved away from the protest locations in Bishopstown in Cork and Monaghan town to allow the talks to take place.
IFA poultry chairperson Sweetman commented that other retailers have met with IFA and acknowledged the issue of rising costs, but “they need to act”.
“We cannot survive at current prices. Farmers are looking for 15c a chicken and 2c an egg.”
Meanwhile, IFA pigs chairperson Gallie called on the government to “step up” on the issue as well as retailers.
“Pig farmers are in a vice-like grip with feed price increases on one side and falling prices on the other,” Gallie said.