McDonald’s closure ‘a big blow’ for Irish beef sector

The decision of McDonald’s to close all of its restaurants in Ireland and the UK from today, Monday, March 23, is a “big blow” to the Irish beef sector, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Tim Cullinan, the association’s president, said that the decision by the fastfood chain is in line with what is happening throughout Europe with the impact of Covid-19 on the food services sector.

Cullinan has written to European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski to call for the European Commission to support the beef market in Europe in light of Covid-19.

McDonald’s is an important buyer of Irish beef. Its closure is a big blow to the sector. Unfortunately, it is reflective of what is happening across Europe where closures have had an impact on the food service sector.

However, Cullinan also pointed out that some of the impact of Covid-19 on food services in Europe has been mitigated by an increase in retail demand.

“The Irish beef price is already well below the cost of production for farmers. They cannot sustain any further cuts,” the IFA president stressed.

‘Difficult decision’

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.