Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has released a statement on the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) protest at the Aldi distribution centre in Naas, Co. Kildare, earlier today, Thursday, December 5.

MII has labelled the protest – which was aiming to highlight the retailers’ role in beef prices – an “irresponsible and completely unjustified stunt”.

“Disrupting normal business operations and harming the livelihoods of associated service providers does nothing to help the market situation,” the MII statement said.

It is just two days since the first meeting of the Beef Market Taskforce. Every effort is being made to address the many actions in the Irish Beef Sector Agreement.

MII claimed that the IFA “has chosen to undermine this process” by undertaking what MII referred to as “illegal blockading activity”.

“This is not giving the taskforce due time,” MII added.

The processor representative body went on to claim that: “This and further threatened blockading activity are an expression of internal farm organisation politics playing out in the form of disruption of businesses.”

The IFA knows that the beef taskforce cannot address price. This is a matter for the marketplace and individual processors.

MII also said that, since the taskforce meeting on Tuesday, December 3, it has “communicated to its members the strong views on current cattle prices that were expressed by farm organisations at the meeting”.

IFA view

Speaking this morning at the protest, IFA president Joe Healy commented: “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.”

Healy also argued that retailers have “a dominant role in a dysfunctional food chain and they have to be held to account”.

Referring to MII and the Beef Market Taskforce, the IFA president claimed: “To hear MII representatives after the 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… Farmers won’t accept any more stalling or a Mickey Mouse price increase.”