An Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) presidential candidate has claimed that food retailers and the food services sector are “hiding behind the factories”.

Angus Woods, the association’s current national livestock chairperson, was speaking after an IFA protest today, Thursday, December 5, at an Aldi distribution centre in Naas, Co. Kildare.

Woods referred to the current price situation – in which UK and European cattle price are increasing relative to Irish prices – as a “fiasco”.

Rapidly strengthening international markets are driving prices up across Europe.

“The cattle price index from Bord Bia shows a growing price gap between the prices being paid to Irish livestock farmers and those paid in the UK and across Europe, with a price differential of up to 50c/kg for R3 grade steers between Ireland and the UK, and 20c/kg between Ireland and the EU,” Woods highlighted.

He commented that retailers and the food services sector “are nowhere to be seen” when it comes to engaging with farmers or the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

“They are hiding behind the factories and are trying to dodge their responsibility for low prices for prime meat and the unacceptable delays in increasing prices to farmers,” Woods added.

The prices being paid to Irish livestock farmers must increase by the full amount of the price differential that has opened up between Irish prices and those being paid in the UK.

“Major retailers and players in the food services sector cannot be allowed to profit on the back of farmers and need to urgently engage with their supplies and factories to correct prices and bring Irish cattle prices in line with the other markets,” Woods commented.

The IFA national livestock chairperson concluded his remarks by saying: “Without a positive move on prices across the industry, protests and disruption will continue.”