Irish farmers stage 12-hour blockade of LIDL distribution centre, following yesterday's Aldi protest

Irish farmers stage 12-hour blockade of LIDL distribution centre, following yesterday's Aldi protest

IRISH FARMERS aren't letting up after starting another 12-hour blockade of a supermarket distribution centre.

Today they've caused disruption at Lidl's major distribution centre in Charleville, Co Cork, following on from the 12-hour blockade staged outside an Aldi centre in Co. Kildare on Thursday.

Dozens of tractors lined the entrance and exit to the area, preventing lorries from bringing produce to and from the centre. Farmers also used hay-bales to partially block areas of the road.

They arrived shortly before 7am on Friday morning and are expected to remain there for 12 hours.

The protest is due to a dispute over beef prices paid to farmers and the IFA, the largest farming organisation in the country, said it is "demanding a significant and immediate beef price increase to bring the Irish beef price at least in line with the Bord Bia European Export Benchmark Price Index".

Farmers blockading Lidl's distribution centre in Charleville, Co. Cork on Friday morning. (Credit: HaroldKingston Twitter)

They've accused retailers such as Aldi and Lidl of driving down food prices, leaving farmers out of pocket.

A spokesperson for Lidl Ireland said it understands the difficulties faced by many farmers and "appreciates the importance of regular and transparent communication with farming representatives."

"As recently as last week, Lidl management had constructive discussions with members of both the BPM and the IFA," they continued.

"We also know that our customers are hugely appreciative of quality Irish produce. For this reason we are supportive of the work of the Beef Taskforce and hope they can make positive progress rapidly in the interest of all parties."

The IFA staged protests over the summer at plants across the country until a meeting with Agriculture Minister Michael Creed was organised to discuss a price increase and the creation of the Beef Taskforce.

The Taskforce was agreed to by beef farmers and organisations like the IFA and Meat Industry Ireland in October following weeks of protests.

It’s one of a number of measures, along with a new bonus payment for quality assured cattle, set out in the deal brokered by Creed.

Farmers had accepted the deal in exchange for the meat industry dropping all legal actions brought against protesting farmers who blockaded the gates of processing plants.

"Retailers have a powerful grip on the food chain and cannot shirk their responsibility to farmers. There is too much buck-passing between processors and retailers in their rush to grab all the profits, leaving farmers in a loss-making situation," IFA president Joe Healy said.

"Farmers are justified in seeking an immediate and meaningful increase in the price of beef. We have had enough excuses from both processors and retailers. Our message to the retailers is clear: tell your beef processors to give their farmers a price increase."