Irish farmers stage blockade of Tesco distribution centre in latest protest over beef prices

Irish farmers stage blockade of Tesco distribution centre in latest protest over beef prices

IRISH FARMERS are protesting outside a Tesco distribution centre in Dublin in the latest in a series of blockades by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) over beef prices.

On Thursday, farmers blockaded an Aldi distribution centre in Naas, Co. Kildare.

This was followed by a protest outside a Lidl distribution centre in Charleville, Co. Cork on Friday.

The campaign has now stretched into its third day after farmers set up camp outside Tesco's main distribution centre in Donabate, blocking the road and preventing produce-carrying lorries from leaving or entering the premises.

As has been the case with previous protests, tractors and hay bales have been used to block access to the site.

The blockade - which began Monday morning at around 7am - is expected to last around 12 hours.

The IFA have stated previously that the price they're paid for their cattle by big supermarket chains is too low and they're demanding a price increase.

Meat processing company ABP said last week that it will increase the base price of cattle for deliveries as of today, but branded the blockades "needless and irresponsible".

IFA President Joe Healy today said that while ABP said prices would increase, the company gave no specific figures in its statement.

"This is typical of the lack of transparency from meat factories,” Healy said in a statement.

"From talking to farmers, it would seem that generally the price rises appear to be 5c/kg for heifers and 10c/kg for steers.

"This still leaves the Irish price well short of the Bord Bia EU Benchmark and it remains over 50c off the UK price as their market continues to strengthen. The UK price increased again last week and sterling improved to 84p/€ last Friday," he continued.

Healy said the IFA will continue its protest until there is "a substantial price increase".

"We don’t have to wait until 'price setting Friday', as ABP insisted in their press statement. This can happen any day. This sort of controlling practice only serves to fuel the belief amongst farmers that ABP are abusing their dominant position in the market."