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IFA staging blockade outside Tesco distribution centre in Dublin

The latest blockade is part of the ongoing farmer campaign for an increase in beef prices.

Farmers at the protest outside the Aldi distribution centre in Naas, Co Kildare, last Thursday.
Farmers at the protest outside the Aldi distribution centre in Naas, Co Kildare, last Thursday.
Image: IFA/Twitter

Updated Dec 9th 2019, 9:58 AM

THE IRISH FARMERS’ Association (IFA) is staging a protest outside a Tesco distribution centre in north Co Dublin.

The latest blockade is part of the ongoing farmer campaign for an increase in beef prices.

The protest began at the distribution centre in Donabate, which supplies Tesco stores around the country, at 7am and is expected to last until 7pm.

IFA members held similar protests outside Aldi and Lidl distribution centres last week.

Meat processing company ABP last week said it will increase the base price of cattle for deliveries from today. The company, owned and controlled by Larry Goodman, said in a statement that the blockades were “needless and irresponsible”.

IFA President Joe Healy today stated 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 issued this morning. 

“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 said.

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.”

He called on other meat processors “to break from this practice and announce a further price increase immediately, in line with increases in the market”.

‘Appalled’ 

Healy stated that farmers are “also appalled” to see Tesco advertising ‘half price’ beef in the last few days.

“This unsustainable discounting puts downward pressure on beef prices and is an insult to farmers and the work they do,” he said.

A spokesperson for Tesco told TheJournal.ie the company has “always maintained a good working relationship with the IFA and in recent weeks had a very constructive meeting, so today’s action at our distribution centre is regrettable”.

“All Tesco own-label fresh beef is sourced through processors, who agree prices directly with farmers. The price customers pay for beef products in our stores is not related to the price farmers receive from the processors. As a business we pay for any price promotions we run.

“Tesco supports the work of the Beef Taskforce and agrees that it is the correct mechanism for resolving the current challenges in the beef sector.”

In a statement issued on Friday, ABP said Healy and the IFA “were fully aware that market indications pointed towards a cattle price increase in Ireland”. 

“The price paid by ABP for cattle will always be determined by the prevailing market conditions and those conditions have recently improved. ABP can confirm, as was indicated on Tuesday at the Beef Task Force, that it will increase the base price of cattle for deliveries from next Monday (today),” the statement read. 

A spokesperson for ABP today said the company won’t be commenting beyond the statement issued last week. 

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Órla Ryan

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