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Monday 2 October 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# Bull by the horns
'Where's the beef ya vegan?' Taoiseach met with protests from farmers in Cork city
A prize bull and farming machinery were brought to the protest outside Cork City Hall.

Leo Varadkar Irish Farmers Association / Twitter Irish Farmers Association / Twitter / Twitter

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR and other ministers were met with protests from farmers and others before holding a Cabinet meeting in Cork city this morning.

A prize Aengus bull and farming machinery was brought outside Cork City Hall, where the Cabinet was due to meet.

In this video captured by RTÉ reporter Paul Cunningham, a protester can be heard asking the Taoiseach: “Where’s the beef ya vegan ya?”

Cabinet meetings are usually held in Dublin, but in recent years decisions have been made to hold them elsewhere around the country to tackle accusations that the government is too focused on the capital. The Taoiseach is currently on the campaign trail for the plebiscites in Cork, Waterford and Limerick.

Ahead of the meeting today, farmers gathered bearing signs demanding the support for beef producers that was promised by the government.

Due to the political and trade uncertainty over Brexit, the value of sterling has fluctuated massively, leading beef farmers in Ireland to suffer financial losses in recent months.

Of the 90% of Irish beef that’s exported each year, 50% of that goes to the UK.

At the Irish Farmers’ Association AGM in January, its president Joe Healy said that “beef farmers are ‘losing their shirts’. Farmers need €20 per head for every 5c kilo in reduction”.

He also said that a bad Brexit would be “armageddon, particularly for the beef sector”. 

Signs carried by protesters carried slogans like “€100 million Brexit losses breaking beef farmers”, and “Minister Creed’s ‘Wait and See’ NOT an Option”.

Bull at City Hall C103 C103

The IFA’s Harold Kingston told Patricia Messinger on C103′s Cork Today Show that they were losing an average of €200 per animal. 

When Kingston was asked about the welfare of the bull brought to the protest, he said “we wanted to show the general public what this was about”.

I specifically sourced a bull that I knew personally, I knew the owner better. I knew that it would be the ideal animal to actually show the type of industry we have and would be used to crowds.

In a statement, Joe Healy said that politicians have been “promising big” on Brexit losses, but it was now time to deliver.

Farmers are angry with the inaction from the government and the EU Commission. Farmers have already taken a huge hit from Brexit related losses. They need help now.

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