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Lack of certainty over LacPatrick leads to anger for Northern Ireland farmers

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Andrew McConkey, LacPatrick

Andrew McConkey, LacPatrick

Andrew McConkey, LacPatrick

Calls are growing for shareholder meetings at LacPatrick Co-op, which collects milk from around 700 Northern Ireland farmers, to discuss the continuing uncertainty at the processor.

Suppliers of the dairy have expressed anger and frustration at the lack of consultation from management at the co-op.

A Lacpatrick source pointed out that the co-op had written to its shareholders regarding recent developments and that it had met with farm organisations on both sides of the border over the last week.

The co-op, which is based in Monaghan and led by chairman Andrew McConkey, is mulling tie-ins with processors including Dale Farm, Lakeland Dairies and Aurivo. However, the Irish farmers' group the ICMSA has backed calls for the co-op to hold a shareholders' meeting.

"We note that LacPatrick is communicating directly with individual farmer-members and with farm organisations, but we would think that the circumstances call for communication at shareholder level and that should be arranged," ICMSA president Pat McCormack said.

However, in a statement, LacPatrick insisted that it had been proactive in its communications with co-op members.

"LacPatrick has communicated directly with farmers as well as with farm organisations thus far and will continue to do so throughout this process," LacPatrick stated. 

"LacPatrick proactively sought meetings with the IFA and the ICMSA in the Republic of Ireland as well as the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) in Northern Ireland to inform them and their members of the recent developments in LacPatrick," the co-op statement added.

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