Belfast Telegraph

Irish Farmers’ Association blocks Tesco distribution centre in beef protest

This is the third distribution centre to be targeted by members of the Irish Farmers’ Association in an ongoing protest by farmers over beef prices.

Members of the Irish Farmers’ Association blockade the Tesco site in Donabate, Dublin, in protest over poor cattle prices (Niall Carson/PA)
Members of the Irish Farmers’ Association blockade the Tesco site in Donabate, Dublin, in protest over poor cattle prices (Niall Carson/PA)

By Aine McMahon PA

Members of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA)  are holding a 12-hour protest outside a Tesco distribution centre in Co Dublin.

The blockade is taking place at the Tesco central distribution centre in Donabate.

It follows similar blockades at Aldi and Lidl distribution centres last week in Co Kildare and Co Cork as part of an ongoing protest by farmers who want an increase in beef prices.

The protest began at 7am and is due to last for 12 hours.

ABP, one of the largest beef processors in the country, announced last week that the base price it pays for cattle would increase.

The IFA said in a statement the suggested rise of between five and 10 cent per kilo for beef is not enough.

It said more protests will follow unless there is a significant price increase.

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A sheep dog sits on a hay bale as members of the Irish Farmers’ Association blockade the Tesco Distribution in Donabate, Dublin, in a protest over poor cattle prices (Niall Carson/PA)

IFA president Joe Healy said last week’s statement by ABP group that the firm would increase prices “bizarrely contained no specific figure”.

“This is typical of the lack of transparency from meat factories,”  said Mr Healy.

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

“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.

“IFA will continue with our action until we have 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.

“I would call on the other meat processors to break from this practice and announce a further price increase immediately, in line with increases in the market,” he said.

In a statement responding to the blockade, a Tesco Ireland said: “At Tesco, we have 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.”

“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.”

PA

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