IFA demand action on processors deal
Protest highlights 'lack of competition' in beef sector as ABP moves for 50pc stake in Slaney Foods
Farmers are calling on Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to step in to tackle competition issues in the beef sector as concerns mount over a move by Larry Goodman's ABP to take a 50pc stake in Slaney Foods.
Farmers from all over the country gathered outside Slaney Meats in Bunclody, Co Wexford last Sunday for an IFA protest that called for measures to address concerns over the consolidation in the sector and to tackle the "unacceptable" price gap between Irish and British cattle.
The protest came amid reports that weight and age limits are being imposed by some factories ahead of an expected 50,000 to 80,000 extra supply of cattle for meat processors later this year.
Henry Burns, the IFA livestock chairman, stated there is a "lack of competition" on the island.
Mr Burns raised concerns over changes in the meat sector that would see ABP move from processing 22pc of the beef kill to 28pc.
"We feel there is not enough competition in Ireland and the issue on EU labelling has not been resolved, which impedes live exports to the UK," said Mr Burns.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has yet to be notified of the proposed ABP and Slaney Meats deal. The IFA had called on Mr Coveney to make a submission to the competition watchdog on the merger.
"The minister is aware this issue is causing major concern to farmers and producers of meat.