Pickets spread as farmers rage over supermarket sheep prices
FARMERS have again picketed supermarkets, claiming that they are "profiteering" on their backs.
Sheep and suckler farmers protested outside Dunnes Stores and other retail outlets in Co Kerry as part of a national campaign to highlight the drop in prices paid by factories for lamb.
Farmers lay the blame at the doors of the retailers.
Kevin O'Sullivan and his wife Breda from Caherdaniel are getting just €4.80/kg for their lamb at the factory, but inside Dunnes Stores in Tralee the same product is €16.89/kg for gigot chops.
"The price we're getting fell from €6.50/kg at Easter down to €4.80/kg now and every year it's the same story and we cannot survive at these prices," he said.
Because of Department of Agriculture regulations, the O'Sullivans are only allowed to stock Scotch and Cheviot breeds which don't command the same premium as other breeds.
IFA Kerry chairman Sean Brosnan, who led the protest, said the retailers had a "corporate responsibility" to ensure their farmer suppliers are paid a viable price.
The protest also targeted Tesco and SuperValu in Tralee following on from last week's protest in Co Galway, with more planned for other areas.
But not everyone was sympathetic to their cause. One woman passing the picket muttered: "If you ask me, you're getting enough."