THE European Union has been asked to investigate if price fixing is behind Irish farmers getting much less for their beef than their British counterparts.
Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly said the price gap between Irish and British beef had soared to €252 per animal. There had been a difference in market prices for a few years, but this had reached its highest level in 12 years.
Mr Kelly said he had written to the European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia to express his concern.
The €252 price difference was on the average steer price.
However, the meat industry rejected the claim, saying Irish beef prices paid to farmers were up 15pc this year, although prices to consumers had risen much less.