Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Friday 24 November 2017

Farmers say they're owed over €1m from meat plant

Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

A group of Donegal farmers claim they are owed over €1m from a meat factory in Lifford.

More than 100 farmers who supply Edenmore Farm Meats Ltd have held a series of protests outside the factory after they claimed attempts to negotiate with the company failed.

Last week, the farmers informed Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed of the escalating situation and have requested him and the Department to intervene.

However, in a statement to the Farming Independent, ­Richard Burke, managing director of Edenmore Farm Meats, said that the company is committed to paying all farmers involved.

"We are in regular contact with farmers and the farmers committee, and made it very clear that we intend to get all farmers paid as soon as normal operations resume," said Mr Burke.

"Edenmore Farm Meats Ltd is firmly committed to the farming community in Donegal and is working tirelessly to get normal operations resumed as quickly as possible and farmers paid," he added.

Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture
Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture

Last November, a High Court judge expressed concern about the future of the Donegal meat plant following a dispute involving the premises' owners and a bank-appointed receiver.

The plant is currently not operating due to the on-going row.

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Local farmer John McDaid said the affected farmers are "caught in the middle".

Anger

"This has been going on for months now. There is a lot of anger and stress out there because they won't pay us.

"There are farmers as far away as Mayo that are owed significant amounts of money.

"Some are owed a €1,000, others are owed up to €150,000," he said.

"We've staged protests and the issue is having a serious impact. We've our own bills to pay and if we're not able to meet our commitments, then we're in serious trouble," said Mr McDaid.

Local farmers say they are determined to ramp up efforts to highlight the problem.

They will hold a meeting tonight in Ballindrait, outside Lifford, to plan their next move.

"We'll have a meeting tonight with farmers to set out a proposal and what we are going to do," he said.

Mr McDaid is calling for all parties involved to sort out the issues, and to consider the devastating impact it is having on the farming community.

"Farming at the moment is a matter of just trying to survive, but if you don't get paid at all, what are we supposed to do?" asked the beef farmer.

Indo Farming