Angus Woods calls for halt to factory protests

Angus Woods on the farm. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
Angus Woods on the farm. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman, Angus Woods, has called for all protests outside beef processing plants to stop to allow the cattle trade normalise and farmers move stock as they need to.

He said the protests risk damaging the livelihoods of all farmers and need to stop now. Mr. Woods said that significant progress was made in talks over last weekend with Minister Creed and agreed to by all the organisations represented including the factories, the Department, and seven farm organisations - including those representing farmers on blockades of factories.

“The continuing protests outside the meat factories are damaging our industry and increase the likelihood of undermining the cattle trade and the reputation of the Irish beef sector at home and on our vital export markets which could further undermine prices.”

He said the the continuing blockades of meat plants do not represent the wishes of the vast majority of farmers, or the interests of the livestock sector.

"They could hardly be happening at a worse time for cattle farmers. Livestock farmers right across the country need to move cattle - to the factories, the autumn sales or for live export."

He said livestock farmers are also facing down the barrel of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit with serious price implications for our most important export market in the UK which takes over 300,000t of Irish beef exports annually.

“The protests have divided farmer against farmer. We do not need this division and disruption to our trade in the face of the enormous challenges we face.

“The agreement reached over the weekend with all the parties at the talks is progress and a significant step towards greater price transparency and a fairer market for cattle farmers. The focus of all cattle farmers should be on holding the factories, Bord Bia and the Department of Agriculture to account on the commitments they gave in the talks.

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“We need a united front among cattle farmers, and indeed all farmers. The protests have to stop now and the commitments given in the beef talks delivered on by the factories, the Department, Teagasc and Bord Bia,” he said.

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