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Farmers plan 48-hour blockade of meat plants

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IFA President Eddie Downey with beef farmers at the IFA protest in Dublin in March

IFA President Eddie Downey with beef farmers at the IFA protest in Dublin in March

IFA President Eddie Downey with beef farmers at the IFA protest in Dublin in March

IRISH beef farmers will blockade meat factories nationwide for the second time in two weeks tomorrow, as the dispute over beef prices continues.

As a lengthy meeting between the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA), Meat Industry Ireland and the Department of Agriculture in Citywest, Dublin, continued last night, it appeared unlikely a resolution would be found to prevent the picket going ahead.

The picket is expected to get under way tomorrow at 3pm and continue until Tuesday, in an unprecedented 48-hour demonstration by farmers.

It follows action earlier this month where more than 6,000 farmers blockaded the country's meat processing plants nationwide.

Farmers had previously not disrupted production lines for more than 15 years. Before yesterday's meeting, IFA president Eddie Downey said that further action would be taken unless farmers saw significant price increases from factories.

Mr Downey said farmers were angry because of price differences between the amount factories are paying for cattle in Ireland and the UK.

However, one factory operator said that farmers are getting a fair market price and that comparisons with the UK market were not fair. He said some of the channels for beef to the UK, which is a key market, have "been limited".

The IFA said farmers are being paid €3.74 per kg - €1 less than farmers in the UK.

A significant drop in EU beef consumption has led to a 10pc-12pc decrease in prices but Irish beef production is up by 15pc.

Meat Industry Ireland has said that this is unsustainable.

Irish Independent