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IFA calls for crowds at monster protest

The IFA will take its protest against the combined might of the supermarkets and regulatory authorities to Dublin.

Around 82,000 members of the organisation were notified by text last Friday of a monster protest at the capital's Government buildings tomorrow to highlight what it calls the "failed regulation and flawed legislation that has allowed the powerful multiples to dominate the food supply chain and fleece farmers to bolster their profits".

The move will be seen as a direct response by the IFA to the recent raid on their headquarters in west Dublin by the Competition Authority.

The authority seized files, computers and mobile phones from the Farm Centre on foot of allegations that the IFA had been attempting to fix the price of milk sold in supermarkets.

With a 12 noon kick-off, thousands of farmers are expected to assemble in Merrion Square and march to the Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation on Kildare Street to make their views heard by the Minister Richard Bruton.

IFA president John Bryan said farmers had to take a stand for their right to negotiate a fair price that covers their costs and gives them a margin.

"The recent actions by the Competition Authority are protecting greedy retailers and criminalising farmers. Immediate reform is needed to secure fair play in the food supply chain," he said.

He added that political accountability must be restored and he called on Minister Bruton to prioritise the promised legislation to fix the inequality.

"This legislation was well advanced last year through the work of the facilitator John Travers. The Government made a big play of its Fair Trade proposals during the election and must press ahead with their implementation. Action on this issue is long overdue," added Mr Bryan.

The investigation by the Competition Authority into the milk price-fixing allegations is on-going. None of the equipment or documents taken during the raid on Friday, May 13, have been returned.

The Authority has two weeks from the date of the seizures to return any items not required as evidence in any subsequent court hearing.

Indo Farming