Hundreds of beef farmers protest in Ballinasloe
Hundreds of beef farmers have protested against “corporate greed and factories hanging them out to dry” at a beef meeting where Minister for Agriculture and major industry professionals are speaking this evening.
Members of the Beef Plan Movement marched their way from the centre of Ballinasloe to the Shearwater Hotel where the Irish Farmer’s Journal Beef Summit is being held this evening.
Chief organiser of the Beef Plan Movement Eamon Corley told FarmIreland that the Minister for Agriculture needs to take responsibility for poor profit margins in the beef sector and to ensure that every beef farmer gets at least the cost of production plus a margin.
“Somebody has to take responsibility for the farmer. The farmer should get production costs covered. Factories are hanging us to dry, anti competitive practices are putting the farmer last,” said the Meath beef farmer.
As the protesters made there way through Ballinasloe they carried a coffin on a horse and cart which said “Rural Ireland” on one side and “Beef Farmer” on the other side, which Mr Corley said is to represent the fact that “when the beef farmer dies so will rural Ireland”.
Ger Dineen, who is in the top 10pc of beef farmers in Ireland, travelled from Kilnamartyra in Cork to protest against what he calls “the slavery that is beef farming”.
“Most people would be better off if they leased off their farms and went working. Factories are trying to drive us off our farms by not paying us a proper wage.”
Meanwhile, Arthur Kennedy a beef farmer in Ballon, Co Carlow sees no future as a farmer if the scandalous returns for their product continue.
"The Government need to wake up and see what is happening. What is happening is scandalous, we are broke. We’re trying to pay off bills but we’re being screwed left, right and centre by the factories.
“The four movement rule is a major issue and there’s feedlots owned by the factories that we can’t compete with. Nobody realises the crisis that is there at the moment," he said.