Kepak blockade lifted but further protests planned




Members of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) lifted their blockade of the Kepak factory in Athleague in protest over low lamb prices on Monday evening following talks with management at the factory. The protest began on Sunday afternoon and had continued into Monday.

  While no agreement on lamb price increases was reached, a second meeting with Kepak management is expected to take place in Co. Meath today (Thursday).

  The ICSA, which was supported by members of the Beef Plan Movement in Athleague during the block of the Kepak site, has threatened to stage further protests if no progress is made during talks.

  Meanwhile, the Beef Plan Movement itself has called on farmers to march on Dáil Éireann in protest over “the latest EU attack on our family farming model”.

  In a statement released to the Roscommon People, the movement said it planned to protest at Government buildings next Wednesday.

  Part of the statement read: ‘The last year has seen unprecedented levels of loss making across beef farms in Ireland. This loss making has subsequently continued into 2019 with the continued decline in beef and lamb prices across the summer months. This continued decline is unsustainable for both beef and lamb industries to be in. However, at the retailer level, these lower prices have not been reflected in households across Ireland and Europe.

  ‘A recent survey carried out has shown that meat prices are 5% more expensive then anywhere in Europe. The level of wealth within the beef industry is being creamed by a chosen few. Primary producers are operating unviable and unsustainable farm business models. In 2018 average cattle rearing farm of €8,300 is unsustainable, with the result of these falling farm gate prices.

  ‘Farmers and all rural businesses need to speak with one voice on July 10th at 12 noon outside Dáil Éireann to bring the message home to the government and to Commissioner (Phil) Hogan. 

  ‘We also call on the cattle breed society/sheep breed society to join with us on this day to stand in unison with us and support our call. Without a vibrant rural Ireland and sustainable farming sectors, the economic consequences will be far more widespread for the country.

  ‘The Irish government has forgotten which sectors were to the fore with global exports, which helped pull the economy back from brink after the boom collapsed. The agri-industry in Ireland is what helped to stem the tide of doom and provide continued employment to help this country regain its economic exchequer. We won’t stop until our voice is heard; this is a fight for all of Ireland. We need your support on Wednesday, July 10th outside Dáil Éireann.’