500 extra permits for meat factory workers
The previous quota for meat operatives was set to soon be exhausted.

An additional 500 work permits for non-EEA citizens have been granted by the Department of Business for meat-processing operatives.

A pilot scheme announced by the Department in May this year allowed for 500 horticulture work permits, 250 meat-processing permits and 50 dairy worker permits.

However, there was a surge in demand for meat-processing permits, as factories had made 315 labour permit applications by 4 June.

It is critical that there are adequate numbers of trained staff

“The extension of the pilot scheme for meat-processing operatives will ensure that the sectors immediate labour difficulties are addressed and the potential that a lack of available labour could constrict growth is minimised,” Minister for Business Heather Humphreys said.

“With the opening up of new markets, such as to China, it is critical that there are adequate numbers of trained staff to meet the demands of this highly lucrative market for Irish meat exports.

“In the longer-term, sectors experiencing labour shortages need to take action to attract and retain labour supply from within Ireland and across Europe, and to invest in innovative technologies for the sector.”

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Suppliers don’t want ‘Glanbia’s charity’ – ICMSA
The ICMSA has spoken out strongly against the 2c/l cut and subsequent top-up Glanbia applied to its November milk price.

The ICMSA has heavily criticised Glanbia’s decision to cut its base milk price by 2c/l to 28.46c/l excluding VAT for non-members.

Chair of the ICMSA’s dairy committee Gerald Quain said that suppliers would be angry and confused by the milk processor’s decision.

They don’t want to be recipients of Glanbia’s charity

He acknowledged that markets had not been as strong recently but insisted that they had been gaining momentum, particularly in the powder area.

“Global milk production has only grown by 1.4% in 2018 to the end of October, with a similar figure for the EU,” Quain said.

“Put that very modest growth in supply against the increased volumes and prices of skimmed milk powder that has left Intervention in the last month – over 60,000 tonnes in the last tender – and any reasonable analysis points to a positive market.”

Top-up

Not only did he insist that the cut to Glanbia’s base price was unjustified but he also called the 2c/l top-up to Glanbia members an attempt to fool suppliers.

“I have no idea why Glanbia indulges in this practice of cutting base price and then returning it as ‘top-ups’, as if it was somehow ‘out of the goodness of their hearts,” Quain said.

“They [suppliers] don’t want to be recipients of Glanbia’s charity or to be paid ‘top-ups’ with their own money out of the co-op.”

He added that farmers were now receiving less than the Ornua PPI, which he called embarrassing.

Loyalty payments

Quain continued that with the amount of skimmed milk sold out of intervention recently, the dairy market for 2019 was looking increasingly positive.

Loyalty or hardship top-up payments were common among a number of dairy processors over the last year during trying weather conditions.

Adding it back as a discretionary payment doesn’t fool anyone

However, Quain was emphatic that the ICMSA was not willing to accept a loyalty or hardship top-up payment model.

“If Glanbia wants to pay a bonus or discretionary payment then they should pay it on top of the minimum market price and that is the Ornua PPI. Cutting the base and then adding it back as a discretionary payment doesn’t fool anyone – certainly not their suppliers”, Quain concluded.

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Weather warning upgraded for storm Deirdre
Met Éireann has warned of "squally and damaging gusts" of wind and heavy rainfall this Saturday.

Previous weather warnings have been upgraded to status orange for southern and north-western coasts as storm Deirdre crosses the country during the day.

From 3pm until the end of the day, winds will reach mean speeds of 65km/h with gusts of 110km/h generally, and up to 120km/h in southern coastsal counties and in Co Donegal.

In the rest of the country, west to northwest winds are set to increase later in the afternoon and evening, with top gusts of 110km/h forecast, leading to a status yellow warning.

Rain warning

Rainfall is also forecast to reach 30mm to 50mm this Saturday, with more in mountainous areas.

In Northern Ireland, the Met Office has issued a status yellow wind and rain warning for counties Down and Armagh, and the eastern parts of counties Derry, Tyrone and Antrim from 6am to 6pm. Wind gusts of 50mph to 60mph are expected, with 30mm to 50mm of rainfall in six to 12 hours.

Several thousand customers were without electricity on Saturday evening, according to ESB Networks, most of them in counties Cork and Waterford.

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Letter: a weather survey request

The farmer's daily wrap: M&S protest and weather warning
Catch up with all the headlines from the day and get a look ahead at tomorrow's weather.

Weather forecast

Wet and windy conditions are forecast by Met Éireann for Saturday with the risk of severe and potentially damaging gusts during the evening.

The rain will be heavy and persistent at times, with localised surface flooding possible.

Maximum afternoon temperatures will range 7°C to 11°C degrees generally.

Strong to gale force southeasterly winds will veer west to northwest during the course of the afternoon and evening.

In the news

  • Farmers from the IFA held a protest outside Marks & Spencer in Liffey Valley on Friday over reductions on the shelf price of some vegetables and potatoes to as low as 20c/kg.
  • Met Éireann has issued yellow weather warnings for the whole country that will be in place for all 24 hours of Saturday.
  • The PSNI is seeking information to help in the recovery of 20 cattle that have been reported stolen from Armagh.
  • Co-ops have suggested a weakening of dairy markets is reflected in lower milk prices, but IFA dairy chair Tom Phelan said the signs are there to hold the price.
  • Co Down-based agri supplier and contractor Joseph Walls spread lime for a customer near Castletown, Co Meath, earlier this week.