The IFA called off protests outside two Dunnes Stores supermarkets in counties Cork and Monaghan on Tuesday, after the retailer agreed to the IFA’s request for talks on Tuesday.

The talks resulted from over 24 hours of IFA protests from early Monday morning after Dunnes Stores allegedly failed to respond to the IFA’s request for a meeting to discuss income challenges facing farmers.

Discussing the income crises facing pig, poultry and horticulture farmers were the IFA’s priorities for the talks, as was the effect that the low-cost selling of food has on farm incomes.

“We’re at the point where we need to negotiate proposals to ensure the survival of producers,” IFA pig committee chair Roy Gallie told the Irish Farmers Journal before the retailer had agreed to talks.

The IFA said that proposals were put to Dunnes Stores during the “straight talking, but constructive engagement” and that the retailer would shortly issue a detailed response to the IFA’s requests.

The IFA has reported that the consumer response to the protests has been of sympathy with the farmers

The urgency needed in addressing these concerns was emphasised to Dunnes Stores over the course of the talks, the IFA said.

IFA poultry committee chair Nigel Sweetnam had stated that the IFA was prepared to “escalate protests” should the retailer continue to refuse meeting with the IFA on the low-cost selling of food.

The IFA has reported that the consumer response to the protests has been of sympathy with the farmers.

Farmer views

“We’re here essentially to raise awareness of what farmers will have to face in consistently poor prices on the shelf,” poultry farmer Warren McConnell from Carrigaline, Co Cork, said at the protest.

“I am new to the poultry industry and I’m finding it hard to compete with the ongoing rising costs in the sector,” stated new entrant into the poultry sector and broiler grower Gillian Harte from Co Monaghan.

Dunnes Stores was contacted for comment.