The IFA has criticised Irish Country Meats (ICM) after they said their sheep committee had observed the delivery of 1,100 lamb carcasses and 23t of sheep meat that left Great Britain on Sunday 25 April and arrived on Monday 26 April.

“Farmers are outraged that factories, in the same week as they attempt to pull the price of lambs and hoggets, would use imported lamb to fill orders,” IFA National Sheep chairman Sean Dennehy said.

“There is enormous farmer anger at using imports to fill contracts, while cutting the prices they are offering farmers here.”

He said the IFA has requested an urgent meeting with ICM especially in regard to strong sheep trade buoyed by Ramadan.

The IFA said that attempts to undermine the sheep price by importing lamb would not be tolerated by farmers.

The imported lamb prices in France’s Rungis market rose to €8.90/kg in the latest weekly report, clearly showing the strength of demand for lamb and the prices available in the market place, the IFA said.

A statement from ICM, said that they worked closely with direct farm suppliers and producer groups to market lamb across the world.

"Irish Country Meats has built a strong export retail customer base servicing over 25 markets, that sits alongside our developed domestic market business. To support a consistent 52 week supply for our customers, the company’s lead boning hall in Camolin, Co Wexford, sources carcase lambs from other locations in ROI/NI & UK," they said.

"The development of a complimentary European export retail business has helped to remove the historical exposure to a volatile export carcase trade & has demonstrated a sustained & improved return to Irish farmers."