After 24 hours of uninterrupted demonstrations outside a Lidl supermarket in Cavan town, the Cavan branch of the IFA has wound down its protests over cheap poultry sales.

The IFA has announced that it will meet with representatives from Lidl’s senior management on Tuesday to discuss the challenges facing the poultry sector.

“Some retailers have recognised the very severe income difficulties at the moment and they have increased the price of chicken on the shelf. Yet Lidl pulled the price,” IFA president Tim Cullinan said.

Consumers have been absolutely shocked

The chair of Cavan IFA Elizabeth Ormiston has said that consumers have engaged with the IFA’s demonstrators over Tuesday and Wednesday, offering their support for poultry farmers and providing refreshments to those demonstrating.

“Consumers have been absolutely shocked with the margins poultry farmers have been making. They have said that they had no problem paying 15c more per chicken and 2c extra an egg,” she stated.

“Lots of people have been asking where they can to shop, which shops support farmers,” Ormiston added.

‘Unsustainable’ €3.49 chickens

Poultry farmer secretary of Cavan IFA Thomas Fitzsimons stated that he had joined the demonstration to inform consumers that such low prices as €3.49 per chicken were unsustainable and would eventually push Irish farmers out of the market.

We cannot go on like this

“Our costs have gone up by about 40% in recent times. Energy costs are gone up, restocking costs have gone up and feed is up. We cannot go on like this,” he said.

“The price of food has not reflected this, it has stagnated – in fact, the price of eggs and chicken has decreased in Ireland.

“What other goods have gone down in price over the past two decades?” Fitzsimons asked.

Food ombudsman

Ormiston told the Irish Farmers Journal that she believed a well-equipped food ombudsman would help the poultry industry.

“We are still waiting on an ombudsman. We want one with teeth, rather than a simple box-ticking by the Government,” she said.

The Cavan IFA chair finished by saying that a continuation of supermarket price-cutting on poultry products would be the “death knell” for Irish producers and the traceability of poultry products.