Up to 30 farmers started the second day of IFA protests outside the Lidl distribution centre in Charleville, Co Cork.

Lorries were refused entry to the centre from 7am, with the protest expected to last 12 hours. IFA president Joe Healy committed to continue the protests next week if prices were not increased.

“We’re here as part of the ongoing campaign to get beef prices risen for farmers and this will go on until the beef prices rise because we examined the markets at the beginning of the summer and the markets told us at the time that the countries we’re going into the prices there were more or less on a par with them,” Healy said.

“We would be urging the retailers to put that pressure back on the factories.”

Three lorries were prevented entry at one point of the morning, with several others driving past once they realised a blockade was under way.

The gardaí also arrived on the scene but quickly left after a brief conversation with the protesters.

Farmers at the protest were clear in their demand for a higher beef price.

Sheena McCarthy, a suckler and beef farmer from Buttevant in Co Cork, pointed out that it had been a tough year for farmers and that confidence in the market had been shaken.

“Basically the price of cattle ... the differential of 50c/kg between Northern Ireland and southern Ireland is totally unacceptable,” she said.

“It’s not fair, prices are low enough on beef farms we need an increase and that would ripple down to a person like myself.”

Mixed response

There has been a mixed response from farmers to the protest, with some criticising the IFAs actions.

The Beef Plan Movement issued a release yesterday which called the IFA protest “regrettable” in light of the fact that the IFA were protesting outside Aldi on Thursday, a retailer that had actively engaged with farmers.

However, IFA president Joe Healy brushed aside the remarks when he was asked for his thoughts on the comments.

“I was in contact with the Beef Plan chairman and he said that that wasn’t their official policy,” Healy said.

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