IFA president Tim Cullinan has said it is time to call retailers out.

“They are using their own brands to drive down the prices they pay to their suppliers. These brands displace well-established ones that return a higher margin to farmers,” he said.

“Aldi and Lidl go a step further, with their policy of inventing fake farms, dairies, creameries and bakeries. This is disgraceful. The reason nobody knows where ‘Connell Farm’ is located, or ‘Healy’s Farm Eggs’ or ‘Egan’s’ is because they don’t exist. They are a marketing creation designed to undermine traditional brands.

“No more than ‘Coolree Creamery’ or ‘Clonbawn Irish Dairy’, they are a cynical marketing device designed to convince the consumer that they are supporting a local-sounding supplier,” Cullinan said. “This has to stop. These products come from our farms, not the phantom farms created by Lidl and Aldi. The established brands are trusted and cannot be sidelined. The commitment we have secured from the Government will see a Food Ombudsman/Regulator established this year.

“The minister must ensure that this has real teeth. It must deliver full transparency on labelling and pricing. The trading arrangements between retailers and suppliers have to be rebalanced. And it must show who is getting what from the food chain. As farmers, we have to get a better return. Our food is produced by real farm families who are working around the clock and to the highest standards,” he concluded.

Hands off Irish allocation of Brexit fund, warns IFA president

IFA president Tim Cullinan said he was very concerned about reports that some larger member states are laying claim to a greater share of the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, which would impact Ireland’s share.

“The Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney confirmed that Ireland was to receive just over €1bn from the initial allocation when he spoke at our North Tipperary AGM in January. This allocation reflects the exposure of this country, and in particular our agri-food sector, to the fallout from Brexit,” he said.

“Ever since the vote in 2016, it has been acknowledged that Ireland would take the biggest hit from the UK decision to leave the EU. Therefore, it follows that we should be in line for the largest amount from the Brexit compensation fund,” he said.

Tim Cullinan said our Government and full-time representatives in Brussels have to take a stand and ward off any attempt to deny our sector much-needed funding.

He said the IFA’s work on securing a significant portion of Ireland’s allocation has been based on the amount announced in January, and would be proceeding on that basis.

“The solidarity that existed for Ireland during the tortuous talks that brought an agreement on trade in December has to remain in place,” he said.

Elaine Farrell to take up national council role

The IFA has announced the appointment of Elaine Farrell as the secretary of the national council, the governing body of the association. She takes up the role from Bryan Barry, who is retiring after 34 years’ service with IFA.

Elaine Farrell, a native of Castletownroche, Co Cork, with over 25 years’ service with IFA, currently oversees IFA’s engagement with the Oireachtas, the retail sector and co-ordinating our Brexit activities.

President of the IFA Tim Cullinan said the National Council had approved the appointment on Friday.

“Elaine will bring vast experience and energy to the role, which is an important part of the governance structure of IFA,” he said.

The director general of IFA, Damian McDonald, welcomed Elaine to the new role.