Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association (ICSA) sheep chair Sean McNamara has criticised news that 1,100 lamb carcases were imported by a meat factory from the UK and called for the establishment of a dedicated sheep taskforce.

He said that this would tackle the lack of transparency in the industry and believes that sheep carcases were imported to depress the current buoyant sheep trade.

“This incident highlights once again that primary producers are the weakest link in the chain.

“Sheep farmers are completely at the mercy of these underhanded tactics, which are designed to have an immediate impact on prices paid,” he said.

“[The] ICSA is demanding answers around why this product is coming in and which markets they are serving.

“We are also questioning why factories are not giving local suppliers the opportunity to fill these orders if they genuinely believe there is a ‘need’ to import live lambs and carcases on an ongoing basis.”