Up to 70 farmers have set up a blockade outside the Aldi distribution centre in Naas, Co Kildare.

The protest is being led by the IFA, with its president Joe Healy insisting that they will continue protesting outside centres across the country until the beef price rises.

"Our message here to Aldi and all the other retailers is that they need to get a very clear message back to their suppliers, the processors, that they need to pass on an immediate price increase to farmers. Irish beef farmers are on the floor," Healy told the Irish Farmers Journal.

"We have seen from the price index, the first one showed a price difference of 17c between Ireland and the EU average where 90% of our beef goes and a 45c/kg difference between Ireland and the UK where half our beef goes into.

Our livelihoods are at stake and we need a price rise

"This is the first of many [protests] until the beef price moves."

His comments were echoed by other farmers at the protest, including IFA Offaly chair Richard Scally.

"We’ll be hitting some other distribution centres maybe in the near future," Scally said.

"Our livelihoods are at stake and we need a price rise at this stage."

While the Beef Plan Movement and independent farmers have been behind more recent protests, this blockade is being spearheaded by the IFA, the largest farm organisation in the country.

There has been criticism from some farmers of the organisation for its blockade of Aldi. Some farmers have expressed the view that the move is a "PR stunt" to draw publicity away from protests held by other groups or farmers.

The IFA intends to remain at the distribution centre in Naas for 12 hours.

Additional reporting by Hannah Quinn-Mulligan.

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