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Farmers hold 12-hour blockade of Aldi distribution centre over beef prices

Additional reporting by Vivienne Clarke

One of the country’s largest retail distribution centres is being blockaded by farmers in a protest over beef prices.

The Irish Farmers’ Association has begun a 12 hour protest outside the Aldi nationwide warehouse in Naas, blocking access to delivery trucks.

At 7am this morning scores of farmers set up a blockade of the Aldi distribution centre in Naas.

It distributes products to stores all over the country, but this morning trucks are being prevented from entering or leaving the site by protestors and tractors blocking the entrance.

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) is mounting the blockade for 12 hours claiming retailers need to address the poor price farmers are paid for their cattle.

They are demanding an immediate beef price increase.

The president of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), Joe Healy, is calling on the meat industry to increase the amount paid to beef farmers.

“This is the first of many protests,” he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

The gap between what Irish farmers are paid per kilo and what their UK and European counterparts are paid is widening said Mr Healy.

In recent weeks the beef price index indicated an increase of a difference from 17c to 20c per kilo with European farmers and an increase of 45c to 50c with UK farmers, he added.

Some of our members see neighbouring Northern Ireland beef farmers getting close to 50c a kilo more.

He called on Meat Industry Ireland to pass on a price increase to farmers.

The Beef Task Force meeting held earlier in the week had left farmers feeling insulted.

“There was no Minister there, no retailer. Meat Industry Ireland came in with nothing to offer. The best we could get from them was that they would consult with their members.”

Mr Healy said there needs to be an immediate increase in the amount paid to farmers.

Talk about green shoots in the industry were of no benefit to farmers, he said.

Also on Morning Ireland a truck driver attempting to make a delivery to the distribution centre clashed with protesting farmers saying “I’m not robbing your money, I’ve a day’s work to do. Have you no cattle to mind?”

The driver said he knew the farmers were struggling, but that everyone was struggling.

“You’re stopping us get paid.”

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