Farmers protest in Limerick and Carrigaline

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

Chairman of Limerick/Clare Liquid Milk Producers, Michael O'Connor with Sean Curtin and Joe Boyce represented their members at three supermarkets in Limerick city as part of a national protest. Picture: Adrian Butler
FOLLOWING Tuesday’s protest by liquid milk producers at three supermarkets, Limerick IFA are organising buses to Carrigaline on Saturday to highlight their concerns over the CAP reform deal.

FOLLOWING Tuesday’s protest by liquid milk producers at three supermarkets, Limerick IFA are organising buses to Carrigaline on Saturday to highlight their concerns over the CAP reform deal.

Chairman of Limerick/Clare Liquid Milk Producers, Michael O’Connor with Sean Curtin and Joe Boyce represented their members at Tesco, Dunnes Stores and Superquinn as part of a national protest.

They held up banners saying “We’re going broke supplying milk”. They spoke to managers and handed in a letter.

“If we have learned anything in recent weeks, it is that producing quality food is costly. Food processors and retailers neglect the sustainability of the food chain at their peril and when they do, the consumers’ interests are trampled on.

We, the specialised milk producers who supply the consumer market with high quality fresh milk year-round are currently producing milk below cost. We are paid around 33c/l on average across the year, but our average break-even point is 7c/l above that at 40c/l,” read the letter.

“Break even covers our basic costs of around 35c/l and a small own-labour remuneration of 5c/l – which would pay only a very modest €12,500 per annum. Not only are we not covering our basic costs, we are producing at a loss which over a year amounts to an average of €17,500.”

They say the situation is totally unsustainable, and will over a short period of time put the availability for consumers of fresh, local, high quality supplies of milk under threat.

To remunerate liquid milk producers fairly, the equivalent of an additional 8 per cent of the 88c/l average retail price needs to be passed back to farmers – who incur highest costs in the supply chain.

“This requires tougher negotiations by dairies, and for retailers to take more seriously their real responsibility for the sustainability of their supply source. This need not cost the hard pressed consumer. It does however require retailers to engage with dairies to redistribute a fraction of the very generous margins they enjoy on liquid milk,” say the liquid milk producers group, who ask the public to seek out NDC marked private label or branded milk.

Meanwhile, Limerick IFA are joining Saturday’s protest outside the constituency office of Minister Simon Coveney to highlight their concerns over the CAP reform deal and the impact it will have on productive farming.

New Limerick IFA chairman Aidan Gleeson is urging all local farmers to attend. There are buses travelling from Limerick to Carrigaline.

For Saturday’s bus times contact the IFA on 061 314196 or 087 2389467 / 087 2344786.