UPDATE: Standoff ends at Kildare Chilling after lorries drive off

Beef farmers are protesting prices for their catttle

Conor McHugh

Reporter:

Conor McHugh

Email:

conor@leinsterleader.ie

Standoff ends at Kildare Chilling after lorries drive off

The scene outside the entrance to Kildare Chilling as one of the lorries drives off

The standoff between farmers and lorries delivering cattle to the Kildare Chilling this morning ended peacefully at approximately 10.30.

The protest by Kildare beef farmers this morning saw seven lorries carrying an estimated 160 cattle being blocked from entering the Kildare Chilling plant.

There were approximately 30 farmers at the entrance to the factory although about 65 had attended the protest the previous night. 

WATCH: Beef farmers escalate protest at Kildare town meat factory this morning as gardai arrive on scene

Farmers started gathering at about 6am and blocked the entrance to lorries. By 8.30am, five lorries were blocking the road outside the factory and gardai were directing traffic around them.

The standoff continued for several hours, with protestors standing in front of one of the lorries which was at the gate.

Gardai spoke with both the farmers and the staff at Kildare Chilling in an attempt to broker an end to the action. 

One proposal to allow the lorries enter in return for closing the  gates of the factory to further lorries was rejected by the farmers.

Eventually, at about 10.30am, the lorries left one by one having spoken to Kildare Chilling staff.

Farmers remained in place to prevent a return later in the day.

The events of Wednesday morning were an escalation of action by farmers who, in previous days have confined their actions to speaking to lorry drivers in an attempt to persuade them from entering, but yesterday they physically prevented them from doing so.

Farmers are protesting at what they say is a 25% reduction in the price being paid for their cattle over the past 12 months.

The national protest was initially coordinated by new organisation, Beef Plan and began on July 30 and continued all week. However, now farmers have continued their own independent protest.

Farmers say that where once they used to perhaps make €10 or €20 a head per animal, they now lose between €150 and €200 per animal. 

The scene this morning as cattle lorries were backed up outside Kildare Chilling

In July of 2018, factories were paying €4.20 per kilogram of beef to farmers, but that has now dropped to €3.50, a drop of 70 cents per kg.

One man said that that was including all costs of production including feed, diesel etc, but no allowance made for the cost of their labour.

"Beef takes up more of my time but gives me least return," said a farmer who has beef, sheep and horses.