Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has stated that the price that supermarkets and processors are paying for beef in Ireland is unethical.

He stated:

“The market structure in Ireland is broken. A small number of very large supermarkets and processors exert enormous supplier power over beef prices. That the retailer and processor get the vast majority of the value of the product at retail sale despite the fact that the have a tiny input in the production of the product is plainly wrong.

“This warped business practice means that farmers are being pushed into poverty. According to Teagasc, only a third of farmers are earning a living from their farms currently. The average farm income from rearing cattle in Ireland is €13,000. This is marginally more than a job seeker’s annual dole payment.

“Yet hundreds of millions of euro of profits are being made by a small number of beef processors and supermarkets in Ireland. The government should reform the beef market to ensure a fair distribution of income. Unfortunately, Leo Varadkar and the Fine Gael leadership are a million miles away from the bread and butter concerns of farming families in Ireland.

“We in Aontú are seeking meetings with senior management of the Beef Processors and the Supermarkets to seek to impact upon them that the status quo is not sustainable, that they have an ethical responsibility to treat their suppliers fairly and that if not they must assume that there will be a significant consumer backlash.

“Supermarkets talk about fair trade in far-flung countries yet many of them are squeezing Irish farmers for every last cent.”