[Sinn Fein]

30th September 2002

Ferris slams meat factory price cuts

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Agriculture Martin Ferris TD has questioned the manner in which the meat factories determine the price being paid to beef farmers. Deputy Ferris was commenting as farmers continued their protest at selected AIBP and Dawn Meat plants this morning.

Deputy Ferris said:

``It is disgraceful that the cartel which controls the meat factories can fix prices in such an arbitary fashion.  Given that the Russian market has been reopened to Irish beef and that prices have risen in the other EU states, there would appear to be little justification for the price cuts imposed on farmers since July.

``Farmers have already experienced severe falls in income this year due to the weather and this co-ordinated price cut is adding to their difficulties. Consumers have also been the victims of this approach as they have faced the biggest price increases of any EU state up to July 2002.''

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