His father and his grandfather before him raised cattle on the land – part of a beef-rearing tradition that stretches back generations. It means much more to men like Liam than euros, cents and EU subsidies. It is a way of life, now under threat. McDonald’s continues to make huge profits from selling Irish-sourced beef, and one in five of the burgers sold in the EU comes from this country. The supermarket chains that now dominate the beef market are also highly profitable. The meat processors are among the ranks of the super-wealthy. According to the Sunday Independent rich list for 2019, the biggest player, Larry Goodman and his family, has accumulated a fortune estimated at €850m – up nearly 4pc since 2018, although this may also reflect non-meat related business interests. But it’s no bull market for beef farmers – and they are sizzling with rage. They feel that they are not getting a proper slice of the beef profits for their labour. The processors, for their part, argue that the prices paid to farmers are “reflective of the market”, which is affected by the uncertainties over Brexit. They claim that processing beef is a low-margin, high-turnover business. ‘Continuity… Read full this story
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