An IFA delegation led by County Wexford Chairman Pat Murray met with the senior management of Slaney Foods, Linden Foods and Irish Country Meats in Bunclody to discuss the real fears and concerns of farmers regarding the changes associated with the sale of the Allen family 50% share of the business to ABP.
At the meeting, IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns raised the fears and concerns of farmers around competition and dominance in beef and sheep processing as well as rendering in the proposed Slaney/ABP deal. He said cattle and sheep farmers have serious concerns on competition and the concentration of the kill with the proposed investment. In addition, IFA raised issues on Hereford and Angus cattle, Producer Groups and markets as well as Linden Foods involvement in the businesses into the future.
The senior management from Slaney, Linden and ICM informed the meeting that the proposal is that ABP will take a 50% share in all of the Slaney Foods and ICM businesses as well as the Slaney rendering business in Ireland. The management reassured the meeting that under the new joint venture structure it will be business as usual and both Slaney and ICM will continue to be run by the existing management with a full commitment to their farmer suppliers. It was also confirmed that Linden Foods, which is 90% owned by the Fane Valley farmers Co-Op in Northern Ireland, will continue their active role in the business.
Henry Burns said when the investment proceeds, it will be subject to clearance by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, and the IFA has already being in contact with the Commission to ensure that a full investigation will be undertaken and the necessary guarantees and undertakings provided to farmers around competition and market concentration as well as on the rendering business.
The IFA delegation included the IFA National Sheep Chairman John Lynskey, the Chairman of Wicklow IFA Tom Short as well as county officers from Wexford and Wicklow IFA.