Irish pig producers have protested at the Department of Agriculture in Dublin to demand an immediate reopening of the country’s processing plants.

Tim Cullinan, chairman of the Irish Farmers Association National Pigs Committee said the halt in processing had put pig producer’s livelihoods at risk.

“Pig producers whose herds are clear of any contamination have been unable to move their perfectly healthy animals to processors,” he said at the protest on Wednesday (10 December).

“They are losing sales of €1m per day, which is putting their livelihoods in jeopardy.”

Mr Cullinan said that there was “extreme frustration” among pig producers at the delay in re-opening the country’s major processing plants.

“Pig producers were suffering severe losses every day while supermarket shelf space was being lost to imports.

“Every day the industry is closed down, more pig producers are at risk of going out of business, as their financial pressures intensify,” he said.

Mr Cullinan said there was a looming welfare and logistics problem also developing on Irish pig farms.