15 June 1998
Farmers blockade Fishguard in EU summit protest
By FWi staff
ABOUT 150 angry farmers converged on the Welsh port of Fishguard last night to stop Irish lorries from entering the port.
Nearly two dozen lorries were stranded inside the port as the farmers vented their anger at the two-year old global export ban on British beef and beef imports from Ireland.
The port blockade was timed to coincide with the two-day summit of European Union ministers meeting in Cardiff. The talks mark the end of Britains six-month EU presidency, which finishes on 31 June.
Farmers used tractors, four-wheel drives and other machinery to block a roundabout and a main road leading to the ferry terminal. There are reportedly 21 lorries stuck at the port.
Brian Thomas, spokesman for the farmers, said they would maintain the blockade until 5pm tomorrow (Tuesday) – when the summit ends – to press EU leaders for an immediate lifting of the export ban.
He said the European Commission had given the all clear for Britain to resume beef exports and it was now up to EU ministers to recognise this and lift the ban.
“We want the ban lifted with no strings attached. We cant wait until the German elections. We want a blanket lifting now,” he said.