The struggling Irish beef sector will be hit hard by McDonald’s decision to shut its restaurants in Ireland, according to reports.
The fast-food giant closed all its UK and Ireland outlets earlier this week – shutting down more than 1,200 locations – in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 19,000 people worldwide.
‘Not a decision we are taking lightly’
Announcing the closure on social media, McDonald’s said: “This is not a decision we are taking lightly, but one made with the well-being and safety of our employees in mind, as well as in the best interest of our customers.
“We will work with local community groups to responsibly distribute food and drink from our restaurants in the coming days.”
Struggling beef industry
The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) President Tim Cullinan described the decision as a ‘big blow’ to the sector in a letter to the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, in which Cullinan urged the European Commission to support the beef market in Europe amid the coronavirus crisis.
“McDonald’s is an important buyer of Irish beef. Its closure is a big blow to the sector. Unfortunately, it is reflective of what is happening across Europe where closures have had an impact on the food service sector,” he wrote.
“The Irish beef price is already well below the cost of production for farmers. They cannot sustain any further cuts.”
According to reports, as the biggest buyer of Irish beef, McDonald’s spends more than €160m annually on Irish beef which is eaten in Ireland and across Europe.