COURTMACSHERRY farmer and IFA representative Harold Kingston has defended his decision to bring an Aberdeen Angus bull weighing one tonne to a city centre protest amid claims it was irresponsible and dangerous.
A group of around 1,000 farmers protested outside a cabinet meeting in City Hall on Wednesday, to highlight the financial losses to the beef sector since Brexit.
Harold, the IFA central chairman, estimated the industry had suffered losses up to €1m due to the fluctuation in sterling since last October.
Farmers, he said, were getting between €200 and €500 less per animal.
Harold, who drove to the protest on his tractor, made the decision to have the bull there as the protest was over the single issue of beef, and he sourced ‘Jake Eric’ from a farmer he knew in Castlemartyr.
Social media comments said it was dangerous and irresponsible.
However, Harold said he knew the show animal personally, and was fully confident he’d be able to deal with the situation.
‘He was the ideal animal, he’s used to crowds and it was perfectly safe. We didn’t have him there when ministers were arriving at the meeting, and he’s now back home in his field,’ insisted Harold.
He said beef farmers were looking for retrospective Brexit payments from the EU, similar to packages that had been given for cheese producers and Danish pork producers.