In a letter seen by the Irish Farmers Journal, former Kerry chair James Doyle has said he is going back to arbitration with Kerry Group over the leading milk price issue.

Having given time to the co-op board and Kerry Group to renegotiate following the last arbitration outcome, he says little progress has been made.

In the letter, he says: “I, on behalf of the 2,700 Kerry milk suppliers that signed the original arbitration forms, have decided once again to go back to arbitration to finally conclude matters.

“My decision was not taken lightly and was taken after considerable time was given to Kerry Group plc and Kerry Co-Op to finalise and pay out what is owed to milk suppliers.

“It has been 19 months since the arbitrator found in favour of Kerry Milk suppliers in September 2019, where he concluded that the four West Cork co-ops should be included in the associated milk price comparision and calculations.

“The arbitrator outlined in September 2019 for both sides to try and reach an agreement on the money owed to Kerry milk suppliers, if this was not possible, either side could return to arbitration.”

In the letter he goes on to say that now that the arbitrator’s binding decision makes it clear that the four West Cork co-ops must be included in any such milk price comparison. In the letter, Doyle claims that, when detailed and careful calculations are done, it shows that Kerry Group plc owes 8c/l to its milk suppliers for the years 2015 up to and including 2020 to match the leading milk price paid by the West Cork co-ops on a like-for-like basis.

James Doyle is the former chair of Kerry Co-op, is a Kerry milk supplier and was the lead person that took the arbitration case on behalf of Kerry suppliers against Kerry Group plc.

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