The decision by fast food outlet McDonald's to close all its Irish restaurants will have a massive impact on an already struggling beef sector. 

McDonald's is the biggest buyer of Irish beef, spending more than €160m on Irish beef for consumption here and at restaurants all over Europe. 

Two in ten burgers sold in its outlets in Europe are made from Irish beef. McDonald's scale as a buyer of Irish beef is huge, purchasing around 40,000 tonnes of beef every year. 

Fast food outlets are big buyers of beef, Supermacs spends an estimated €40m every year on Irish food produce, €9m of that on chicken alone. 

The Irish Farmers Association has described the announcement as a "big blow", but said it was "understandable".

The IFA has said that the European Commission must "stand ready to support the EU beef market" as the impact of Covid-19 is felt across member states. 

The meat trade generally has been impacted badly by the spread of the virus. Of beef exported from Ireland, 30% is for use in the food service, like bars, restaurants and takeaways and that trade has all but "collapsed" according to industry insiders. 

A peak in demand on the retail front has helped the industry, but, it is not enough to make up the loss suppliers have felt from the food service side of their business. 

Up to now, high-end cuts likes steaks had seen a huge drop off in sales, this decision from McDonald's means that lesser value cuts will now also be hit.

Meanwhile, gardaí have asked management at McDonald's restaurant in Maynooth to close it is doors due to long traffic queue outside.

Traffic has been mounting outside this restaurant ahead of McDonalds' nationwide closure.

There are similar scenes at other McDonald’s restaurants throughout the country.  


Read: 
More coronavirus stories 


There are now 906 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the state, with four deaths. 

Around 80% of cases of Covid-19 will be a mild to moderate illness, close to 14% have severe disease and around 6% are critical. 

Generally, you need to be 15 minutes or more in the vicinity of an infected person, within 1-2 metres, to be considered at-risk or a close contact.

But there are higher risk settings, where transmission is possible in a shorter time interval, where health staff are dealing directly with known or suspected cases in particular settings and may need personal protective equipment.