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Meat processing industry says operations at 12 plants brought to a halt by blockades

The owners of a number of plants have secured injunctions to stop protesters blockading their factories.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE ASSOCIATION WHICH represents the meat processing sector has said operations have been brought to a halt at 12 plants by blockades.

Farmers have been protesting a decrease in the amount they receive for beef, claiming their livelihoods will be at risk if processors do not pay higher prices.

The owners of a number of these plants have this week secured temporary High Court injunctions restraining the protesters from blockading their factories. Yesterday, counsel for the owner of three plants, Liffey Meats, claimed staff and suppliers had been intimidated and said jobs at the firm had been put at risk.

Talks between Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and the Beef Plan Movement – which has organised the blockades – failed to bring about an agreed resolution earlier this month.

Today MII said the continued blockading of plants across the country has already forced companies into staff lay-offs. 

The association said operations in 12 plants have been brought to a halt. 

It said it is “extremely damaging” for the Irish beef sector that customers are being left without deliveries. 

“With political chaos in the UK ahead of a potential no deal Brexit, the last thing our sector needs at this crucial time is a series of industry blockades that prevent us supplying our customers in the UK and elsewhere,” MII said. 

MII called on the protesters “to act responsibly for the good of the sector and stop the blockades immediately”.

Beef prices are down 45 cent per kilogram from last year, according to the IFA.

The price per kilogram of different breeds of cattle has reduced from between 2.9% and 15.4% between 2018 and 2019. 

The Beef Plan Movement has said currently if a consumer spends €10 on beef, the retailer gets €5.10, the factory gets €2.90 and the farmer gets €2.

Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine Pat Deering said today he is considering convening a meeting next week to discuss the dispute. 

“Ireland’s agricultural produce is among the finest in the world and is one of the cornerstones of our high performing export sector,” Deering said. “With that in mind, its stability and the collaboration between the various stakeholders, included farmers, processors and everyone else involved, is critical.”

He said he has asked committee members to give notice of any proposals specific to the dispute for committee consideration.

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