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Dublin: 4 °C Friday 17 January, 2020

Minister 'reaches out' to Beef Plan Movement to enter talks

Farmers around the country have been holding protests over the past 10 days.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed
Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed
Image: Leah Farrell/PA Images

MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE Michael Creed has said his offer of talks with farmers protesting over Irish beef prices has been rejected, amid reports of job losses at processing plants. 

Farmers around the country have been holding protests over the past 10 days to highlight their concerns over the beef sector in Ireland. 

The Irish Farmers Journal reported that hundreds of staff at Dawn Meats, APB and Kepak – which have factories across the country – are to be laid off as a result of the protests, which have spread to 22 factories nationwide. 

In a statement, Creed said that his office tried to “reach out” to the Beef Plan Movement, one of the protest groups, to enter talks and temporarily suspend their protests. 

“A round table discussion regarding the current market difficulties” has been offered to the Beef Plan movement,” it said. 

“In light of the announcement of lay-offs in the meat processing sector, the difficult income situation facing farmers with livestock for slaughter and on animal welfare grounds, the Minister is again calling on the Beef Plan Movement to reflect on its position and to take up the invitation to enter into talks,” the statement said. 

Since late July, protests held by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) and the Beef Plan Movement have taken place at a number of locations around the country.  

The IFA national council and livestock committee held a demonstration at the EU Food and Veterinary Offices in Co Meath on 31 July. 

The group said it was protesting to “highlight the urgent need to support the Irish and European beef sectors, which are in crisis”. 

There are a number of different reasons behind the IFA protests including a new trade deal with South America, which farmers fear may threaten their livelihoods, and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

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