Saturday 21 September 2019

Meat Industry Ireland pulls out of beef talks over ongoing blockades

Farmers have been protesting over the prices they receive for beef since July.

By Aine McMahon, PA

Meat Industry Ireland has pulled out of participating in the latest beef talks as protests continue at 20 meat factories around the country.

Farmers have been protesting about the prices they receive for beef since July.

Talks between the Department of Agriculture, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and beef farmers resumed on Monday morning as protests by farmers continue around the country.

MII met with the independent chair of the talks Michael Dowling and confirmed their intention to pull out.

The association said in a statement that some 20 plants representing 80% of processing capacity remain blockaded.

“During an initial engagement with the independent chair and government officials, MII communicated that protesters had failed to step back from factory gate blockades and had instead intensified these illegal blockades,” the statement said.

A number of plants are still being blockaded (Brian Lawless/PA)

“MII requested the minister and independent chairman to use their best endeavours to have blockades lifted to enable talks.”

Round tables discussions were due to begin on Monday evening at Backweston in Co Kildare.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed had warned both sides that legal action and blockades would have to stop before talks could take place.

The group said it is adjourning its participation in the talks “until all illegal blockades are lifted”.

“The extent of the continued illegal blockading has placed factory employees in peril of lay-offs and prevented beef farmers from having their factory ready cattle processed,” the statement added.

“Furthermore, the blockades have put in jeopardy national and international customers of Irish beef.”

PA Media

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