Beef Plan won't call off protests for talks, as factories look for 'legal remedy' to stop pickets
Factories face losing contracts as Beef Plan protest continues into 12th day
Meat Industry Ireland has said its members have been left with no choice other than to seek legal remedy in an effort to prevent Beef Plan from causing further damage to the Irish beef industry.
However, the Beef Plan has said in response that it is not prepared to call off its protests to allow talks to take place.
In a statement, Chairman of the Beef Plan Movement’s western region Eoin Donnelly said: “the precondition that protests must be called off to allow talks to happen is not something that we’re prepared to accept”, and in fact we have made this clear from the outset.
"The threat of legal action from large wealthy international corporations does not bode well for their own corporate social responsibility and reputation."
Earlier today, Meat Industry Ireland said in a statement factories face losing contracts as the Beef Plan protests continue into their 12th day.
"Unfortunately, because of Beef Plan blockades, and in the aftermath of its refusal to enter talks brokered by the Minister, businesses have, as a last resort, been left with no choice other than to seek legal remedy in an effort to prevent Beef Plan from causing further damage to the Irish beef industry."
In 2000, at the last major beef farmer protest, led by the IFA, the High Court imposed a £500,000-a-day penalty if the blockade remained in place.
This morning, Meat Industry Ireland said it is extremely disappointed that an initiative brokered by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to bring together the full resources of the State and all the beef sector stakeholders was rejected last night by Beef Plan, who refused to participate.
"Earlier in the evening, MII accepted the Minister’s invitation to attend the meeting despite the serious intimidation and outright illegality its members have faced over the past twelve days of the Beef Plan blockades of meat plants."
It said it acknowledges the right of suppliers to organise a peaceful protest, but said the unlawful behaviour of some protesters at certain sites has caused significant and irreparable damage to the beef industry.
"The continued intimidation of fellow farmer suppliers, company employees, government assigned veterinarians and other service providers including hauliers is unacceptable."
As a result of the Beef Plan campaign of illegal blockades, it said companies have been forced to lay off employees with more expected to be laid off in the coming days as operations grind to a halt.
"Other service providers are also unable to earn a living as sites are blockaded and unable to continue operations unimpeded.
"The illegal blockading of factories has increased the risk of businesses losing customers that they have supplied and developed over the past 20 years. Continuity of supply is key to maintaining customers in a very competitive market. This campaign of blockades and intimidation puts at risk the success of our exporters and indeed farmers’ and the State’s marketing investment in securing outlets for Irish beef over many years."
It also claimed the continued actions by Beef Plan are creating serious health & safety risks and the potential for a serious accident / injury is a major concern for our members. Beef Plan leadership must bear full responsibility for its actions and the resultant damage caused.
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