Beef protests: Gardai arrest man as man as protests continue
A MAN has been arrested as protests continue over the price of cattle at a number of meat plants around the country.
Gardaí arrested the man today (Monday) at a meat processing plant in Ballyjamesduff Co Cavan as farmers continue a protest at the Liffey Meats plant.
The man, whose age in unknown, was arrested for "breaches of the Public Order Act."
Gardaí told the Independent that investigations are ongoing.
The arrest follows tense scenes at the Kildare Meats plant yesterday when farmers protesting for a higher price for their cattle alleged that trucks were driving into them and a child’s buggy in an effort to get through the gates.
A video recorded at the scene shows a child’s buggy apparently stuck under the front of a turning truck and another truck appear to drive at a group of men.
In the video a man connected to the Kildare Chilling meat-processing plant in Kildare town claims there is no child in the buggy.
Under court orders protesters are not permitted to physically block trucks entering meat plants.
Amid the ongoing protests, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has met with protesting farmers and warned that the resolution to the cattle price dispute will only be found around the negotiating table and not in meat plant protests or court injunctions.
His warning came as Chinese trade auditors successfully visited one Cork beef plant but were unable to visit another Midlands facility due to its inability to access livestock for processing.
Mr Creed, speaking in Rathcool, Co Cork, said it was imperative the long-running dispute over cattle prices does not undermine the vital expansion of Irish beef exports to the vast Chinese market.
"We’re in a very difficult situation – we have Chinese auditors in town and we are trying to manage that arrangement," he said.
"I met with protesters myself over the weekend and I think there’s a realisation that that (visit) is important."
"It’s imperative nothing is done to jeopardise that because when all of that is said and done and resolved we will be looking for new markets for beef."
Meanwhile, Kepak had to cancel a visit of Chinese inspectors today after approximately 40 protesters prevented blocked the entrance to its factory in Athleague, Roscommon.
In a statement from Kepak, it says it met with senior leaders of the Beef Plan Movement (BPM) late on Saturday night and the importance of getting Chinese approval to the site was "discussed and clearly understood.
"Management arranged for the delivery of 90 cattle to the plant this morning, but on arrival were met with up to 40 protester who illegally blockaded the entrance and refused to allow any livestock trucks pass despite the existence of a High Court injunction preventing such blockades and intimidation."
It said local Gardai arrived but failed to secure safe passage for any of the hauliers despite the blockade being illegal.
Kepak Athleague management then spoke with several of the protesters but were informed that there was no spokesperson for the group and that no truck would be passing the illegal blockade.
It said management were left with no option but to cancel the inspection.
Last week Gardaí were called to a meat processing plant in Co Cavan after a farmer allegedly damaged its outer walls with his tractor.
Despite a High Court injunction to prevent blockades at facilities operated by Dawn Meats, Slaney Foods and ABP, some farmers decided to continue their picket at beef plants around the country.
On Friday evening, a man drove his tractor towards Liffey Meats in Ballyjamesduff and allegedly ripped capping off the wall outside the factory. The incident occurred as workmen erected copies of the high court injunction against the protest there.
The workmen then left the scene while the man inside the tractor remained outside the gates of the facility. A Garda spokesperson confirmed it is investigating the incident.
“Gardaí attended an incident at Oldcastle rd , Ballyjamesduff Co Cavan on August 30 at approximately 6.30pm.
“No arrests have been made, no injuries were reported and enquiries are ongoing,” the spokesperson said.
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