Factories have suffered huge losses from protests, court papers reveal

  • ABP has taken a €10m hit on lost sales
  • Dawn Meats says protests cost it €1.5m per day
Farmers pictured talking to some managers from Dawn Meats,during their protest outside the Dawn Meats plant at Grannagh in Waterford .Picture Credit:Frank McGrath
Farmers pictured talking to some managers from Dawn Meats,during their protest outside the Dawn Meats plant at Grannagh in Waterford .Picture Credit:Frank McGrath 26/8/19
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Beef Plan Movement protest has cost meat processors tens of millions of euro in lost production, legal fees and other costs.

In court filings seen by the Farming Independent, beef processors Dawn Meats and ABP detailed what they described as 'significant losses' during the protests.

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Further, the factories are expected to have to shell out millions in legal fees in their bid to secure High Court injunctions to prevent farmers from protesting at their plants.

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) also launched a publicity campaign in a bid to reduce support for the blockade.

Operations were brought to a halt in 12 plants last week, giving rise to staff lay-offs and significant losses. It's the second time in recent weeks the factories have laid off staff as protests disrupted operations.

In the court filings, ABP alleged its commercial credibility, reputation and future investment plans are at risk of being seriously damaged.

ABP claimed sales revenues from its plants dropped by 70pc during the initial protests and said that this loss was in excess of €10m.

It added that sales from its Cahir and Waterford plants have dropped by almost 20pc since the protests re-commenced, and this has led to a loss of revenue in excess of €1.5m.

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ABP claimed in its affidavit that it exhausted all its stocks at the Cahir, and Waterford plants for fresh meat production, and continued disruption to its supply chain could lead to spaces on supermarket shelves in Ireland and abroad, which would lead to the displacement of ABP products in favour of other offerings within a very short timeframe.

ABP also claimed that if it is unable to meet its contractual obligations to its customers, "it is inevitable that its customers will turn to other (presumably non-Irish) suppliers".

In its court filing, Dawn Meats alleged that until the first wave of protests was temporarily halted, the disruption caused by the protestors was costing it €1.5m per day in lost turnover. It had led to the loss of 547 jobs across three plants, all of which have since been re-engaged.

Both meat processors warned that a Chinese audit delegation inspecting processing facilities may withhold its approval of their plants if the plants are not operating as normal during the inspection.

Dawn Meats claimed it had invested €150,000 upgrading equipment and the plant for the audit, and said it expected to supply €5m worth of beef products a year to China following the inspection.

Meanwhile, the factories' decision to seek a legal remedy could see them having to shell out significant legal fees. To date, ABP, Dawn Meats, Kepak, Slaney Meats and Liffey Meats have all obtained High Court injunctions. Legal fees could be in the region of €250,000 to date per company. And MII's publicity campaign is estimated to have cost in the region of €25,000.

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