'Independent farmers' not expected to attend beef talks

A sign in chinese on the farmers protest outside Liffey Meats in Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan which was left there for potential Chinese investors to read. It translates as “peaceful farmerr protest, looking for a fair price for our product”. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
A sign in chinese on the farmers protest outside Liffey Meats in Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan which was left there for potential Chinese investors to read. It translates as “peaceful farmerr protest, looking for a fair price for our product”. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

It's understood the new farming body, Independent Farmers, which represents farmers still protesting at factory gates won't be attending talks between farming organisations and the meat factories on Monday.

After meeting with the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, in recent days, the group said, in a statement, said it requested that its three spokespeople be allowed attend the negotiations.

"Those present last Monday requested that Minister Creed allow three of our representatives to have a place at the talks on Monday as it was made very clear that no other organisation had a mandate to represent those currently at the factory gates."

However, according to the group, the Minister stated he did not believe this would be possible.

The statement goes on to say that "in order for meaningful and workable resolutions to be found, that the Minister must allow these representatives to be present in a full capacity at the talks to ensure the appropriate lines of communication are in place, as those at the factory gates will not change their stance if they continue to feel left in the dark.

"The message from the factory gates today is very clear! Unless the Independent Farmers of Ireland are represented by the three aforementioned spokespeople in on Monday in Backweston...the talks won't resolve the real issues."

However, Meat Industry Ireland said yesterday, after the group released its statement, that they have deferred legal proceedings to allow meaningful talks take place, but said it expected protesters would also "respect" the Minister's request for protests to be suspended.

The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed called on both sides, processors and protestors(to)step back from Court proceedings and blockades, in order to allow space for meaningful talks to proceed.

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MII said that it has confirmed to the Minister that processors have respected his wishes and, with immediate effect, have deferred legal proceedings to allow for meaningful talks.

"To that end, the industry would expect that protestors would also respect the Minister’s call and suspend plant blockades immediately to allow the talks process to proceed as planned by the Minister," it said in a statement.

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