Meat factories accuse Beef Plan protesters of 'abuse and intimidation' but says it will engage in talks if protests are called off

Traffic backed up at Bandon as farmers escalated their Beef Plan movement protest at Bandon on Wedensday. Picture Denis Boyle
Traffic backed up at Bandon as farmers escalated their Beef Plan movement protest at Bandon on Wedensday. Picture Denis Boyle
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Meat Industry Ireland has said it will engage with the leadership of the Beef Plan movement, if it calls off its protests, but it also accused some of the group's members of "unacceptable abuse and intimidation of fellow farmer suppliers, company employees, government assigned veterinarians and other service providers including hauliers".

In a statement, issued by Meat Industry Ireland, it says the current Beef Plan protests which are geared towards disrupting the normal and orderly marketing of beef and lamb will do nothing to resolve the challenges in the marketplace nor the predicament of hard-pressed producers, but that it will engage with them if the protests are called off.

It said that while the group has guidelines, for its members, it says the Beef Plan's leadership has failed to ensure adherence to its own protocols.

"Indeed, the behaviour of some protestors at certain sites has gone well beyond the guidelines issued by Beef Plan and has resulted in unacceptable abuse and intimidation of fellow farmer suppliers, company employees, government assigned veterinarians and other service providers including hauliers.

"We understand that these protests are geared towards disrupting the normal and orderly marketing of beef and lamb, but we cannot see how this course will resolve the challenges in the marketplace nor the predicament of hard-pressed producers who wish to sell their livestock for processing."

Meat Industry Ireland went on to say that poor sales demand in export markets in the UK and across Continental Europe coinciding with strong beef supply in the EU market overall, together with Brexit uncertainty, is at the root of current market difficulties.

It says it understands the frustration of beef producers with current price returns but again emphasised that this is driven by extremely poor sales demand in export markets in the UK and across Continental Europe at a time when there appears to be strong beef supplies in the EU market. Furthermore, the real prospect of a No-deal outcome to Brexit in three months-time has fundamentally disturbed market equilibrium.

It also said it has written to Beef Plan stating its willingness to engage with its leadership in a constructive manner but will not do so while the protests and disruption continue.

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It called on the group, in the wider interest of the beef sector to reflect on the wisdom of the current campaign and in particular, the considerable damage being caused to the beef sector at all levels.

The Beef Plan has been outside factory gates since Sunday over poor beef prices.

Online Editors


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