'Sinister' development at meat plant stopping farmers selling lambs - Dawn Meats

Beef protests are continuing around the country.
Beef protests are continuing around the country.

A 'sinister' development at Dawn Meats Ballyhaunis has seen an illegal blockade stop sheep farmers selling their lambs, the company has said.

It comes as the High Court heard a compromise had been reached between Dawn Meats and a number of named protesters allowing permanent orders restraining trespass and intimidation be made with the consent of named protesters who had taken part in disruptive nation-wide protests.

"It is disappointing that one group of illegal blockaders is denying West of Ireland sheep farmers from the orderly marketing of their factory ready lambs and that they are instead being subjected to intimidation and abuse," the company said in a statement.

Dawn Meats also said none of the protesters on the illegal blockades are farmers supplying Dawn Meats.

Welcoming the High Court judgement today, where a motion against Seamus (Mex) Delahunty seeking to attach and commit him to prison for breaching of High Court orders could be struck out by consent, Dawn Meats said it is pleased the named individuals covered by our previous injunction in relation to our Grannagh facility have today consented to permanent injunctions preventing illegal blockading and intimidation across all plants. The permanent injunction extends to all unnamed persons engaging in the illegal blockades and intimidation at all Dawn Meats facilities.

"It is always our preference to avoid recourse to legal action, but the illegal nature of the protest activity has made it necessary to protect our business, our employees, our supplier farmers and our customers who depend on us being able to operate.

"Today’s ruling is permanent, and a welcome confirmation that when peaceful protest escalates to illegal activity, the Courts will ensure the law of the land prevails, and seek to put a stop to intimidation, verbal abuse and threatening behaviour."

Dawn said it is by growing the demand for Irish beef and diversifying into new markets, rather than through illegal protesting, that the current challenging market environment can hope to be addressed.

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"It is regrettable and counterproductive that so much energy is being wasted with the illegal protests instead of developing business opportunities."

It also said that through its industry group representative body Meat Industry Ireland, it is are open to further discussions with farming groups on their concerns, but only when the illegal blockades of our facilities are removed and normal processing resumes.

"We are always ready to meet with our farmer suppliers, but those involved in the illegal blockades are not direct suppliers of cattle to our facilities. This reinforces our concern that a small minority are denying the genuine cattle farmers with whom we have longstanding relationships, from being able to sell their factory ready cattle."

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