From Leinster House to the factory gates: how the Beef Plan Movement protest unfolded

Farmers pictured talking to some managers from Dawn Meats,during their protest outside the Dawn Meats plant at Grannagh in Waterford. Photo: Frank McGrath
Farmers pictured talking to some managers from Dawn Meats,during their protest outside the Dawn Meats plant at Grannagh in Waterford. Photo: Frank McGrath
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

From a protest in Dublin in mid July to launching protests at factories a few weeks later, read our timeline on how the recent beef protests escalated.

Wednesday, July 10

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An estimated 2,500 farmers, led by the Beef Plan Movement, marched on Leinster House to protest against the Mercosur trade deal, the 'final straw' for beef farmers.

Sunday, July 28

The first Beef Plan protests take place with protesters calling for a fairer margin of the retail price.

Tuesday, July 30

A farmer is taken to hospital after an incident at a protest outside ABP Cahir. Beef Plan says its protests are "peaceful and it is not stopping produce from going into factories", but asks farmers to "think twice before they take cattle to the factory".

Wednesday, July 31

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The Beef Plan posts videos of people passing their pickets on social media, naming the individuals, including farmers, vets and hauliers.

Thursday, August 1

Tensions heat up as the protests enter their fifth day. Meat Industry Ireland says it will engage with the leadership of the Beef Plan, if it calls off its protests, but accuses some of the group's members of "unacceptable abuse and intimidation".

Friday, August 2

Gardai investigate an incident outside Dawn Meats in Slane; Beef Plan claims some of its members have been met with aggressive, threatening behaviour. It issues members with guidelines on peaceful protesting.

Wednesday, August 7

Tense scenes erupt outside Dawn Meats in Co Kilkenny as farmers claim they were told to move away from factory entrance gates.

Thursday, August 8

Beef Plan says there are plans to mobilise further protests. Figures from the Department of Agriculture show the beef kill for the last week was down 16pc. Meat factories accuse the Beef Plan of "illegal blockades" as a number of plants lay off staff temporarily.

Friday, August 9

Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed, asks Beef Plan to enter into talks. Beef Plan says it won't call off protests, as factories look for a "legal remedy" to stop pickets at 20 plants. Beef Plan organisers are threatened with legal proceedings and later in the day suspend protests to engage in talks.

Monday, August 12

Farm organisations and meat factory representatives meet, as farmers maintain a presence at some factories. Beef Plan says it will revert to its protest if "sufficient progress is not being made".

Wednesday, August 14

Beef Plan chairman Hugh Doyle says he could not rule out protesting again, calling the talks 'disappointing' - but admits he did not go into the talks expecting to get a price rise for farmers.

Monday, August 19

Talks between the farm organisations and the factories resume as beef prices remain under pressure.

Tuesday, August 20

Farmers claim they have been turned away by processors for protesting at factory gates in recent weeks. Minister Creed attends the talks in a bid to seal an agreement. Wednesday, August 21

Marathon talks conclude early this morning despite disagreement on critical issues.

Friday-Sunday August 23-25

Beef Plan holds regional meetings to discuss the proposed deal from the talks. Members refuse to back it and unofficial protests begin at a number of plants on Sunday evening.

Tuesday, August 27

ABP and Dawn Meats are granted High Court injunctions against protesters. The Beef Plan says it is not organising or backing the current round of protests and says members will be expelled if they protest. Farmers vow to continue protesting.

Thursday, August 29

Since Tuesday Dawn Meats, ABP, Kepak, Slaney Meats and Liffey Meats have been granted High Court injunctions against protesters.

Friday, August 30

A Chinese trade delegation postpones a planned visit to a Cork meat plant as protesters warn they are willing to be jailed to trigger action over low cattle prices.

Sunday, September 1

Protests continue at a number of plants, amid reports of scuffles.

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