Beef Plan Movement suspend protests over meat prices and agree to talks

Beef farmers from the Beef Plan movement pictured at the picket line outside Keypak in Clonee Co Meath. Picture Credit:Frank McGrath
Beef farmers from the Beef Plan movement pictured at the picket line outside Keypak in Clonee Co Meath. Picture Credit:Frank McGrath

Margaret Donnelly and Ciaran Moran

The Beef Plan Movement has suspended protests at meat factories around the country and will engage in talks next week.

The Beef Plan Movement, who have been holding protests outside meat factories across the country, have agreed to halt the demonstrations and enter a phase of discussion.

The row has stemmed over the price of beef, which is at its lowest point in years, with many farmers claiming they are struggling to survive and will be forced out of business without Government intervention.

It’s understood the Beef Plan has communicated the news to its protesters through its Whatsapp groups, saying that “the introduction of the legal proceedings has forced us into a position, where we have no option but to agree to suspend our protests with immediate effect until talks conclude.”

The group also told its members if it is not satisfied sufficient progress is being made, it will leave the talks and resume the protest with immediate effect on Monday night.

Meat Industry Ireland (MII)  welcomed the talks stating that the protests had brought beef processing to a virtual standstill in the country, causing significant disruption in the beef trade and also led to temporary staff layoffs.

"Real damage has been done to domestic and export business as a result of these protests and it is high time for the sector to get back to business. Processing needs to take place if we are to avoid losing more customers for Irish beef and lamb," it said in a statement.

The Department of Agriculture has previously stated that it cannot legally have any role in determining beef prices, as it is not the department's role to "comment on commercial decisions taken by private entities in an open market".

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A statement released by the department this evening read: "The Minister for Agriculture Food & the Marine, Michael Creed TD, has today confirmed that the Beef Plan Movement and Meat Industry Ireland (MII) have accepted his compromise proposals aimed at breaking the ongoing impasse between the two parties. 

"All protests at meat processing plants and legal proceedings are to be suspended with immediate effect until the agreed talks have concluded. A meeting will be held on Monday August 12th involving both MII and the Beef Plan Movement and also including representatives from the farm organisations, the Department and its agencies. 

"The Minister will appoint an independent Chairperson who will preside over an agreed agenda."

The Beef Plan Movement has presented 13 issues it has with the industry that need to be addressed in order to make beef farming sustainable and profitable for farmers, including the use of an upper age limit to influence the price offered for steers and heifers and young bulls, carcass weights threshold for cattle and sheep changed without reasonable notice period, and excessive trim being taken from carcasses.

Online Editors

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