Jail threat looms over farmer as Chinese inspectors arrive

Message: A farmer takes part in a protest at the ABP plant in Bandon, Co Cork, which featured translated signs to greet a Chinese delegation visiting the plant. Photo: Denis Boyle
Message: A farmer takes part in a protest at the ABP plant in Bandon, Co Cork, which featured translated signs to greet a Chinese delegation visiting the plant. Photo: Denis Boyle
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

A farmer faces the prospect of jail for his participation in unofficial beef protests, which have now entered their sixth day despite the arrival of Chinese inspectors.

Today will mark the first of what Mr Justice Senan Allen was told could be many applications that could see individual protesters jailed for being in contempt of court.

Separately, Liffey Meats secured a temporary High Court injunction restraining protesters from blockading three factories and from intimidating staff and suppliers.

Yesterday in the High Court, Mr Justice David Barniville was told that the slaughtering of animals at the plants had ceased due to protesters blocking the entrances.

It is the third meat processor to secure a High Court injunction after lawyers for Dawn Meats and Anglo Beef Processors (ABP) separately secured various orders on Tuesday.

The orders restrain several named protesters and anyone with knowledge of the making of the court's orders from continuing their blockade of the plants.

Yesterday, unofficial protests by beef farmers continued at a number of factories around the country, including ABP Bandon, Co Cork; Meadow Meats, Rathdowney, Co Laois; Liffey Meats, Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan; and Dawn Meats in Grannagh, Co Waterford, despite injunctions being in place restraining the blockading of factories.

Farmers protesting at ABP in Cahir, Co Tipperary, temporarily stood down their protest before the arrival of Chinese inspectors who were assessing whether to approve the plant for exports.

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It is also believed that protesting farmers will withdraw their protest from Dawn Meats in Grannagh for the duration of Chinese inspections.

But protesters at Bandon are set to remain protesting outside the factory for the duration of the Chinese inspection of the facility today.

"We have to keep driving on with this. The injunction doesn't scare us. They can throw us all into jail together. This is a peaceful protest and will progress that way," said one farmer in Bandon.

"We want a better price and to get what it is costing us to produce these cattle plus a margin."

Meanwhile, the Beef Plan Movement - which says it is not behind the continuing protests - wrote yesterday to Agriculture Minister Michael Creed, saying the only way to make progress is to ensure that there is full and open disclosure on the retail specification that processors are being asked to enforce on farmers.

But Meat Industry Ireland says Irish farmers are paid the same average price for cattle as their continental counterparts and farmers with market-ready cattle are being affected by the blockades.

Irish Independent


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