All eyes on Beef Plan negotiators as threat of further protests hang over talks

Outcry: Beef farmers protest over prices at the Dawn Meats plant in Grannagh, Co Kilkenny. Photo: Dylan Vaughan
Outcry: Beef farmers protest over prices at the Dawn Meats plant in Grannagh, Co Kilkenny. Photo: Dylan Vaughan
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Farm organisations, Meat Industry Ireland, the Department and its agencies to will meet this afternoon to discuss the current beef situation.

It comes as farmers are maintaining a presence at some protest sites over the weekend and the Beef Plan Movement has said it will revert to its protest if "sufficient progress is not being made".

The meeting which could run into the night will be presided over by an independent Chairperson, Michael Dowling, will take place in the Department of Agriculture offices, Backweston at 2pm.

The agenda seen by the Farming Independent includes an overview of meat market, including a presentation by Bord Bia and a response by each organisation.

The strategic challenges facing the industry will be outlined in a presentation by the Department.

The Quality Payment System, Carcass Classification, Market Transparency and Market Observatories are also on the agenda.

The talks will also include a discussion on the new Unfair Trading Practices Directive developed by the EU as well as producer organisations.

The Beef Plan Movement, which has been holding protests outside meat factories across the country, has 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.

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