Trade in jeopardy with at least 12 plants still blockaded by protesters
At least 12 meat plants are still blockaded by protesters as they ignore calls by seven farming organisations and a range of politicians to end the ongoing protests.
It's understood efforts were made at several pickets by members of farming organisations to convince the protesters to end the disputes that started on July 28.
However, a number of protesters have told the Irish Independent they are adamant they will continue the pickets and there were reports yesterday a new farming group may form, composed of the farmers who remain at the picket lines at meat factories.
It comes as Agriculture Minister,Michael Creed welcomed a call by President Michael D Higgins for the protesters to end their pickets.
Yesterday, Dawn Meats dismissed claims that it had engaged with protesters on enhanced pricing arrangements or that it was close to a deal on pricing.
"There can and will be no side deals or negotiations on a base price to end this dispute. This would both be illegal and run contrary to the agreement that was reached in good faith over the weekend," it said in a statement.
Liffey Meats said it had seen no evidence that blockades at its plants were set to cease.
A spokesperson for Liffey Meats said: "We have over 500 employees anxiously waiting to return to work, many of our 10,000 farmer suppliers who want to sell their cattle and over 400 customers throughout Europe and Ireland who are waiting on their delivery of Irish beef."
Mr Creed said the country's reputation as a beef exporter was in jeopardy due to the blockades.
"Significant retail contracts, in the UK, have been built up over many years, significant retail contracts. This market in the EU is in over-supply...it's competitive, cut-throat and there are many who would willingly knock us off the perch that we have for those retail contracts and partners.
"Our reputation is important to us. Those contracts are the manifestation of that reputation," he said.
"But the fact we have not been in a position to kill in any great numbers over the last several weeks is now putting that in jeopardy."