MII: Businesses ‘to seek legal remedy’ to ongoing protests

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has released a statement announcing that, as a “last resort”, member businesses “have been left with no choice other than to seek legal remedy” to bring a halt to protests.

In its statement, released this morning, Thursday, August 8, the Ibec meat industry representative group said that it is “extremely disappointed” that an initiative brokered by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to bring together all stakeholders in the beef industry was “rejected last night” by Beef Plan.

The Beef Plan Movement, earlier this morning, stressed that it is willing to meet if protests remain in place during talks.

The meat processor representative group noted that, as a result of Beef Plan “blockades”, and following the farmer group’s “refusal to enter talks brokered by the minister”, it said:

Businesses have, as a last resort, been left with no choice other than to seek legal remedy in an effort to prevent Beef Plan from causing further damage to the Irish beef industry.

“Beef Plan leadership must bear full responsibility for its actions and the resultant damage caused.”

MII noted that it had accepted the minister’s invitation for a meeting earlier yesterday evening.

“MII acknowledges the right of suppliers to organise a peaceful protest; however, the unlawful behaviour of some protesters at certain sites has caused significant and irreparable damage to the beef industry.

“The continued intimidation of fellow farmer suppliers, company employees, government-assigned veterinarians and other service providers including hauliers is unacceptable.”

The meat industry group stated that firms have been forced to lay off employees – “with more expected to be laid off in the coming days as operations grind to a halt”.

“Other service providers are also unable to earn a living as sites are blockaded and unable to continue operations unimpeded.

“At this point, Beef Plan has been responsible for the closure of some 14 plants while many other plants are now operating well below capacity due to intimidation and breaches of the rule of law.

“Beef Plan claims of conducting peaceful protests ring hollow in the face of these facts.

The illegal blockading of factories has increased the risk of businesses losing customers that they have supplied and developed over the past 20 years.

“Continuity of supply is key to maintaining customers in a very competitive market.

“This campaign of blockades and intimidation puts at risk the success of our exporters and indeed farmers’ and the state’s marketing investment in securing outlets for Irish beef over many years.

“Moreover, the continued actions by Beef Plan are creating serious health and safety risks and the potential for a serious accident/injury is a major concern for our members,” the MII statement concluded.