‘These high-handed injunctions are farcical’ – McGrath

The High Court injunctions that have been obtained by meat plants to prevent protesters disrupting their operations have been labelled as “farcical” by a Co. Tipperary TD.

Independent deputy Mattie McGrath spoke to AgriLand at the protest outside the ABP processing plant in Cahir, Co. Tipperary.

“I’m surprised, and maybe not surprised in ways. These are really high-handed tactics. There are individual farmers and family members here, and are they going to be served with injunctions, or liable for [the factories’] loss of production?” the TD asked.

How are they going to identify people? Are they expecting the Gardaí to serve these injunctions? This is done under a pretence against frightening off the Chinese delegation who are coming to visit the plants. I’m a bit suspicious about that.

McGrath said, though, that the resolve of farmers he had met is “pretty strong”.

“The beef sector and the suckler beef animals are under savage threat… It’s the farmers’ last chance. If they don’t get something, the game is up for them,” he argued.

McGrath also contested the claim from lawyers for ABP and Dawn Meats regarding alleged acts of intimidation by protesters, saying that “nobody has been interfered with”, and adding: “It’s very cordial.

High-handed injunctions, and maybe sending bills to people that are named, is farcical.

He also called for Minister Michael Creed to “get the talks going again”, and that further talks shouldn’t be merely a “PR exercise”.

MacGrath added that any further talks need a “truly independent chairperson – not a person who was a department official all his life, but somebody from outside”.

“This problem is going on for about 35 years, and senior department officials are well aware of what is going on. They are not independent by their nature, so we need to get proper mediation,” he said.

Concluding, McGrath commented: “The Government needs to get serious and show that it intends to have respect for rural Ireland, because if these farmers go out of business, then every business, town, school and GAA club will be affected.”