The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has confirmed that he has contacted ABP Food Group regarding the injunctions that remain in place.

Responding to a request from Sinn Féin’s deputy Brian Stanley for the minister to “pick up the phone and ask the CEO of ABP to use its influence to have them [injunctions] lifted and get the talks back up and running”, Minister Creed said: “I would like to see the task force up and running.

It is the forum where all the issues can be raised and it is entirely regrettable that that was not enabled by the actions of a minority of people who stepped clearly outside the normal parameters of engagement on Monday.

Continuing, Minister Creed outlined it is “something I think all right-minded people would condemn”.

Deputy Stanley then asked the minister: “Has C & D Foods been contacted directly?”

Minister Creed responded: “I have not contacted C & D Foods directly. The deputy asked me did I contact ABP and the answer is ‘yes’.”

Creed explained: “I am not aware of the ownership structure of C & D Foods and how that relates to ABP, Mr. Goodman or anybody else, but I am aware of the injunctions that exist.

As I said, we have engaged in my department in an effort to dismantle that but it has to be acknowledged that it is a legal entity outside of the remit of MII [Meat Industry Ireland].

Concluding, Minister Creed said: “My department does not have the leverage that has been alleged in order to be able to wave these away. That is an issue for the company itself.”