The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has accused ABP Food Group of “giving two fingers” to Minister Michael Creed by refusing to lift all injunctions against beef dispute protesters.

Joe Healy, the IFA president, was speaking after the postponement of today’s planned meeting of the new Beef Market Taskforce, following a protest and altercation at the headquarters of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine today, Monday, October 14.

The protest was sparked by the continuing injunctions held against a number of protesters, some of which were taken out by C & D Foods, which is owned by ABP.

Healy also criticised the minister for not ensuring that the injunctions and legal proceedings were lifted before today.

“This was a clear commitment in the beef sector agreement presided over by Minister Creed last month,” the IFA president added.

“Today’s events were avoidable,” Healy insisted, adding: “IFA had made it clear to the minister that the legal proceedings had to be resolved prior to the taskforce convening, and we did not go into today’s meeting.”

He added that the IFA was “acting for one of the farmers” that is under injunction from C & D, and that the association had been in touch with legal representatives from ABP seeking the removal of these injunctions.

Healy concluded by directing criticism at ABP owner Larry Goodman, saying: “What we saw today was a further boiling over of frustration from farmers who see Larry Goodman doing what he likes in contradiction to a written agreement negotiated by the minister.”

Healy had also raised this issue this morning in advance of the taskforce meeting, at a time when it was still set to go ahead.

Speaking early in the day, Healy said that this issue would have to be “resolved immediately”.

He also highlighted the need to “rebuild trust” between farmers and factories.