The Beef Plan Movement is again calling on all protesters to “cease picketing” at meat processing sites across the country, in order to allow “the benefits” of the recent Irish Beef Sector Agreement to be explained to all those concerned.

In a statement issued today, Saturday, September 21, the group said that farmers across all sectors are “feeling the pain” that the remaining protests are causing.

“We know farmers are hurt and that the cost of production is not being met. Negotiations have been tough and the decisions taken haven’t been easy.

We need to give the agreement a chance, and for that, the protests must now conclude. It’s the stepping stone needed to allow farmers achieve the fairer system we all want.

“This is an opinion held by all farm organisations. Not only that, even President Michael D. Higgins, who knows too well the hardship that farmers are facing, has asked for the situation to be resolved,” the statement outlines.

As of today, AgriLand understands that a total of 10 farmer protests outside meat processing plants across the country have now officially stood down.

These include: Dawn Meats in Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo; ABP in Ferrybank, Co. Waterford; Dawn Meats in Grannagh, Co. Waterford; Dawn Meats in Slane, Co. Meath; ABP in Cahir Co. Tipperary; ABP in Nenagh Co. Tipperary; Dawn Meats in Charleville, Co. Cork; Kepak in Watergrasshill, Co. Cork; Dawn Meats in Grannagh, Co. Waterford; Kepak in Athleague, Co. Roscommon; Ashbourne Meats in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary; and Dawn Meats in Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo.

In addition, it is understood that efforts will continue over the next 24 hours to bring a close to remaining farmer protests at: Liffey Meats in Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan; Slaney Meats near Bunclody, Co. Wexford; Kepak in Ennis, Co. Clare; Liffey Meats in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway; ABP in Bandon, Co. Cork; Kepak in Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath; Dawn Meats in Rathdowney, Co. Laois; Liffey Meats in Hackettstown, Co. Carlow; and Kepak in Clonee, Co. Dublin.

The statement from Beef Plan continues: “We know that many have issues relating to the price received for their product, but as things stand, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission does not allow for prices to be arranged.

“There is, however, an avenue open to all farmers to discuss price and that is through a producer organisation. We encourage all beef farmers to participate in a producer organisation, which is where the issue of pricing will be addressed.

Important contracts

The group highlights that trust between the farmer and the industry has been greatly damaged, but it also warns that the industry “is now beginning to haemorrhage”.

Important contracts that keep all of us afloat are at serious risk of being lost. If these contracts are lost, it’s farmers that will be affected most. We’ll quickly run out of options for sending our produce.”

Beef Plan is asking everyone to “cease their protest this evening” and to examine the document agreed last weekend.

“Thousands of livelihoods are on the line and this agreement is our best opportunity to finally improve the standards we all aim for.

“We must allow it to work. Ceasing protests will allow for meat plants to resume production over the weekend,” the statement concludes.