The Beef Plan Movement has suspended its protest in Slane, Co. Meath, for the rest of the day following an incident this morning in which a farmer participating in the demonstration was struck by a vehicle.

Eamon Corley, joint chairman of the Beef Plan Movement, was in Slane this morning and witnessed the incident. Speaking to AgriLand, he said:

“We have suspended the protest in Slane for the rest of the day as a result of the incident.

We’re all in shock and taken aback by the aggressive stance taken by the driver. We didn’t expect to be bullied and harassed the way we have been.

“It’s come as a shock to us the way that lorries have been sort of driving at us with speed – all week.

“The protest is continuing in all the other counties but we have stood the one in Meath down. We’ve decided to have a meeting among Meath Beef Plan members on Sunday evening to see what our next step is.”

Explaining what happened this morning, the joint chairman said:

“There was a group of us on the road and we were about a quarter of a mile down the road from the factory.

“This lorry approached us with cattle in it; we started walking around on the road towards the factory…walking slowly as part of the peaceful protest. Everything was good humoured – we’ve been protesting all week – and the lorry was behind us. We were walking and talking to each other.

“The atmosphere was good; it wasn’t antagonistic or anything like that. They drove right up, very aggressively – right up beside our protesters.”

Corley said that a 4X4 was coming in the opposite direction; Gardaí who were at the scene instructed the 4X4 to turn around at the entrance of a house.

“In the meantime, there was another stationary jeep that the lorry was passing by,” Corley said.

There was a farmer talking to the person in the driving seat of that stationary jeep.

“When the other jeep that was turning around at the entrance to the house turned around, the lorry swerved at speed to follow that jeep.

“The farmer that was standing at the window of that stationary jeep got crushed, dragged and pulled by the lorry up along by the front of the jeep.

“There is a big indent in the front of the jeep. The ambulance was called out; he was taken to hospital.

One of the Gardaí who was with us at the protest; she said he definitely has a broken hip and broken ribs. He’s currently being scanned for internal injuries.

The chairman said that he believes the Health and Safety Authority is going to conduct a full scene investigation at the site of the incident.

“Our thoughts are with the farmer,” Corley said.