In light of the escalating Beef Plan protest that has gripped the Irish beef industry over the past 12 days, the western chairman of the Beef Plan Movement, Eoin Donnelly, has warned that “as the protest continues, we have to focus on what we recognise as our biggest challenge – the enemy within”.

Donnelly made the comment referring to the movement’s ongoing plea “asking that no person attending any Beef Plan Movement protest site break the law – under any circumstances”.

We are asking the people that have ensured our protests have been lawful to date not to allow an individual or group of people to sabotage our protest.

He noted that the movement has recently had people imply “that it has ignored advances to meet”.

Continuing, Donnelly explained: “From our perspective, this made it look like they wanted people to think we don’t want to talk to anyone.

“Our position is that we will talk to anyone without preconditions.”

‘A clear and concise statement’

Furthermore, he said: “The Beef Plan would welcome a clear and concise statement from all farm organisations indicating for their members that wish to support the Beef Plan protest to strictly follow the Beef Plan’s guidelines.

We are not asking if they agree or not with what we are doing – just simply that they ask their members to follow our guidelines if those individuals choose to attend a beef plan protest location.

He noted that copies of these guidelines “have already been widely distributed”.

‘Thousands of messages’

Continuing, he added: “The volume of messages coming in is by anyone’s standards considerable notwithstanding that we are doing this for farmers on a voluntary basis.”

He noted: “Any messages that were not replied to should be resent to the group with details attached.

“If we have inadvertently missed an e-mail or WhatsApp message – then we are more than happy to apologise for this oversight.

“This review will be done in the context that literally thousands of messages have been sent and received.”