In the final hours of the last standing farmer-led protests outside Liffey Meats’ processing plants in Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan, and Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, it is understood that a deal was brokered between senior management and the farmers through an independent mediator.

According to a Ballyjamesduff source close to the negotiations, the terms of the deal – which have been agreed upon – addressed a number of key issues.

Among these, AgriLand understands that Liffey Meats has given a commitment “not to discriminate” against any farmers that took part in the protests over the last two months.

In the case of any issues arising from this, it is understood that communications will be opened between a farmer representative from each of the picket lines and factory management in order to resolve any problems.

Multiple sources have confirmed to AgriLand that Liffey Meats has committed to maintaining the current base price – at €3.50/kg for steers and €3.60/kg for heifers – until Saturday, November 2.

In addition to this, it is understood that bulls under 24 months-of-age will continue to be quoted as follows: O-grade €3.20/kg; R-grade €3.40/kg; and U-grade €3.50/kg.

The processor is also said to have given a commitment to recognise and engage with the recently established beef producer organisation entitled ‘Irish Beef Producers’ – which was officially given the green light by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine earlier this month.

As for farmers that supply Liffey Meats and who have been “inadvertently affected” by the protests – with cattle going beyond the 30-month slaughter age limit – it is understood that such farmers are being advised to contact factory management to resolve issues.

Multiple sources have said that independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice acted as an independent intermediary on this deal between farmers and factory management – however, the Roscommon-Galway representative was not available for comment on this this morning.

Gesture of Support

All farmer-led protests outside the country’s meat processors – an estimated 18-20 picket lines in total – officially stood down over the weekend, with Ballyjamesduff and Ballinasloe among the last to disband.

It is understood that, following deliberations with multiple farm organisation representatives that were involved in establishing the recent Irish Beef Sector Agreement, farmers voted in favour of the move as a gesture of support to farmers that are backed up with cattle to kill.

The decision was also reached in order to allow for the full consideration of the Irish Beef Sector Agreement – which includes changes to in-spec industry requirements – as it could not be brought into force until all protests had been withdrawn.

After upholding their side of the deal, the country’s farm organisations are now mounting pressure on factories to immediately implement the new bonuses agreed to under the Irish Beef Sector Agreement.

This includes: an immediate increase of 8c/kg on the current in-spec bonus for steers and heifers, from 12c/kg to 20c/kg; the immediate introduction of a new bonus of 8c/kg for steers and heifers aged between 30 to 36 months; plus, the implementation of a new in-spec bonus of 12c/kg for steers and heifers under 30 months in the categories of grade O- and fat score 4+.

Stay tuned to AgriLand for more updates on this story…