The Beef Plan Movement has reiterated its call for the legal threats on the group and its operatives to be removed, saying it “makes the situation more difficult for farmers”.

In a statement, the group highlighted that “it has now been four weeks since the Beef Plan Movement officially stood down its protests outside meat processing plants”.

“For today’s talks to succeed, all legal threats against Beef Plan and its directors must be permanently lifted,” said the statement, referring to talks on the beef sector, due to be carried out today, Monday, September 9.

Furthermore, all injunctions against individual farmers must be removed permanently in order for trust and good will to be rebuilt between the primary producers and meat processors. Ireland has too much to lose if farmers continue to be put put of business.

“Meat processors have always been the dominant party when negotiating, and having legal proceedings against farmers, while trying to negotiate with them, makes the situation more difficult for farmers,” the statement concluded.

The statement comes after Meat Industry Ireland (MII) announced that processors would pull out of the talks, citing the continuing farmer protests as the reason.

Responding to this development, Beef Plan Movement co-founder Eamon Corley said that MII had “lost its credibility”.

I think this has been a strategic move by the meat industry to basically starve the farmers out, that’s what it has been.

Speaking to AgriLand at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Backweston Campus, where the talks were due to take place, Corley criticised Minister Michael Creed for allegedly failing to invite retailers to the talks.

“It was made clear to the minister that the retailers should be invited to these talks. They were important to the talks from the point of view of getting answers to the anti competitive practices, like the age limits, the residency period, etc.,” said Corley.

He added: “We found out this morning that they weren’t actually invited to the talks, which we felt was a betrayal in itself.

“I can see a lot of farmer anger at the way things have developed, and I think it has taken a sinister turn, where the meat industry is trying to starve farmers out,” Corley concluded.