Lowry: Continuing blockades could ‘do irrevocable damage to future of beef’

Independent TD Michael Lowry has appealed to protesters outside meat plants to stand down and withdraw pickets, warning that further continuation of blockades could do “irrevocable damage to the future of the beef industry”.

Deputy Lowry added that it is crucial that a pricing model is put in place.

In a statement on the ongoing beef dispute, the Tipperary TD said such a move is necessary to allow for the positive measures, agreed at the weekend beef forum, to be implemented, and to allow for the establishment of the independent review of all aspects of the beef industry in Ireland.

Continuing, deputy Lowry said:

The protests have created awareness and concentrated minds on the problems endured for many years by beef producers.

However, he continued, adding: “Further continuation of the blockades could be deemed irresponsible and do irrevocable damage to the future of the beef industry.

“Everyone recognises and acknowledges that primary beef producers must be supported with a view to increasing the price for beef production. The current impasse is having a devastating negative impact on the entire industry.

“Farmers want and need to sell cattle but are denied access to the factories. Every day we have cattle exceeding the 30-month clause and decreasing in value.

It is alarming to witness exporters losing markets in the UK and Europe which may never be recovered.

Deputy Lowry added that the dispute is impacting heavily on cattle dealers, hauliers and a large number of factory workers.

He warned that, between ABP Cahir and ABP Nenagh, approximately 750 workers are being impacted, between those currently laid off and those facing lay-offs by the end of the week.

“The workers and their dependent families are at a substantial financial loss. This loss of income means that many families are unable to meet their financial obligations with resulting hardship and stress.

“This dispute can only be resolved by dialogue and negotiation – in particular it is crucial a pricing model is put in place that reflects the beef farmers’ input and commands the trust and respect of everyone involved in the sector,” the TD concluded.