Meat processors adjourn participation in talks

Meat processors have decided to adjourn their participation in the beef talks, citing the continuing blockades of processing plants.

According to a statement by Meat Industry Ireland (MII), 20 plants are still being blockaded by farmer protesters, representing 80% of processing capacity.

“During an initial engagement with the independent chair and government officials, MII communicated that protesters had failed to step back from factory gate blockades and had instead intensified these illegal blockades,” said the statement.

MII requested the minister [Michael Creed] and the independent chairman to use their best endeavors to have blockades lifted to enable talks. The MII delegation adjourned its participation in the talks until all illegal blockades are lifted.

MII has “expressed frustration at the refusal of protesters to respond to the minister’s call to step back from blockading and to observe the norms that apply in talks aimed at resolving disputes”.

“For its part, MII member companies have given an undertaking that legal actions will be deferred to enable talks to proceed,” the statement added.

The extent of the continued illegal blockading has placed factory employees in peril of layoffs, and prevented beef farmers from having their factory-ready cattle processed. Furthermore, the blockades have put in jeopardy national and international customers of Irish beef.

The statement went on to say that MII recognises the right of individuals to protest, but said it “cannot continue to engage with the talks process” while the blockades are ongoing.

MII also said that the failure to secure an end to the blockades indicated an “absence of leadership capacity to deliver a successful outcome” to the talks.