Both Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and the Beef Plan Movement have been told to drop their preconditions and get round the table to start negotiating.

Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Pat Deering, said: “It’s essential that all parties get around the table. I would encourage both organisations to drop their preconditions.”

He stressed that MII should drop their threat of legal action and the Beef Plan should drop their continued protest stance to get around the table as soon as possible.

There is a large number of farmers who need to sell beef, for a number of reasons. Farmers need the money, they need to pay the bills, there’s cattle going to be out of spec.

“There’s no guarantee that the price of beef is going to be any better in a week or two weeks’ time anyway.

“There’s only one way of sorting this problem and that’s sitting around the table and talking about it.”

The Fine Gael TD for the Carlow-Kilkenny constituency cautioned: “I would be critical of politicians pretending to support farmers while not taking responsibility by encouraging all sides to start negotiating.

Positions have got very entrenched over the last number of days in particular and were in a very difficult situation at the moment.

“We should be united trying to develop plans to counteract the huge challenges we face at the moment during the next 80 or 90 days in Brexit.

“Both sides need to think about where they are at the moment and over the next 24 hours to sit down and have an arrangement.

“There’s obviously a lot that can be done with regards transparency and regulation of the industry,” Deering concluded.