MII director denied entry at Ag House protest

Additional reportage by Breifne O’Brien

A protest in taking place today, Monday, October 14, outside the headquarters of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, where the new Beef Market Taskforce is having its first meeting.

AgriLand understands that no particular group is formally taking responsibility for organising the action.

It appears that the group has prevented Cormac Healy, senior director of Meat Industry Ireland (MII), from entering the building. Healy then subsequently left the scene.

The group of farmers appear to be protesting on the back of claims that injunctions that arose from the beef protests have not yet been lifted.

In a statement issued today, MII, the body which represents meat processors, claimed that the commitment to withdraw legal proceedings “connected to the illegal blockading of beef plants” has been honoured by the processors.

However, Paraic Brady, a Fine Gael county councillor in Co. Longford, told AgriLand this morning that an injunction remained in place against himself and another individual relating to a protest at the ABP-owned C & D Foods plant in Edgeworthstown, which produces cat and dog food.

Furthermore, Hugh Doyle from the Beef Plan Movement informed AgriLand that he had not yet received confirmation that the injunction against him had been lifted.

Colm O’Donnell, the president of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA), told AgriLand at the scene that it was “unlikely that the taskforce will convene today”.

The farmers’ associations that are taking part in the taskforce are comprised of the six main ‘recognised’ groups: The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA); the Beef Plan Movement; the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA); the Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA); the INHFA; and Macra na Feirme.

Representatives from MII are also involved, as are officials from the department.

The Beef Market Taskforce has been established as part of the agreement that was reached last month between farmer associations, MII and the department.