Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed has issued invites to all stakeholders in the beef sector to speak with him today, Wednesday, September 11, it is understood.

The minister extended the invites to all sides in the sector in an effort to resolve the ongoing beef impasse currently at play, with meetings between Minister Creed and the original stakeholders planned to take place at the Department of Agriculture this evening, according to a Government source.

It is understood that the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA), Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA), Macra na Feirme and the Beef Plan Movement have been invited to the meetings, as well as Meat Industry Ireland (MII).

This follows stalled efforts of a meeting on Monday, September 9, when MII pulled out of scheduled talks before they took place due to ongoing protests outside meat processors around the country.

3,000 processor employees ‘temporarily laid off’

Yesterday, MII outlined that 3,000 employees of Irish beef processing facilities have been temporarily laid off due to “the continuing illegal blockades of factories and intimidation of staff and suppliers by protesters”.

Continuing, the statement outlined: “Decisions to cease processing operations have not been taken lightly but in the face of the unwillingness of protesters to stop their illegal blockades, companies were forced to act.

Some 80% of overall processing capacity has now closed, and further closures and layoffs are likely in coming days.

This morning, the group formed to represent the protesters – the Independent Farmers of Ireland – rejected MII claims that it is responsible for the layoffs, stating that rather they were due to MII “walking away from the talks in Backweston”.