The president of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) Colm O’Donnell has pointed the finger of blame at the Minister for Agriculture for the gridlock on streets surrounding Dail Éireann and the Department of Agriculture offices.

Giving his reasons for the accusation, O’Donnell said: “The minister has sat on his hands regarding the convening of the Beef Market Taskforce which has led to further unrest.

This unrest, he claimed, is being fuelled by the “refusal of C&D foods to withdraw its legal action against farmers who were exercising their legitimate right to protest”.

Continuing, the INHFA president said Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed gave assurances to the beef taskforce representatives that all injunctions against individual farmers and associations would be lifted when all farmer protests ceased.

“Unfortunately the minister has not acted to ensure the agreement was honoured – despite having executive powers at his disposal, which could sort out the injunctions at C&D foods,” the president claimed.

O’Donnell highlighted that the C&D facility cannot operate without Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine veterinary controls which, he said, “gives the minister adequate leverage to ensure a satisfactory conclusion”.

Concluding, O’Donnell outlined that the INHFA position remains in “full solidarity” with the two farmers that are still dealing with injunctions.

“We have not engaged with the taskforce to date and neither have we engaged in bilateral talks held in recent weeks with taskforce stakeholders and the chairman.”