The Independent Farmers of Ireland – a newly formed group of farmers made up of protesters from blockades outside factories around the country – has written a letter to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, seeking a conditional meeting.

However, the letter, written by a spokesperson for the group, seeks “full immunity from all or any legal proceedings” as a condition for coming to beef talks with the minister.

‘Full immunity’

The document – seen by AgriLand – is written, according to the spokesperson, “on behalf of the men and women who have taken part in the peaceful protests over the past number of days”.

The letter claims that “there isn’t a single individual at these peaceful protests that wishes to be there, however we feel we have no choice as our futures are at risk if the current beef crisis in this country is not addressed”.

The Independent Farmers of Ireland group states in the letter that, in response to comments that it is not possible to enter into talks as there is no one to talk to, the farm body has elected three people “to act as spokespersons on behalf of all beef farmers who seek change”.

However, the group spokesperson stated that the three unnamed representatives “feel it would be foolish and unwise to do so without first being offered full immunity from all or any legal proceedings”.

The letter claimed that “farmers around the country fear injunctions; they fear their farms being taken from them; they fear being held liable for cost; and they fear jail time”.

“However, these three elected spokespeople are available for talks, should you invite them.

‘Finding a resolution’

“By granting them immunity and inviting them to talk we can work towards finding a resolution, not only for farmers but also for the future of rural Ireland,” the spokesperson added.

“We ask you to please help to ensure all legal action is dropped against all farmers and allow us to work together to prevent the demise of sustainable family farms throughout Ireland,” the letter stated.