Sheep farmers ‘the victims’ of illegal blockades – Dawn Meats

Dawn Meats has issued a statement highlighting that as a result of what it described as “an illegal blockade” of its facility in Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo, “local sheep farmers are being prevented from selling their animals” to the factory.

Continuing, the statement from the cattle and sheep processor claimed that “the protesters “do not supply beef to the factory”.

It added that these protesters “are preventing vehicles from delivering the sheep of fellow farmers through the factory gates”.

The blockade remains in place despite the conclusion of a deal last night to address the crisis in the beef industry, agreed to by all of the major farmer organisations and representatives of the processing industry.

The statement from the meat processor outlined: “This deal required that all illegal blockades across the country cease immediately.”

According to Dawn Meats: “The disruption is causing hardship to west of Ireland sheep farmers who, instead of selling their factory ready lambs, are instead being subjected to intimidation and abuse.

Their animals are now going to be out of market specification on weight and fat score when sold. Customers are being lost for Irish sheepmeat as there has been no kill for two weeks.

“They are being forced to purchase elsewhere in Europe,” the statement concluded.

Commenting on the current situation, a spokesperson from Dawn Meats said: “It is disappointing that the illegal blockaders are preventing west of Ireland sheep farmers from being able to sell their lambs, in spite of agreement being reached between all parties over the weekend.

The actions of farmers blocking the gates are directly impacting on the livelihoods of their fellow farmers, and the hundreds of employees of the plant who have been forced out of work by the illegal blockades.

“Sheep farmers and staff are the innocent victims here, and instead of being subject to intimidation and abuse they should be allowed to deliver their animals.”

Concluding, the spokesperson said: “Dawn Meats has been forced to issue temporary lay-off notices to over 500 staff given that the illegal blockades have shut down production.”