‘Significant first step forward’: Hopes expressed following beef meeting

There are hopes that talks held yesterday will represent a “significant first step forward” in efforts to resolve the ongoing beef dispute, according to the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

Commenting on the talks held in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on Kildare street, the ICMSA president, Pat McCormack, said that he hopes that the agreement reached yesterday evening will represent a first significant step forward towards a resolution.

McCormack confirmed that the agreement sets out a sequence that involves the factories ceasing operation with the protesters lifting their pickets and meaningful talks aimed at a resolution to begin shortly thereafter.

The president said that the process – if delivered upon – should give the space necessary for parties to engage on the basis of good faith and deliver a solution to what is now a major problem coming on top of other very serious challenges already facing Irish farming and food production.

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) was not present at the meeting; however, representatives from the entity met with Minister Creed earlier today.

It remains to be seen whether farmers will leave the picket lines to allow for talks to take place but MII’s commitment that its members will cease production during talks could be the decisive point.