Illegal blockades remain - Meat processors adjourn participation in beef talks
Meat Industry Ireland (MII) today arrived for talks to resolve the beef sector dispute. This morning, some 20 plants representing 80% of processing capacity remain blockaded. During an initial engagement with the independent chair and government officials, MII communicated that protestors had failed to step back from factory gate blockades and had instead intensified these illegal blockades. MII requested the Minister and Independent Chairman to use their best endeavours to have blockades lifted to enable talks. The MII delegation adjourned its participation in the talks until all illegal blockades are lifted.
In a statement, MII expressed frustration at the refusal of protestors to respond to the Minister’s call to step back from blockading and to observe the norms that apply in talks aimed at resolving disputes. For its part, MII member companies have given an undertaking that legal actions will be deferred to enable talks to proceed.
The extent of the continued illegal blockading has placed factory employees in peril of layoffs and prevented beef farmers from having their factory ready cattle processed. Furthermore, the blockades have put in jeopardy national and international customers of Irish beef.
MII members companies accept the rights of individuals and groups to hold peaceful protests. But it reiterated its stance that unless illegal blockades are suspended immediately, it cannot continue to engage with the talks process. It said that the clear implication of the failure to secure a suspension of illegal blockades also demonstrates the absence of leadership capacity to deliver a successful outcome to any such talks. This was also evident on the previous occasion when an agreement was reached in talks brokered by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, but subsequently reneged upon by Beef Plan.