Blockades remain in place, causing irreparable damage to Irish beef sector

September 16, 2019

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) today expressed dismay that less than 24 hours since an agreement was finalised to address the crisis in the beef industry, illegal blockades remain in place at factory gates across the country.

Yesterday’s agreement with all farming organisations required that all protesting and blockading across the country would cease immediately. This has not been honoured, in contravention of the agreement negotiated in good faith. This continued illegal blockading of processing plants shows an absolute disregard for the law of the land. 

The agreement involves considerable investment by MII members to ensure that farmers producing in-spec cattle will receive more money for their animals. It is now essential that the Minister and all farm organisations ensure that all illegal blockades are removed, and the agreement reached can enter into effect. 

This is the third week in a row that Irish beef farmers are unable to have their cattle processed and the Irish beef industry has been unable to serve its customers. The protests are doing massive damage to the industry, and customers are going elsewhere in Europe for their beef. It may take a long time to win these customers back. The continued illegal blockading is causing irreparable damage to a sector that is worth €2.5 billion in exports and, in normal times, employs over 10,000 people. It has already resulted in thousands of staff layoffs and with the continued illegal blockading, thousands more are now inevitable. 

Whenever processing recommences there is every chance that customers for Irish beef will have moved elsewhere, with a catastrophic impact on market returns, which are already under considerable pressure. Government may then be forced to look for market support measures from the EU.