Foyle Meats in Carrigans, Co Donegal, ABP Clones, Co Monaghan and Kepak Clonee, Co Meath, are the latest factories to be added to the list of venues where Beef Plan Movement members are protesting.
On Monday afternoon, members of the group in Donegal set up a picket outside Foyle Meats in Carrigans.
PRO of the Beef Plan Movement in Donegal, Eimear McGuinness, told the Irish Farmers Journal that the protest kicked off at 3pm on Monday.
“We’ve had a good turnout so far. Some lorries landed on the scene, some left and some went through [to deliver cattle]. We’re hopeful about talking to people to get them to turn back.
“We’re also hopeful of talks between the Beef Plan and Meat Industry Ireland,” she said.
Cost of production
“We can’t continue to produce cattle below the cost of production, we need a fair price. That’s all anyone is asking for. We need farmers in Donegal and all over the country to keep rural Ireland going," McGuinness added.
“Without beef and suckler farmers that won’t happen. Farmers can’t continually take the prices they’re being offered for their beef cattle.”
The Beef Plan Movement added ABP Clones in Co Monaghan to the list on Tuesday morning, with farmers setting up a peaceful protest there at 5.30am, chair of the Monaghan Beef Plan Movement Michael Rafferty told the Irish Farmers Journal.
Meanwhile, as nationwide Beef Plan Movement protests enter a second week, farmers in Co Meath have intensified their action and now have a presence outside two factories.
In addition to Dawn Meats Slane, farmers began action at Kepak Clonee on Monday evening 5 August.
Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal at the protest, David Maguire of the Beef Plan Movement said: “We’re not trying to become millionaires. We are just asking for a sustainable product where we can all make a few pound. At the moment we’re asked to sustain losses, losses we can’t commit to any more.”
Maguire said that the group’s action would continue, with protesters stationed outside 21 factories across Ireland. Maguire added that the group plans to hold protests outside every factory in Ireland.
“This game is going to be won on numbers. We’re asking for unity among farmers and among other farming organisations. We’re asking our fellow farmers from the other organisations to back us up.”
Maguire said Meat Industry Ireland (MII) had reached out to the Beef Plan, but a meeting between both parties was set with the pre-condition that protesters stood down. He said this was something the Beef Plan could not agree to.
James Murphy, a suckler and beef farmer from Co Meath, said he joined the picket line because he was losing money trying to keep cattle.
Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, he said: “If I want to stay in farming I have to get a proper price for my animals. I can’t keep losing money.”
“I got €3.60/kg two weeks ago for heifers. I had them [for] two years. Fed them meal, had them in the shed for two years and I got €3.60. They didn’t even come into €1,200 and I paid €700 for them. [I’m] making nothing between vets bills, meal bills, the whole lot.”
He said he was in the process of diversifying his business away from beef and was exploring all options.
“I’ve sheds at home and for me to put cattle in it would be a waste of money,” he said.
The group is protesting outside at least 21 venues. Though the protest outside ABP Nenagh is officially suspended, farmers are continuing a picket there.
The full list of factories that the Beef Plan Movement is protesting outside of is as follows: