Three thousand factory employees have been laid off on Tuesday as factories cease operating.

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) said that the temporary layoffs are due to “continuing illegal blockades of factories and intimidation of staff and suppliers by protesters”.

It said the decision had not been taken lightly but in the face of the unwillingness of protesters to stop their illegal blockades, “companies were forced to act”.

Further closures

The factories’ representative body said 80% of overall processing capacity has now closed, and further closures and layoffs are likely in the coming days.

It warned that indirect jobs will be affected as ancillary businesses including hauliers will be heavily affected by these closures.

“The Minister for Agriculture has tried to get all parties around the table to reach a settlement, and beef processors have always been open to engage in that process, but not whilst their plants are being illegally blockaded,” MII said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

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