Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has pulled out of Monday’s beef talks until all “illegal blockades” outside meat factories have been lifted.
On Monday, a spokesperson for MII said that some 20 plants representing 80% of processing capacity remain blockaded.
“During an initial engagement with the independent chair and Government officials, MII communicated that protesters had failed to step back from factory gate blockades and had instead intensified these illegal blockades.
“MII requested the minister and independent chair 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,” the spokesperson said.
MII, the body which represents the factories, expressed frustration at the refusal of protesters 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 member 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.”
Absence of leadership
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, according to MII.
“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,” the spokesperson said.
Monday’s talks are expected to begin with bilateral meetings between the various farm organisations – Beef Plan, IFA, INHFA, ICMSA, Macra, ICOS and ICSA - before a larger group meeting in the evening.
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