The situation at the Beef Plan Movement protest at Rathkeale, Co Limerick, was described as very tense on Monday evening as lorries and tractors and trailers queued to bring cattle in.

Numbers on the picket swelled with over 100 farmers gathering at the Limerick meat plant throughout the day. As a result, there was an increased garda presence which included the armed response unit.

Hauliers were held up for a number of hours before gaining access to the factory. Following this, tensions rose among the protesters.

Call for calm

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Dermot O'Brien, chair of the southwest region Beef Plan Movement, said he had to contain the situation.

"I instructed the protesters to adhere to the peaceful protest. Some protesters recognised as not being in compliance with these guidelines were asked to leave.

"The Beef Plan Movement would like to thank An Garda Síochána for professionalism shown in their policing of the picket locations."

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