A senior executive at Clare-based meat processor Asba Meats has claimed that only a small number of farmers have payments for cattle still outstanding.

Tareq Khan admitted that payments to some livestock farmers were outstanding, but he said these suppliers were not regular customers of the firm and that the numbers of cattle involved were small.

However, he could not provide an exact figure for the number of farmers awaiting payment for livestock from the firm.

Khan said that the majority of farmers were paid for cattle and sheep within two to three weeks.

“In normal times, 90% of farmers are paid within two or three weeks,” Khan said.

Last week, the IFA admitted that it had made representations on behalf of farmers who had not been paid for cattle supplied to Asba Meats.

Khan said the cases involving the IFA had been resolved and the farmers in question paid.

When asked why payments had been delayed to some farmers, Khan claimed that the firm’s computer software system had been hacked last year.

Certification issues with the Department of Agriculture had also impacted the operation of the plant, which is located at Drumquin outside Ennis, he said.

Meanwhile, the Irish Farmers Journal understands that Asba Meats has also been contract killing cattle on behalf of Premium Livestock Ltd.

The Irish Farmers Journal has been contacted by farmers who allege that they are still awaiting payment for cattle supplied a number of months ago to Premium Livestock Ltd.

This newspaper sought to contact Premium Livestock Ltd regarding these farmer concerns but was unable to do so.

Emerald Isle Beef Producers has in the past supplied cattle to Premium Livestock Ltd.

However, when asked if the group was still supplying cattle to Premium Livestock Ltd, Eamon Corley of Emerald Isle Beef Producers said: “No, not at this moment in time.”

Any questions regarding payments to farmers for cattle would have to be directed to Premium Livestock Ltd, Corley said.