A letter threatening legal proceedings, including injunctions to stop any elections taking place, has been issued to a senior Beef Plan member from the Beef Plan national committee.
It is understood that co-chairs Eamon Corley and Hugh Doyle and Galway chair Kevin O'Brien have all been cited in the letter.
A statement sent to the Irish Farmers Journal by Eamon Corley on behalf of “Beef Plan’s committee of newly elected county chairs” said that the injunctions are “to stop any elections taking place”.
“Up until the protests at factory gates last summer, not many farmers had ever even heard of an injunction until Larry Goodman and his associate factory owners took them out against farmers.
“It is unbelievable that some members of Beef Plan now feel it is necessary to threaten the use of such injunctions against their fellow farmers and fellow members of Beef Plan rather than sitting down united with these members and Beef Plan to fight for better price for cattle and a better life for their fellow farmers,” the statement said.
News of the legal letter comes as the two co-chairs and the national committee remain at war over the future of Beef Plan.
Eoin Donnelly, western regional chair, told the Irish Farmers Journal on Tuesday evening: “Does it not tell its own story that there are more gardaí and security at county AGMs than there were at the factory gates in the summer? Does that not emphasise the disquiet among members?”
Mediation to sort out the differences between both sides has been offered, however “as of yet this offer has not been accepted which is unfortunate and is not in the best interest of the members”, the statement said.
Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal on Tuesday, Beef Plan southeast regional chair Enda Fingleton said the national committee offered to meet for mediation on Thursday of last week and each day since, through their solicitor. Fingleton said that they haven’t heard back from Doyle and Corley’s representatives on the issue.
EGM not an official Beef Plan gathering
The Beef Plan EGM, which is to take place this Sunday in Portlaoise, is not an official Beef Plan gathering, according to the statement.
“This meeting has not been validly notified to the company secretary and has not been validly notified to the members of Beef Plan and is not an official Beef Plan gathering.
“Any business conducted at that meeting will not be valid or binding in any way and may be detrimental to maintaining a unified voice for all farmer members of Beef Plan,” it says.
Fingleton said that Sunday’s EGM is “100% legit”.
“The EGM was called under the rules of governance of the organisation, it’s 100% legit. The EGM on Sunday will be sorting out the rules around the elections at county level.
“At the moment farmers can’t voice an opinion. How can they call AGMs with two days’ notice? They’re trying to push through AGMs in counties, they’re reading out their own rules,” he said.