Meat plants threaten legal action against beef protestors
A spokesperson for the meat factories has suggested that they will seek an injunction against the Beef Plan Movement in order to bring the ongoing protests to a halt.
Twelve days into the campaign and the protest organised by Beef plan Movement sees no sign of abating at the 12 sites nationwide, including Liffey Meats on the outskirts of Ballyjamesduff, and more recently ABP in Clones.
Meat Industry Ireland (MII), a representative body for the abbatoirs, has branded the protests as illegal and say that since an initiative for discussions by Minister Michael Creed has been rejected by the Movement, the businesses “will seek legal remedy”.
Local Beef Plan spokesperson Micheál Rafferty told The Anglo-Celt that the minister's initiative was rejected because he - like MII - had placed a precondition of a “temporary” end to the protests. The Movement refuse to halt the protests.
The beef farmers said that the numbers have grown as the protest has gained momentum, and welcomed the “very good” local support, noting a local company had sent food up to the protestors this morning.
Minister Creed has come under increasing pressure from opposition parties, and locally, Fianna Fáil's Niamh Smyth, Brendan Smith and Sinn Féin's Matt Carthy for what they say is his inaction.
The statement continued: “In light of the announcement of lay offs in the meat processing sector, the difficult income situation facing farmers with livestock for slaughter and on animal welfare grounds, the Minister is again calling on the Beef Plan Movement to reflect on its position and to take up the invitation to enter into talks.”
A spokesperson said MII that they had been willing to participate in the talks brokered by the minister, and are “extremely disappointed” that the initiative has been rejected by Beef Plan.
MII said that as a result of the Beef Plan's “campaign of illegal blockades, companies have been forced to lay off employees with more expected to be laid off in the coming days as operations grind to a halt.”
It added: “Moreover, the continued actions by Beef Plan are creating serious health & safety risks and the potential for a serious accident / injury is a major concern for our members. Beef Plan leadership must bear full responsibility for its actions and the resultant damage caused.
“Unfortunately, because of Beef Plan blockades, and in the aftermath of its refusal to enter talks brokered by the Minister, businesses have, as a last resort, been left with no choice other than to seek legal remedy in an effort to prevent Beef Plan from causing further damage to the Irish beef industry.”
Fianna Fáil's Niamh Smyth was among the politicians to join the protestors in Ballyjamesduff this morning.