Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has said it has been left “extremely disappointed” in the Beef Plan movement after it rejected an invitation by all the beef sector players to sit down and talk.
In a statement, MII said that it had accepted the invitation sent by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, despite the actions of the Beef Plan in recent weeks.
The group has staked a series of blockades across Ireland at more than 20 meat factories over the past twelve days.
‘Significant & Irreparable Damage’
While MII said that it acknowledges the right of suppliers to organise a peaceful protest, it questioned the behaviour of some protesters at certain sites.
The representative group said these acts have caused ‘significant and irreparable damage’ to the beef industry.
‘The continued intimidation of fellow farmer suppliers, company employees, the government assigned veterinarians and other service providers including hauliers is unacceptable,’ the company said in a statement.
The group said that it is because of the blockades that companies have been forced to lay off employees, adding that more are expected in the coming days as operations grind to a halt.
MII slammed the Beef Plan for its 'continued creation of serious health and safety risks', and said that it’s leadership ‘must bear full responsibility for its actions and the resultant damage caused’.
The industry group concluded by saying that, as a result of blockades and the refusal to enter talks, businesses ‘have been left with no choice other than to seek legal remedy’.
The Beef Plan, however, said that it is willing to enter talks, so long that its protests are allowed to continue.
On Twitter, the group rejected the notion that it has refused to enter talks, saying that it would only enter talks without preconditions attached.
‘It's regrettable that has taken the same position as Meat Industry Ireland on a meeting taking place with pre-conditions attached,’ the group said on Twitter. ‘A further example of no level playing field in our beef industry.’
The group of farmers also questioned the nature of the invites, suggesting that they have all been informal.
© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.