Meat Industry Ireland (MII) said on Tuesday that it was “very disappointing that protests have resumed at a small number of beef processing sites” since Monday afternoon.
A statement released on Tuesday by the MII claimed that significant efforts had been made in talks between processors and farm organisations over the last fortnight, and that ‘progress had been made on a number of issues raised by farm representatives as well as agreement for ongoing work on several other areas which, if allowed to conclude, should be positive for beef producers’.
The statement continued: ‘Protests should not pre-empt the outcomes of this work and neither should they undermine it.
‘Obviously beef price remains a major talking point since the conclusions of the beef talks last week but beef price was not and could not be discussed during these talks.
‘Furthermore, price is determined by conditions in the market at present which are acknowledged by all as being extremely challenging. There simply isn’t more in the marketplace right now. Shooting the messenger by targeting processors will not solve the problems that the sector faces at present.
‘Peaceful protest is a right of all, but any disruption of normal processing activity which impacts businesses, staff and farmer suppliers is unacceptable and will only do further damage in an already difficult trading environment.
‘Furthermore, the week ahead sees the commencement of a round of important processing plant inspections by a Chinese official delegation with a view to approving more beef plants for export to China. This is a positive for the entire sector, and any plant disruptions should not be turned into an “own goal”’.