The first Beef Taskforce meeting – which was scheduled to take place this morning (Monday, October 14th) – has been suspended.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine said that the meeting will not go ahead as planned, “following altercations outside Agriculture House”.
“Members of the Taskforce were prevented from attending the meeting.” a spokesperson said in a statement.
Farmers have been protesting at the entrance of the Department of Agriculture offices since early this morning. Some farmers have revealed that injunctions are still outstanding over them.
In a statement, Meat Industry Ireland said that the commitment to withdraw legal proceedings connected to the illegal blockading of beef plants has been honoured by the beef companies concerned.
ICSA president Edmond Phelan has said the Beef Markets Taskforce cannot begin its work while injunctions hang over individual farmers.
“ICSA decided at an early stage this morning that we could not attend the taskforce while injunctions remain in place.”
“ICSA does not condone physical clashes but the blame for the failure of today’s talks stands squarely with those meat processors who have so far refused to issue letters of discontinuance in respect of certain individual farmers.”
“There is no way these talks will commence until all legal threats have been removed.” The statement concluded.
‘Legitimate concerns of farmers’
The Minister for Agriculture Food & Marine, Michael Creed T.D., has condemned this morning’s incidents.
He said, “It is in the interests of everyone involved in the beef industry that the work of the Taskforce goes ahead.”
“The Taskforce’s remit is to monitor the implementation of the actions arising from the agreement reached on September 15th and offers the most viable platform for strategic engagement with key stakeholders.”
“It was a great pity that farm representatives were not in a position to air the legitimate concerns of farmers at the Taskforce.” the statement concluded.