Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has said that due to the “ongoing illegal blockades” across beef processing businesses in Ireland, its members are facing an “indefinite cessation of cattle slaughtering” throughout the country.
The vast majority of slaughtering has already been stopped and additional ‘wildcat’ disruptions are putting the balance of facilities under threat of closure.
The forced closure of affected sites is resulting in the temporary lay-off of thousands of employees.
“It will also mean that supplier farmers are unable to sell their animals and vital customer relationships are being damaged.” Meat Industry Ireland said in a statement.
“The ongoing intimidation – including verbal and physical abuses, blackmail and vandalism - of staff, farmer suppliers and hauliers by the illegal protestors has led us to this juncture.”
“In advance of Monday’s talks, MII members showed good faith by deferring legal actions against protestors at the request of the Minister for Agriculture.”
“The escalation of illegal blockades over the weekend has been a huge disappointment to MII members. Negotiating whilst illegal and threatening behaviour is ongoing is not compatible with negotiation in good faith.”
Meat Industry Ireland said that the damage being done to the Irish beef sector is significant, adding that hard-won markets are being lost.
It stated that the processing industry is not in a position to continue operating in an environment where it “cannot be sure whether staff, farmer suppliers and product can safely enter and leave the factories”.
“While MII members have no objection to normal peaceful protests, illegal blockades are entirely counter-productive to the interests of all involved in the Irish beef industry, particularly the disruption and losses to farmers who want to sell their animals and employees who want to work.”