Longford county councillor, Micheàl Carrigy, has welcomed the news from Minister Creed that he will facilitate renewed talks between farming groups and Meat Industry Ireland.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD has confirmed this morning, September 05, that he will facilitate new talks between all parties to the beef dispute on Monday next, September 9.
Speaking the Minister Creed said: “There has been significant engagement with stakeholders throughout the duration of this dispute and I believe that there is now a basis for the renewal of talks between the parties.
"We have reached a point where it is critically important for the future of the sector that stakeholders engage in a spirit of compromise to resolve a dispute that has the potential to inflict long term damage on the sector if it continues.
"It is clear that this can only happen if processors and protesters step back from Court proceedings and illegal blockades, in order to allow space for meaningful talks to proceed.”
The Minister confirmed that his department would be in touch with stakeholders during the day to make the necessary arrangements.
In light of the news, Cllr Carrigy says it is imperative that Meat Industry Ireland (MII) retract all legal injunctions with immediate effect.
He said: "It is imperative that MII immediately withdraw all legal injunctions and discuss the issues of immediate concerns to farmers namely the 30 month age limit,the 4 movement rule and the 70 day residency requirement."
Cllr Carrigy also wished to remind beef baron Larry Goodman in particular of the £60million in state funding he recieved in 1987 to develop his company.
"The time has come for Mr Goodman to start repaying this investment from the taxpayer by paying farmers a decent price for the quality product they produce." he said.
Following Minister Creed’s statement, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) said that the Industry welcomes the opportunity to participate in a new round of talks to end the current impasse with a view to securing a return to the normal business of the beef sector.
They stated that the processing sector has been seriously hampered by protests and blockades in recent weeks, which they say have served no useful purpose but instead have "severely impacted domestic and international customers of Irish beef, farmers seeking to deliver factory ready cattle for processing, and meat industry employees across the country".
"For these reasons, processors were forced to take legal action in order to limit the damage being caused to their businesses. While such action was a last resort, it was not a step that companies wished to take or indeed took lightly. The injunctions were granted based on the evidence presented of illegal blockades and commercial damages caused to the businesses concerned." a statement from MII reads.
"If a process of engagement can now be secured by the Minister, MII members will defer further legal proceedings, so that these talks can happen. We expect that protest action at the plants will equally be suspended." the statement concludes.