27 Jan 2022

High Court strikes out C&D Foods injunctions against Longford farmers

C&D Foods

The High Court has struck out injunctions against two Longford men, including Cllr Paraic Brady, in the wake of recent beef protest

Injunctions preventing protesters from blockading and intimidating persons working or visiting a Midland's based pet food manufacturing plant have been formally struck out by the High Court.

The orders were secured last September by C&D Pet Foods, which is located at Edgeworthstown, Co Longford against Fine Gael Cllr Paraic Brady of The Meadows, Drumlish, Co Longford, and Colm Leonard of Aughanoran Dring Co Longford, by Mr Justice Tony O'Connor.

C&D is owned by the ABP Food Group, which is one of Ireland's largest beef processors. Several of C&D's plants were the scenes of protests earlier this year by farmers unhappy with the prices being paid for their product.

The injunctions permanently prevented the defendants, their agents and anyone who has knowledge of the orders from trespassing at or blockading the plant, and from intimidating individuals going to and from the plant.

The matter returned before the High Court on Friday when John Lavelle for C&D told Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds that the orders previously made by the court could be vacated, and struck out.

No orders were to be made in relation to the legal costs of the action, counsel said.

Patricia Hill Bl, instructed by James Staines solicitor for the two named defendants in the case told the court that the striking out was on consent.

The Judge agreed to strike out the proceedings.

Last September the company sought orders against protesters, who C&D claimed had for several days physically obstructed the plant's entrance,  in support of farmers involved in the protest with meat processors.

The company claimed that if the blockade wasn't lifted more than 500 workers in the locality faced being laid off and that its business reputation would be severely damaged.

C&D claimed that despite the fact it had no role in the determination of prices paid for beef, as it mainly uses pork and chicken in its products, it has been "tactically targeted by protesters" because it is part of the ABP group.

C&D said it did not wish to halt any peaceful or lawful protest outside the plant.

However, the defendants and others have gone beyond a legitimate peaceful protest, it claimed before the court.

It claimed the protesters maintained the blockade by walking in continuous circles around trucks trying to leave or enter the plant.

The blockade, it further claimed, caused major disruption to the firm's business and had cost it some €400,000.

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