Kilkenny meat processors will not attend beef talks until blockades end
By COLIN BARTLEY
THE beef crisis looks set to rumble on as one of the main players in the dispute has refused to take part in talks aimed at resolving the pricing issues.
Meat Industry Ireland (MII), who represent management of two plants in Kilkenny, Dawn Meats in Grannagh and ABP Foods in Ferrybank, confirmed this morning their intention to pull out of talks set to resume this evening.
As 20 of its members processing plants currently have blockades outside their facilities, MII said it will not attend the talks at this current time.
The announcement by MMI follows on from the ramp-up in activities by farmer groups yesterday as members of the Beef Plan Movement protested outside the distribution centres of four retailers in the Irish market.
The Beef Plan movement said it is essential the retailers are part of the talks being held by Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed. At present, the retailers have made no indication they will take part.
A second group, calling themselves the Independent Farmers of Ireland, resumed protests outside meat processing plants over a week ago, when they rejected the recommendations of the first round of talks held between the Government, farmers and the meat industry. Farmers are asking for more money for their beef and say the current prices they receive do not cover the costs incurred to raise the cows.
As a result of the MII pulling out of the talk, just the farmers and Government remain. This afternoon to break the impasse, Minister Creed called on the farmers to stand down their blockade and for the meat processors to drop the legal actions it has taken out against some protestors.