In this file:
· Protesting beef farmers celebrate 'David and Goliath' moment in meat factory standoff (Ireland)
· Farmers group warns of potential beef shortages (Ireland)
· Beef protests are hurting exports to other markets, MII says (Ireland)
· 12 meat plants closed due to beef protests (Ireland)
WATCH: Protesting beef farmers celebrate 'David and Goliath' moment in meat factory standoff
Michelle Hogan, Leinster Express (Ireland)
3 Sept 2019
Farmers protesting at a meat factory in Rathdowney, Laois over beef prices have said that it was a ‘David and Goliath’ moment when they stopped a lorry from leaving the factory today.
Around 40 farmers engaged in the picket at the gate and mounted a peaceful protest. One farmer said it ‘felt great’ to overcome the ‘faceless’ factory while another said it was ‘the monopoly versus a few’.
A decision was made in the High Court on Friday whereby permanent injunctions were upheld to prevent illegal blockading across all Dawn Meats plants, with similar orders given for other factories too.
The farmers were served with injunction notices this morning but refused to look at them or touch them. They were left blowing around the street and they said the litter warden was called.
Michael Kelly is a farmer from Ballybrophy. He said it was like 'David and Goliath' for the group of independent farmers to force the lorry to back into the factory.
“David and Goliath and David won with the stone. I thought maybe at one moment he might come forward and hit you and hurt you but that didn’t happen.
“They tried to get out two loads of meat but we kept the protest in front of the trucks and kept them in. We stood our ground and continue to do so.
“Before that, they came up to serve an injunction on us. We don’t know what is in the injunction. They served the injunction by throwing the papers at our feet. We wouldn’t pick them up to read them or even to look at. The guards were there to keep an eye on things, they were very helpful.
“The truck driver did make an attempt to drive over the bodies but we held our ground so he held his ground then and after a 15 or 20-minute standoff the guards backed them back.
“We are trying to get some bit of a lift in the price of meat, we are trying to get the 30-month rule up to 36 months and we are looking to have the 70 day stay on the cattle on the farm reduced as well.
“It would make an awful difference to our income.
“In July 2018, cattle were in or around €4 a kilo but now it is around €3.32 to €3.40 somewhere in that region. That’s a big drop per kilo.
“Monopoly rules, they are the monopoly, they have the money, they have the power. The Christmas tree shows how long we are prepared to stay, it is symbolic,” he said.
Farmer Packie Ryan from Tipperary said there isn’t a level playing field for farmers and factories.
“A farmer has to hold his cattle for 70 days whereas the factories can bring in that same animal directly two hours later and have it killed. That is not a level playing field.
“It is affecting ourselves and our families greatly because we are neglecting all our work just to try and get a peaceful protest and points across trying to get things slightly changed for the rural development of farming...
more, including photos
Farmers group warns of potential beef shortages
But industry group says ‘we are not yet at the stage of white shelves’ in supermarkets
Jack Power, The Irish Times
Sep 3, 2019
There will be shortages of beef on supermarket shelves in the coming days if a major dispute with farmers is not resolved, the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has claimed.
Edmond Phelan, president of the farmers group said “the big supermarkets will have no beef before the week is out unless there is a major breakthrough on this protest”.
For over a week farmers have staged pickets outside several meat processing plants, blocking trucks from entering factories, in protest over current prices received for cattle.
However, the suggestion of major beef shortages in the coming days was played down by retailer representatives and Meat Industry Ireland (MII), the representative group for processors.
While blockades were having a serious impact on customers and business, “we are not yet at the stage of white shelves in the domestic market”, MII said.
“It should be remembered that the home market accounts for 10 per cent of all the beef we produce. It is the case, however, that some customers in our export markets have not be served in recent days due to the blockages at processing facilities here.”
Previous talks with a number of parties failed to end the beef dispute, as despite several concessions for farmers, the talks did not discuss the issue of beef prices.
The talks had included...
Beef protests are hurting exports to other markets, MII says
Jack Quann, NewsTalk (Ireland)
3 Sep 2019
Meat Industry Ireland (MII) says some customers in export markets have not received deliveries of beef, due to the ongoing farmer protests outside its factories.
In a statement, it says some 17 plants are now affected with some fully blockaded.
It adds that this is "extremely damaging".
It says that while the ongoing blockades are having "a serious impact for staff, customers and genuine farmer suppliers" with cattle to process, it is "not yet at the stage of white shelves in the domestic market."
It points out that the home market accounts for 10% of all the beef that is produced.
But it says some customers in export markets have not been served in recent days due to the blockages at processing facilities here.
It comes despite a series of High Court injunctions being in place, banning protests outside several factories.
The MII reiterates that "the price pressure in the market at present is reflective of the downturn in demand evident right across the European market.
"Irish cattle price is at the average of EU cattle price.
"MII members remain ready to work constructively with any process the minster might establish with a view to bringing to an end these protests", it adds.
Speaking last week, Irish Farmers Association (IFA) President Joe Healy said the farmers want a better price for their cattle.
He said: "I've a very clear message for [Meat Industry Ireland] - that's to get out of the High Court and get back down to supporting the farmers, and paying a proper price to the farmers that won't lead to any of the distrust and anger that's there...
12 meat plants closed due to beef protests
By Fran McNulty, RTE.ie
30 Aug 2019
RTÉ.ie is the website of Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Ireland's National Public Service Broadcaster
Meat Industry Ireland has said 12 meat plants have ceased operations as a result of ongoing protests by beef farmers.
It said its members have had to lay off staff and have suffered significant losses as a result of the pickets outside meat factories.
Most of the protests are in defiance of High Court injunctions.
The organisation, which represents meat processors, said customers of Irish suppliers are being forced to source alternative fresh beef from other countries as a result of the blockages in production.
MII Senior Director Cormac Healy said: "This damages the position of Irish beef in the marketplace."
The organisation called for the blockades to end and said the last thing the sector needed, with Brexit on the horizon, is a series of "industry blockades that prevent us supplying our customers in the UK and elsewhere".
The protests have been ongoing all week despite several High Court injunctions against the pickets at several locations.
Five meat processing companies have now been granted injunctions, ordering protesters to end the blockades.
The farmers involved say they want a better price for the cattle they are delivering to the factories for slaughter.
The President of the Irish Farmers' Association said the Minister for Agriculture needs to "haul in" meat industry Ireland to force them to put proposals on the table to improve the price farmers are paid for their cattle.
Joe Healy told RTÉ's Drivetime that Michael Creed must force the group, which represents the meat industry, to improve transparency around pricing in the industry.
Asked if farming organisations had failed to take ownership of the ongoing protests, Mr Healy said that the IFA had gone to court to take action to keep farmers out of prison.
He said there is a huge amount of anger and frustration over the price farmers are being paid for "top quality animals". He said it is not viable and unsustainable.
He said the solution to the ongoing problems is a price increase for beef farmers and he said it is a waste of time going into talks until price is on the table.
Cattle prices have been in decline and across the board and all farming organisations say it is virtually impossible for their members to meet the cost of production.
The latest company to be granted an injunction was Liffey Meats, with plants in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, Ballyjamesduff in Co Cavan, and Hacketstown, Co Carlow.
Protests continued at its facilities overnight and remain in place.
SIPTU Organiser Jason Palmer has said several hundred of its members who are factory workers have been affected by the ongoing beef protests.
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Palmer said the workers at meat processing plants have had no active part to play in this dispute and have been asked to take annual leave and endure layoffs.
The union is calling on Meat Industry Ireland to compensate factory workers who are suffering financial losses and to protect their earnings during these protests.
He said they have no issue with the farmers who are protesting and support them but are calling on Meat Industry Ireland to look after the people affected.
He said they have not yet spoken with the association...
more, including video report [3:24 min.]