Belfast Telegraph

Talks over beef crisis dispute to reconvene

Meat Industry Ireland has confirmed it will participate in the talks.

Independent farmers and supporters outside Meadow Meats in Rathdowney (Brian Lawless/PA)
Independent farmers and supporters outside Meadow Meats in Rathdowney (Brian Lawless/PA)

By Cate McCurry, PA

Talks aimed at resolving the beef crisis dispute will reopen again on Saturday.

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has confirmed it will participate in the talks.

Farmers have been protesting about the prices they receive for beef since July.

The latest round of talks comes as Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed urged those involved to enter the talks tomorrow “in good faith”.

In a statement, MII said that its members have welcomed the progress made in the last 24 hours aimed at resuming talks to resolve the beef dispute.

I expect all sides to recognise the urgency of the current situation Michael Creed

A spokesman for the MII said: “We are committed to working constructively to resolve the situation, and have always been ready to participate in talks, but only when negotiations could take place in good faith.

“We know farmers want to be able to sell their cattle, we know employees want to get back to work, and we know customers want their orders for quality Irish beef to be fulfilled.

“All parties need to focus now on delivery of these goals and on finding a prompt resolution.”

MII said that beef slaughtering operations will remain suspended in blockaded plants during the talks.

But the group said that existing limited stocks of beef must be allowed have free movement in and out of meat plants.

“This is critical to avoiding further loss of domestic and export customers for Irish beef which would be to the long-term detriment of the sector,” the statement added.

“MII has also insisted on an immediate resumption of sheep slaughtering in the two West of Ireland affected dual species plants to alleviate a serious build-up of factory ready lambs in the most sheep intensive region of the country.

Mr Creed warned the groups to step back from “entrenched positions” and urged them to take a positive approach towards resolving their differences.

“I have engaged intensively with all sides and have a deep understanding of the outstanding issues, and the emotion, involved,” he said.

“I expect all sides to recognise the urgency of the current situation, and to enter talks in good faith and with a firm intention to reach agreement tomorrow.”

PA

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