Lowry appeals to protestors outside meat plants to stand down

Deputy Michael Lowry has appealed to protestors outside meat plants to stand down and withdraw pickets.

This is necessary to allow for the positive measures, agreed at the weekend beef forum to be implemented.

Also, to allow for the establishment of the independent review of all aspects of the Beef Industry in Ireland.

The protests have created awareness and concentrated minds on the problems endured for many years by beef producers.

Any further continuation of the blockades could be deemed irresponsible and do irrevocable damage to the future of the beef industry. Everyone recognises and acknowledges that primary beef producers must be supported with a view to increasing the price for beef production. The current impasse is having a devastating negative impact on the entire industry.

Farmers want and need to sell cattle but are denied access to the factories. Every day we have cattle exceeding the 30 month clause and decreasing in value. It is alarming to witness exporters losing markets in the UK and Europe which may never be recovered.

Cattle dealers are effectively redundant as they cannot fulfil their contractual agreements.

Hauliers are stationary because there is little movement in the cattle trade. Many hauliers are dependent on haulage to the factories to meet leasing arrangements on their trucks.

There are 355 staff currently laid off at ABP Cahir plant since last Monday and 67 workers laid off at ABP Nenagh plant since last week. A further 182 workers at ABP Cahir Plant and 150-200 staff at ABP Nenagh Plant are facing being laid off by the end of the week. That is a total of over 750 workers between Cahir and Nenagh factories. The workers and their dependent families are at a substantial financial loss. This loss of income means that many families are unable to meet their financial obligations with resulting hardship and stress.

This ongoing saga is extremely damaging. There are no winners or losers in this debacle. Common sense needs to prevail, and the industry needs to be rescued from the cliff edge.

This dispute can only be resolved by dialogue and negotiation, in particular it is crucial a pricing model is put in place that reflects the beef farmers input and commands the trust and respect of everyone involved in the sector.



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