Laois factory amongst those reported to be laying off staff as Beef Plan protest continues

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Laois factory amongst those reported to be laying off staff as Beef Plan protest continues

The Beef Plan protest movement

The three biggest beef processors in the country are to lay off staff as the Beef Plan protests continue, according to the Irish Farmers Journal. 

Cattle supplies to factories owned by Dawn Meats, which owns Meadow Meats in Rathdowney, ABP and Kepak have been reduced and the factories are now moving to lay off staff, the Irish Farmers Journal is reporting. 

Dawn Meats is to lay off staff across all its sites, according to the report. 

The Beef Plan protest has been in operation around the clock at the Rathdowney factory since Monday, July 29. 

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has called on the Beef Plan to "abandon their illegal blockades at factories."

The Irish Farmers Journal is reporting that Meadow Meats Rathdowney, ABP Cahir, ABP Nenagh, ABP Bandon, ABP Waterford, Dawn Meats Grannagh, Dawn Meats Ballyhaunis, Liffey Meats Ballinasloe, Liffey Meats Ballyjamesduff, Slaney Foods and Liffey Meats Hacketstown are not operating.

The Laois County Chairperson and South Eastern regional chairman of the Beef Plan Movement, Enda Fingleton told the Leinster Express that Beef Plan was still waiting to hear from Meat Industry Ireland. 

"Our members do not want us to stand down these protests until talks are underway and an agreement is reached," Mr Fingleton said. "That is the bottom line."

"It is very regrettable that staff are being laid off, that is not what we wanted," he stated. 

"We find ourselves in an awful situation. We are trying to address getting a fairer market for ourselves, to get rid of these restrictions and anti-competitive practices."

Mr Fingleton said that no farmers had presented at Meadow Meats trying to get their stock into the factory. He also added that the factory had not been operational since last Friday morning. 

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed said, "the Minister deeply regrets that efforts by his office to reach out to the Beef Plan Movement to enter a process of dialogue and to temporarily suspend their protests has been rejected.  

"A round table discussion regarding the current market difficulties involving all stakeholders including Minister Creed, farm organisations, representatives of the beef processing sector, Meat Industry Ireland, the Department and its agencies has been offered to the Beef Plan movement," the Department said.

"In light of the announcement of lay offs in the meat processing sector, the difficult income situation facing farmers with livestock for slaughter and on animal welfare grounds, the Minister is again calling on the Beef Plan Movement to reflect on its position and to take up the invitation to enter into talks.”