Pet food maker secures permanent injunctions against protesters including FG councillor

Pet food maker secures permanent injunctions against protesters including FG councillor
The Four Courts. File photo.

A Midlands-based pet food manufacturer has secured permanent injunctions preventing protesters from blockading its premises and intimidating persons working or visiting its plant.

The orders were made in favour of C&D Pet Foods, which is located at Edgeworthstown Co Longford by Mr Justice Tony O'Connor during Friday's sitting of the High Court.

The injunctions permanently prevent the defendants, their agents and anyone who has knowledge of the orders from trespassing at or blockading the plant, and from intimidating individuals going to and from the plant.

Patricia Hill Bl for the two named defendants in the case - Fine Gael Cllr Paraic Brady of The Meadows, Drumlish, Co Longford, and Colm Leonard of Aughanoran Dring Co Longford - told the court that the orders could be made on consent.

Brian O'Moore SC for C&D said while the orders were on consent a protest is ongoing outside the plant.

Counsel added that his client will give consideration "to all options" available to it, should the need arise.

Earlier this week the company sought orders against protesters, who C&D claimed had for several days physically obstructed the plant's entrance, in support of farmers involved in the on-going dispute with meat processors over the price of beef.

The company claimed that if the blockade wasn't lifted more than 500 workers in the locality faced being laid off and that its business reputation would be severely damaged.

C&D is owned by the ABP Food Group, which is one of Ireland's largest beef processors.

C&D claimed that despite the fact it plays no part in determining prices paid for beef, as it mainly uses pork and chicken in its products, it has been "tactically targeted by protesters purely on the basis that it is part of the ABP group."

C&D said it did not wish to halt any peaceful or lawful protest outside the plant, However, the defendants and others have gone beyond a legitimate peaceful protest, it claimed.

It claimed the protesters maintained the blockade by walking in continuous circles around trucks trying to leave or enter the plant.

The protest meant that deliveries had to be cancelled.

The blockade caused major disruption to the firm's business and that only two of its 8 production lines are currently operating. This has resulted in a loss in revenue of €400,000, C&D alleged.

It also alleged that its staff were subjected to threatening and abusive language from the protesters.

A nearby packaging business is also affected by the protest, it was further claimed.

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