Latest: An agreement to the end beef crisis has been reached after marathon talks over the weekend, the agriculture minister has confirmed.
The deal includes an immediate increase in prices for farmers and reform of the Irish beef sector.
Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said the agreement was reached between meat industry representatives and farm organisations including the Beef Plan Movement.
The agreement involves a number of interventions to provide immediate benefit for beef producers, as well as a range of strategic measures to address structural imbalances in the sector.
Farmers have been protesting about the prices they receive for beef since July.
Confirming details of the agreement, Mr Creed said: “Beef producers will benefit from an immediate increase in a range of bonuses, including an increase of 66% in the current in-spec bonus for steers and heifers from 12 cent to 20 cent per kilo.”
It also include a new bonus of 8 cent per kilo for steers and heifers aged 30 to 36 months.
The minister said a beef market taskforce will be established to develop a pathway for the beef sector in terms of economic, environmental and social sustainability.
The taskforce will be independently chaired by an appointee of the minister, and will include department officials, state agencies and nominees from farm organisations and the meat industry.
Mr Creed said the taskforce will provide a robust implementation structure for commitments entered into in the agreement, with timelines and stakeholder engagement.
The government expects the agreement will bring to an end protests outside meat processing factories.
In a statement Mr Creed said: “A number of actions in the area of market transparency, beef promotion and strengthening the position of the farmer in the supply chain were agreed upon.
“For example, an immediate scientific review of the Quality Payment Grid by Teagasc, an independent review of market and customer requirements, specifically in relation to the four in-spec bonus criteria currently in operation in the Irish beef sector.
“The agreed measures set a course towards greater clarity for all stakeholders involved in the beef supply chain, primarily farmers.
“I wish to thank all participants in this process for their contribution towards agreeing a way forward for the Irish beef sector.
“I hope that this agreement will prove to be a first step in fostering stronger partnerships in this critical sector for the Irish economy and for rural Ireland.”- Press Association
The Independent Farmers of Ireland group has issued a statement, stressing that the agreement only comes into effect when pickets are stood down from all affected factories.
It says that despite reports the deal is done, that decision can only be taken by protestors at the factory gates.
Talks to find a resolution to the ongoing beef row are continuing at the Department of Agriculture.
The various groups involved in the dispute are considering proposals.
The Irish Food Board is reassuring consumers about the quality and traceability of processed Irish meat.
Bord Bia says it is aware some Irish beef products are currently being processed at plants outside the Republic of Ireland - but says the practice is being carried out within fully traceable guidelines - in order to secure continued supplies.
Meanwhile, sources close to this weekend's ongoing talks in Dublin say there is "an appetite for a deal" after seven weeks of protests.