Dawn Meats said it has called gardaí over the presence of “masked individuals” at a blockade outside of one of its factories, in what it called a 'sinister development' in the ongoing demonstrations over the price paid to farmers for cattle.
The development came before the first of the blockades was lifted outside the Dawn Meats factory in Slane, Co Meath this afternoon.
The company said the individuals appeared outside the Dawn Meats plant at Grannagh, near Waterford, earlier this week.
Dawn Meats released footage and still photographs taken from security footage at the facilities.
The company had laid off over 300 workers at the plant last week.
“The use of balaclavas to hide the protestors’ identity is a sinister and unsettling development,” a company spokesperson said.
“It demonstrates that these people are well aware of the illegality of their actions. It is depressing that the law of the land can be openly disobeyed with impunity.
“If these protestors genuinely felt that they had right on their side, they would show their identities and face the consequences of their actions.
Instead, they leave local farmers unable to sell their animals, and hundreds of staff without work,” Dawn Meats said.
The company said masked protestors have also been seen outside its Meadow Meats facility in Rathdowney, which it said faces possible closure if protests continue.
“Dawn Meats remains firmly of the view that is only through all stakeholders in the industry working together to grow demand for Irish beef, attract new customers and enter new markets that the current challenging pricing environment can hope to be addressed,” a company statement said.