Large group of farmers pickets Musgrave's centre in Kildare ahead of planned talks over beef crisis

Large group of farmers pickets Musgrave's centre in Kildare ahead of planned talks over beef crisis

A large group of farmers has begun demonstrating this evening outside Musgrave's Distribution Centre in Kilcock in County Kildare.

It is understood some are members of the Beef Plan Movement which earlier today issued a statement, welcoming tomorrow's planned talks to end the current dispute.

However, they warned that farmers' concerns would have to be addressed in full.

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has already confirmed it will participate in tomorrows talks in Dublin, while the Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has urged all sides to engage "in good faith".

In a statement earlier today, MII said that its members have welcomed the progress made in the last 24 hours aimed at resuming talks to resolve the beef dispute.

A spokesman for the MII said: “We are committed to working constructively to resolve the situation, and have always been ready to participate in talks, but only when negotiations could take place in good faith.

“We know farmers want to be able to sell their cattle, we know employees want to get back to work, and we know customers want their orders for quality Irish beef to be fulfilled.

“All parties need to focus now on delivery of these goals and on finding a prompt resolution.”

MII said that beef slaughtering operations will remain suspended in blockaded plants during the talks.

But the group said that existing limited stocks of beef must be allowed have free movement in and out of meat plants.

“This is critical to avoiding further loss of domestic and export customers for Irish beef which would be to the long-term detriment of the sector,” the statement added.

“MII has also insisted on an immediate resumption of sheep slaughtering in the two West of Ireland affected dual species plants to alleviate a serious build-up of factory ready lambs in the most sheep intensive region of the country.

Mr Creed warned the groups to step back from “entrenched positions” and urged them to take a positive approach towards resolving their differences.

“I have engaged intensively with all sides and have a deep understanding of the outstanding issues, and the emotion, involved,” he said.

“I expect all sides to recognise the urgency of the current situation, and to enter talks in good faith and with a firm intention to reach agreement tomorrow.”

- Press Association

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