Hopes for a breakthrough in the ongoing beef crisis have been raised after agriculture minister Micheal Creed met representatives from both sides of the dispute.
Farmers have been blockading meat processing plants around the country since late July in protest at cattle prices. Fears that the beef crisis may become entrenched intensified after Meat Industry Ireland pulled out of planned talks earlier this week.
However, a number of positive developments emerged from talks held at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in Dublin yesterday evening.
Describing the talks as “a first significant step towards a resolution”, Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association president, Pat McCormack, confirmed that an agreement had been reached that sets out a mechanism that involves meat processing factories ceasing operation and protestors lifting their pickets.
It is hoped that such a sequence of events can enable meaningful talks aimed at a resolution to begin shortly thereafter.
Mr McCormack said that this process, if delivered upon, should give “the space necessary for parties to engage on the basis of good faith, and deliver a solution to what is now a major problem coming on top of other very serious challenges already facing Irish farming and food production”.