The senior director of Meat Industry Ireland has claimed that some of the protesters outside meat processing plants are not suppliers.
Cormac Healy also said that irreparable damage is being done to the Irish beef industry and there remains “a big question” about the number of customers who will remain after the dispute.
“This is the wrong position to be in so close to Brexit,” he told RTÉ radio’s.
Mr Healy said there needs to be leadership in the debate. Seven farming organisations were involved in the talks facilitated by the Minister for Agriculture over the weekend.
If people were sent forward as representatives for the protestors, their asks were addressed. We should have expected that everyone would now consider the matter resolved.
Mr Healy acknowledged that some discussions about base prices were ongoing with individual companies, but they were essentially “being blackmailed” by those blockading the gates.
“The meat industry entered the talks in good faith even though the blockade continued. The negotiations went on all weekend. We listened to the asks of the seven farming organisations.
“Agreement was reached on those asks, they were replied to and responded to. The farming organisations left the meeting saying agreement had been reached.”
Mr Healy said that the base price could not be discussed in the context of the discussions as it was determined by the European beef market which continues to be very depressed, he said.
When asked if legal action will be taken by the beef processing companies against protesters, he said: “that’s not where we’re at. Farmers should be allowed process their cattle and not be held up by a few.”