• A scuffle broke out this morning between beef farmers and the boss of Meat Industry Ireland outside the Department of Agriculture in Dublin.

    The angry scenes came ahead of the first meeting of the Beef Market Taskforce - which was set up following the dispute which led to blockades at dozens of meat factories - including Dawn Meats in Ballyhaunis.

    The talks haven't started because farmers stopped MII's representatives getting into the building.

    They say the taskforce shouldn't meet until all legal threats against farmers are lifted.


    However, Cormac Healy from Meat Industry Ireland insists the legal threats against farmers have been dropped.

  • Protests by farmers are continuing outside Dawn Meats in Ballyhaunis this morning with no sign of being called off, despite any demand by Meat Industry Ireland for pickets to be called off outside meat factories nationally if it’s members are to take part in any talks to resolve the beef crisis.

    The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed expressed disappointment yesterday at developments in relation to the beef dispute and again urged the parties to engage in a positive way to resolve the current impasse. 

    He says he has made the chairman of the reconvened beef talks available to all parties with a view to determining a basis to get the parties back to the table.

    The Minister says that he can “certainly understand farmer frustration at market conditions that see many producing beef at a significant loss” but, he insists “the closure of meat plants is in nobody’s best interests”.   

    He has repeated his request that all stakeholders “consider their positions carefully now, and take a step back from action that has the potential to be damaging for the sector as a whole, in order to allow space for meaningful talks to take place.”   

    Speaking to Midwest News this morning protesters outside Dawn Meats insisted they will not be stepping down their action, but rather are determined to stay out until Christmas if that's what it takes to secure what they consider a fair price for their product from the factories.



  • Commenting on recent claims in relation to the share of retail beef price received by producers, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has issued a statement to Midwest News saying “It is important to set the record straight on this issue.  Suggestions that farmers receive 20% of every €10 spent by consumers of beef in retail outlets are inaccurate.  In fact, the producer share of retail beef prices is closer to two-thirds.”

    Meat Industry Ireland’s statement goes on to state that “based on independently published data on Irish retail sales prices, on the mix of beef cuts purchased by Irish consumers and the yield factors involved, the actual price paid to beef producers represents 63% of the average retail beef price on a carcase weight equivalent basis. This can be independently verified.”

    “The same pattern of producer share of retail market price is evident in other EU markets where Irish beef sales predominate (UK; Germany; France; Holland).” 

    The statement concludes, “Independent commentators recognise that there is a very weak beef market, primarily caused by a very poor demand, across all major export markets as well as the uncertainty created by the risk of a No-Deal Brexit in two months.  While no one disputes that current market returns have driven cattle prices to a 5-year low, inaccurate statements on share of return from the marketplace do not help to resolve the critical challenges faced by the entire beef sector.”



  • The Beef Plan Movement says the Minister for Agriculture has failed to deliver during beef talks. The group has rejected the deal put forward last week following lengthy discussions.

    Protests have resumed at a number of meat processing plants since yesterday, but they're not endorsed by any farming representative bodies.

    A range of measures were agreed following discussions between farmers, industry and Minister Michael Creed.

    However, farmers were unhappy that the beef prices were not up for discussion during negotiations.

    The Beef Plan Movement says the proposals don't go far enough to deal with the real price controlling measures that factories and retailers place upon farmers.

    In a statement to Midwest News today Meat Industry Ireland (MII) says it’s is very disappointing that protests have resumed at a small number of beef processing sites around the country since yesterday afternoon.

    Adding that significant efforts have been made in talks between processors and farm organisations over the last fortnight; progress was made on a number of issues raised by farm representatives as well as agreement for ongoing work on several other areas which, if allowed to conclude, should be positive for beef producers. Protests should not pre-empt the outcomes of this work and neither should they undermine it.

    Obviously beef price remains a major talking point since the conclusions of the beef talks last week but beef price was not and could not be discussed during these talks. Furthermore, price is determined by conditions in the market at present which are acknowledged by all as being extremely challenging.

    Midwest News has contacted members of The Beef Plan Movement in Mayo and Sligo today for comment and we are awaiting a response.