Meat Industry Ireland has pulled out of today's talks aimed at resolving the dispute between farmers and meat factories over beef prices.

The group says it has pulled out of talks until all illegal blockades outside meat factories have been lifted.

Farmers are continuing to  protest at some 20 meat processing plants across the country - which represent 80% of processing capacity.

Meat Industry Ireland has expressed frustration at the refusal of protesters to respond to the Agriculture  Minister's call to step back while talks resume.

The ICSA has called on Meat Industry Ireland to reconsider its decision to abstain from the talks, saying the onus is on the processors to come to the talks and bring real offers to the table, as farmers cannot survive at current prices, which are well below the cost of production.

Macra na Feirme has also expressed disappointment the MII has withdrawn from the talks, and says it puts the future of the entire beef sector at risk as no progress can be made in the absence of the meat industry representatives.



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