Representatives of Meat Industry Ireland (MII) including its Director Cormac Healy were refused access to the meeting this morning by protestors.
On their arrival, MII representatives claimed they were physically and aggressively prevented from entering the Department by a number of farmer protestors.
The Minister for Agriculture Food & Marine, Michael Creed condemned this morning’s incidents.
“It is in the interests of everyone involved in the beef industry that the work of the Taskforce goes ahead. The Taskforce’s remit is to monitor the implementation of the actions arising from the agreement reached on September 15 and offers the most viable platform for strategic engagement with key stakeholders. It was a great pity that farm representatives were not in a position to air the legitimate concerns of farmers at the Taskforce.”
Meanwhile, the Beef Plan Movement last night told its members it would be seeking to have the first meeting of the Beef Taskforce adjourned over until “letters of discontinuance” are issued to all farmers under legal threat.
The organisation said it will deliver in person, a letter to the Beef Taskforce chairman to address and bring about a resolution to the issue.
The Independent Farmers of Ireland (IFOI) group said it will not be participating in the Beef Market Taskforce until such time as all injunctions and costs against all individuals that protested are struck out in their entirety.
IFA President Joe Healy said that the first thing the Beef Taskforce will have to do at its first meeting today is to address outstanding injunctions against farmers.
Ahead of the meeting, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) said the commitment to withdraw legal proceedings connected to the illegal blockading of beef plants has been honoured by the beef companies concerned.
However, it is understood individuals who protested at C&D foods a pet food facility in Longford remain under legal threat. C&D Foods is wholly owned by Larry Goodman and the ABP Group.
IFA President Joe Healy said the refusal of Larry Goodman and the ABP group to lift all the injunctions against farmers arising from the recent beef dispute was petty and mean spirited.
“It amounts to Larry Goodman giving ‘two fingers’ to the Minister,” he said.
Joe Healy said the Minister should have ensured that the injunctions and legal proceedings were lifted before today.
“This was a clear commitment in the beef sector agreement presided over by Minister Creed last month,” he said.
“Today’s events were avoidable. IFA had made it clear to the Minister that the legal proceedings had to be resolved prior to the Task Force convening and we did not go into to today’s meeting,” he said.
IFA is acting for one of the farmers and has been in contact with ABP’s legal representatives seeking the removal of these injunctions.
“What we saw today was a further boiling over of frustration from farmers who see Larry Goodman doing what he likes in contradiction to a written agreement negotiated by the Minister,” he said.