Local Beef Plan Movement officials remain pessimistic about the outcome of talks to resolve the ongoing dispute between the group and meat factories.
Vice-Chairman of the Roscommon Beef Plan Movement, Conal Tiernan, told the Roscommon People on Wednesday that he remained unconvinced that factories had “the appetite” to resolve the ongoing dispute.
Meat Industry Ireland has presented proposals to the meat factories and there is expected to be white smoke from those discussions later today (Thursday).
Protests at factories nationwide had been halted last weekend ahead of talks between Meat Industry Ireland and the Beef Plan Movement as well as representatives from the farm organisations and the Department of Agriculture.
The twelve-day picket of Kepak in Athleague was called off last Friday after the Department of Agriculture had called for all protests and legal proceedings to be suspended ahead of the talks.
Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice had reacted to proposed legal action by Meat Industry Ireland last week.
He said: “If MII wishes to persevere with this course of action against the Beef Plan Movement, we could be left in a situation where ordinary farmers – with no affiliation to any group – decide to maintain the protests.
“It could potentially end up where you could have a couple of hundred farmers on the picket line with no official direction. What would MII do then?”
Fellow Independent TD Denis Naughten urged all sides to ensure that “meaningful engagement commences” having previously called for supermarkets to be part of the round table discussion proposed by Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.
Deputy Naughten said there was a need for transparency when it came to price margins across the beef supply chain and supermarkets “must justify beef specifications”.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy had said the talks must deliver results for beef farmers after “determined action by Beef Farmers in support of the Beef Plan Movement protests forced Meat Factories to the negotiating table”.
“Base beef prices are now lower than experienced during the reference period of September to May covered by the recently announced EU co-funded BEAM scheme. Further assistance for farmers is required and Minister Creed needs to provide the assurances that this will be forthcoming.
“Such funding should not have unnecessary conditions attached and reflect the market disturbance currently being experienced,” he said.