Farmers who had been protesting outside of the Kepak meat processing plant in Drumquin have withdrawn from the site.
The move appears to bring an end the weeks-long dispute that had seen the beef industry effectively come to a halt, although the Independent Farmers Alliance Group warns that demonstrations may resume if the industry isn’t reformed.
Clare FM’s Gavin Grace reports.
The farmers formally withdrew their picket from the Kepak plant in Drumquin at midnight last night.
In a statement, the Independent Farmers group says it was ended temporarily and reluctantly, and out of consideration for other farmers who may need to sell livestock to relieve cash flow and specification issues.
The group also says they have considered the thousands of meat factory workers who have been laid off, and the concern that the dispute may have damaged export markets.
The move here mirrors that at some other protest sites across the country, with pickets in Cork, Tipperary, Mayo, Monaghan, Meath and Longford also among those coming to an end.
In the statement, the Independent Farmers insist farmers will no longer accept what’s described as a “punitive” market share, and warns they’ll resume protests if price does not improve in line with the agreement struck at talks last Sunday.
It brings an end – for now at least – to protests which first began nearly two months ago, but it’s reported that meat production won’t resume until all demonstrations have been lifted.
Only then, will farmers find out if they are to receive the improved prices they are seeking, or if this saga has caused longer-term damage to the industry.
PJ Baldwin, from near Gort in South Galway, was one of those who was protesting at Drumquin.
He has explained why farmers have taken this decision.