The issue of the ongoing beef protests was raised at a meeting of the Claremorris/Swinford Municipal district today. Councilor Damien Ryan told his fellow councilors that the issue would not be sorted in the Four Courts, but by further consultation and round table discussions. He called on the Minister Michael Creed to make this possible.
Cllr Ryan, a resident of Ballinrobe, said that immediate intervention is needed to get people back to work.
He spoke about the blockade that prevented Chinese delegates from entering the Kepak facility in Athleague and said that their visit should have been fully facilitated at the time.
Cllr John Cribben said that this is “a crisis situation” and that all sides need to work together to find a “permanent solution to a major problem.”
“Farmers want a fair price. This can only be resolved around the negotiating table. When the construction industry collapsed a number of years ago, it was the agricultural sector that rose to the challenge. Farming has to kept alive” continued Cllr Cribben.
The process for the undertaking of a meeting between Minister Creed and a group of farmers and Cllr Cribben remarked that he was delighted to see this process underway.
Cllr John Caulfield said that every town in the area is affected by the ongoing protests and said that all efforts must be made to bring this situation to its conclusion.
Cllr Neil Cruise mentioned a point that businessman Pat McDonagh brought up in the weeks gone by and that is that it is difficult for an independent farmer to be expected to survive when the farmer is getting far less money than he was 20 years ago.
He said that a far more unified approach is needed from all sides moving forwards in order to resolve the ongoing dispute.