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Clare beef protest continues despite promise of talks

PROTESTS are continuing at the Kepak plant in Tiermaclane this afternoon, despite agreement being reached that the Beef Plan Movement and Meat Industry Ireland enter into talks on Monday.

The Tiermaclane protest is no longer being run by Beef Plan, and when the Clare Champion visited the site this afternoon, there were still a number of demonstrators there, while the gates of the plant are locked.

Joseph Woulfe is Chair of the Beef Plan movement in the county, but at the site today, he said that Beef Plan are no longer co-ordinating the protest. “People are coming who aren’t members of anything, they’re just coming to air what’s going on with them.”

While there are reports today that meetings aimed at resolving the situation will take place on Monday, Mr Woulfe said he has very little information as yet. “I had a message on the phone, saying to stand down and we’re talking to Creed and this kind of thing. Then I rang a couple of the Chairs from the other places and they said we know as much as you know.”

He said that around 70 farmers were on the protest last night, while he expects a large crowd again this evening.

Mr Woulfe said that the plant would normally be closed on a Saturday and a Sunday anyway, but he understands that on Friday it only processed around 50% of the normal amount of cattle. It has been reported that workers were asked not to come in, due to the situation.

Footage is available of trucks arriving to the plant in the early hours, only to turn away due to the protestors presence. It is understood that a vehicle ariving to the factory came into contact with a protestor this week, but there was no serious injury caused. However the situation has certainly been tense at times, with protestors causing long delays for those bringing deliveries to the plant.

Mr Woulfe criticised the lack of intervention by Government to help beef farmers, and said the protestors are reacting to it. “It’s like as if they had their fingers in their ears all along, ignoring a large number of people in society. The people have now revolted and said look, you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do.”

Owen Ryan

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.