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An irate truck driver is seen shouting at protesters as a Garda moves to calm the situation during the farmers protest at the Kepak meat processing plant in Tiermaclane. Photograph by John Kelly.

Emotions run high at Kepak protest

THERE were dramatic scenes at the Kepak plant in Drumquin this evening, as farmers from the Beef Plan movement in Clare delayed trucks from entering and leaving.

Gardai were summoned to the site as emotions ran very high at certain times.

When the Clare Champion arrived this afternoon a group of about 20 farmers were walking in circular formation at the front gate to the plant, preventing two trucks from leaving, while another truck was waiting to enter, just up the road.

While the truck driver attempted to inch forward whenever gaps in the circle of protestors emerged, there was no way he could get out, until the farmers finally opted to relent and allow him to leave.

However at this point there was an attempt to get the second truck past the protestors, something that inflamed the crowd, and they succeeded in stopping that truck from exiting.

Shortly afterwards Gardai arrived on the scene, and they sought to speak with representatives of the company and leaders of the farmers’ protest.

Gardai talk to protesters including beef plan movement founder Joseph Woulfe, at Centre, during the farmers protest at the Kepak meat processing plant in Tiermaclane. Photograph by John Kelly.

Protracted negotiations followed, and tempers were clearly on edge at certain times. At one point an irate truck driver hoping to leave launched a tirade towards the protestors, telling them “to f**k back now” along with various other exhortations.

After much discussion between members of the Gardai and representatives of both sides, the protestors finally allowed two trucks to leave, and another one to enter.

Joe Woulfe, Chairman of the Beef Plan in Clare said he was glad that compromise was eventually found. “It was very tense. I was trying to mediate, when you put 30-40 people together they have different points of view, and when you try to bring them together it can be difficult,” he reflected.

Musician and farmer Micheal Sexton entertains protestors during the farmers picket at the Kepak meat processing plant in Tiermaclane. Photograph by John Kelly.

Owen Ryan

About Owen Ryan

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.
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