Meat Industry Ireland (MII) today confirmed that all illegal blockades have now been removed from member beef processing facilities throughout the country. The last of these were removed last night. Beef processing is recommencing in some sites today and will be fully operational later this week. Sheep processing has also recommenced in the west of Ireland plants.
Beef processors are contacting employees who were regrettably laid-off over recent weeks to inform them that they will be recommencing processing this week. Unfortunately, members are stating that some personnel will not be returning to work in the beef sector as they have gained employment in other sectors.
Members are already in contact with their regular farmer suppliers to schedule deliveries, which have been prevented over the last eight weeks. Over 100,000 cattle that would, in normal circumstances, have been processed by now, have been backed up due to the disruption over recent weeks
Beef processors are also engaging with their customer base after this damaging period to seek to rebuild business over the period ahead. This will take some time as many customers have made their purchasing plans without Irish beef and committed to supply arrangements with alternative suppliers for at least the next number of weeks. There will be a need for additional marketing and promotional activity to support Irish beef in the period ahead and MII will discuss this with the Department of Agriculture and Bord Bia.
The provisions of the Irish Beef Sector Agreement – 15th September 2019 will now commence implementation.
As processors recommence operations and try to return to normal business, a major focus for all is the prospect of Brexit at the end of October and the detrimental implications of a No-Deal outcome for our entire sector.