Meat plants close in Ireland due to protests over 'fair' prices
Twelve meat plants in the Republic of Ireland have ceased operations due to beef farmers' protests over pricing, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has said.
Protests have been held at meat processing factories across Ireland since early August.
Five meat processing companies have been granted injunctions, ordering protesters to end the blockades.
MII, which represents meat processors, said members have had to cease operations due to the pickets.
The organisation said staff had been laid off and customers of Irish suppliers had been forced to source alternative fresh beef from other countries as a result of the blockages in production.
MII senior director Cormac Healy said: "This damages the position of Irish beef in the marketplace."
Farmers are seeking a better price for the cattle they are delivering to the factories for slaughter.
Cattle prices have been in decline and farming organisations say it is virtually impossible for their members to meet the cost of production.
Protest body the Beef Plan Movement said it wants a "fair increase" in beef prices and would keep picketing factories until the government intervenes.