As the deadlock continues in the beef dispute, some 3,000 people were temporarily laid off from meat plants across the country yesterday - including a number of workers at Dawn Meats in Ballyhaunis.
Meat Industry Ireland has blamed the protests and blockades at factory gates by farmers, and has warned that further layoffs are likely in the coming days unless the protests are stood down.
However, the Beef Plan Movement says farmers are not to blame for staff layoffs at meat factories, and says MII should not have pulled out of Monday's talks.
Roscommon TD Denis Naughten is calling on IBEC - the umbrella organisation for Meat Industry Ireland, to directly intervene in the beef dispute, and ensure both it and Retail Ireland - representing the major supermarkets - get around the negotiating table before irreparable damage is caused to the beef industry.
The Independent TD says Meat Industry Ireland's decision to walk away from talks and lock the gates will not only fail to resolve the current price impasse, but is likely to lead to farmers leaving the industry altogether, which will have long-term consequences for meat processors.
Deputy Naughten says the situation can only be resolved around the table, and we need constructive movement from the meat industry and IBEC.