The Tánaiste is appealing to protesting beef farmers to end their blockades of beef factories across the country.

Minister Simon Coveney says the demonstrations could cause irreversible damage to the beef sector "within days".

It comes as fresh legal threats have been issued by Dawn Meats against the Beef Plan Movement, regarding damages for losses that may have been incurred during the protests.

The company has also contacted Gardaí about protesters wearing masks outside some of its factories, describing it as a "sinister development".

Speaking at the Ploughing Championships in Carlow this afternoon, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said farm families could become the casualty of the dispute:

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