The Longford-based processing site had been subject to protests and blockades that coincided with similar action at beef processing plants across Ireland, however management expressed concern over employee safety during the action.
In a statement from C&D Foods, a spokesperson said: “C&D Foods Edgeworthstown, a pet food facility, was illegally blockaded in September, staff were intimidated and C&D Foods were forced to lay off 187 employees of the 612 people employed on the site.
“The blockade was led by Fine Gael Cllr Pauric Brady and Colm Leonard, a local carpenter, in conjunction with the Beef Plan Movement. We have an obligation to protect our employees and our business. We sought and were granted Injunctions to allow our employees to return to work safely. We made a complaint to the Gardaí following threats made against management in relation to these injunctions.
“Over the past few weeks we have met with and received assurances from the Minister for Justice and Minister for Agriculture in relation to the intimidation and threats made against management. We understand and respect the right to picket and peacefully protest but there is no place for blockades, threats and intimidation of staff and suppliers. The Minister for Justice has assured us that the relevant authorities will act to protect our employees, our business and uphold the rule of law. Following these consultations and assurances we have decided to apply to strike out these injunctions.”
The statement stressed that C&D Foods does not buy or process cattle and is financed and managed separately and independently from ABP. It added that C&D Foods is not a member of Meat Industry Ireland.
Irish Farmers Association president Joe Healy welcomed the lifting of the injunctions and said “the fact that these injunctions remained in place was petty and mean spirited”.
Healy also urged progress on the beef situation. “The Beef Taskforce needs to be convened as soon as a possible,” he said. “What farmers are really looking for now is a price increase. This is now well overdue as shown in the new Beef Price Index and the fact that the price has increased substantially in other markets.”