Dawn Meats Ballyhaunis has resumed processing of sheep for the first time in over a week.

The factory operated at reduced capacity on Thursday and is doing similar on Friday.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands the resumption of sheep processing came after local farmers and producer groups met with members of the Mayo Beef Plan and appealed for sheep to be allowed through the picket line.

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Demand for sheepmeat is at its highest at present, with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha underpinning the strongest demand annually over the last decade.

Mediator

Meanwhile, the Irish Natura and Hill Sheep Farmers Association (INHFA) has called for a mediator to be appointed to break the deadlock position currently unfolding between the Beef Plan movement, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.

The INHFA president Colm O’Donnell said: “Sheep farmers, by default, have become embroiled in the dispute, particularly in the northwest where you have the highest number of new-season lambs now fully fit for slaughter and in danger of falling out of factory specification on weight and fat score.

"While these farmers continue to support and respect the picket, as a matter of urgency these farmers genuinely need to have access to the market without delay.

"This is unacceptable, given that sheep plants in other parts of the country are unaffected."

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