Talks have resumed in an effort to resolve a dispute between farmers and the meat industry over the price of beef and the future of the beef sector.

Discussions began last week after several weeks of pickets outside meat plants around the country by members of the Beef Plan Movement.

These led to the closure of some plants, a reduction of processing capacity in others and the temporary lay-off of many workers.

David Whelehan, a member of the Beef Plan Movement, said he is confident there will be a positive outcome from the latest meeting.

Speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said the industry up until now had been in denial about its problems.

Mr Whelehan said: "We have a membership base that is facing financial ruin. We have an industry that's in complete denial up until now about the state of the industry.

"There's no transparency. All the farmers want is a fair share of the end retail price."

He added farmers do not want handouts and just want to be paid fairly for what they produce.

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Last week's negotiations were described as tense and technical by those involved.

But progress was reported by all sides, with movement on a range of issues, including a review of the pricing grid, a grading system that determines how much farmers are paid for their cattle.

Progress was also made around the issue of live weighing in meat factories, the provision of written contracts by the industry and on an examination of how suckler beef is marketed.

Around transparency, the possible development of a price index that would help relate prices for processed beef in the market back to the prices paid to farmers was also discussed.

The talks were adjourned early on Tuesday morning to allow information to be gathered and the meat industry to consult its members on particular issues.

A document summarising the conclusions from the first session and setting out next steps was then issued by the independent chairman to the parties during the middle of the last week.

It formed the starting point when all sides gathered again this morning to resume discussions, with the issue of the price index expected to take centre stage.