Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has confirmed that talks aimed at resolving the crisis over beef prices will reconvene next week.

In a statement this morning, Mr Creed said there was now a basis for talks to begin, adding that it was vital that stakeholders engage in a spirit of compromise.

He said: "We have reached a point where it is critically important for the future of the sector that stakeholders engage in a spirit of compromise to resolve a dispute that has the potential to inflict long term damage on the sector if it continues.

"It is clear that this can only happen if processors and protesters step back from court proceedings and illegal blockades, in order to allow space for meaningful talks to proceed."

Mr Creed confirmed that his department would be contacting stakeholders during the day to make the necessary arrangements.

It comes as the Beef Plan movement said it was vital that retailers were at the table to address a range of issues.

Pickets at meat plants are continuing, with a new protest beginning this morning at Kepak in Kilbeggan.

A group of farmers assembled at the plant early this morning.

Many of the main farming organisations support a return to talks. Yesterday evening, the Beef Plan Movement recommended that farmers should suspend protest action to allow discussions to proceed.

It said that the relationship between processors and farmers can only heal if "all legal action is officially removed and meaningful negotiations are concluded".

The group said it was extremely concerned that supermarkets had not engaged in discussions around the requirements and specification of the beef they buy.

The group said that three weeks after it stood down its protest action at meat plants, it was "unfair" that it was still named in ongoing legal proceedings.

The Beef Plan Movement had organised protests at meat plants during the summer, but stood the action down ahead of beef talks. The group is not involved in the organisation of the current protests taking place at meat factories.

Earlier, Meat Industry Ireland, the group representing meat processors in Ireland, had said its members would defer legal proceedings if talks in relation to the beef crisis were reconvened.

Protesting farmers have staged pickets outside meat plants and blockades for more than 11 days, saying the prices that the meat plants are paying them for their cattle makes their enterprises unviable.

In a statement released to RTÉ News, MII said its members were willing to defer legal action so that talks could take place.

The group said that in return, it expected protest action at meat factories would also be suspended.