The latest moves by some of the protesting farmers to abandon the blockades seem to have been agreed upon after local negotiations with factory owners and political representatives in some areas.

All of the statements issued in the last 12 hours by the farmers in the midlands and around the country point to a reliance on the draft beef plan and face-to-face discussions that some claim they have been offered by the Minister for Agriculture.

The ultimate test of the "ceasefire" under way will of course be the reaction by livestock owners to the next base price offered for beef when the factories ramp up again.

After a day when another 100 workers were laid off temporarily in the local area, protesters in Cahir said they were moving away on the basis that the draft plan agreed on beef prices and bonuses that was sent to Michael Creed would be examined and addressed without haste.

The atmosphere in Cahir has been tense for days, between workers, the factory and even the media, so the first test of the proposed resolution could well come here when a base price is eventually issued.

Last night’s statement from Meat Industry Ireland was their strongest to date, though whether or not they go through with efforts to engage the Department of Justice with the clearance of the remaining blockades today is another issue.

The gardaí have shown little interest in getting involved in some of the peaceful protests around the country over the last three weeks and, with the end in sight of the present blockades, it’s thought to be unlikely they will intervene now.

The Independent Farmers of Ireland group says the deal hammered out with the meat industry last weekend is the key to stabilising incomes for beef farmers. 

Commenting on the decision of four more groups of protesters to step down their blockades overnight, the IFI said: "When this group is added to Slane, ABP Ferrybank, Slaney, Nenagh, Rathkeale and Roscrea it is quite clear that the majority of the protesters have decided that the proposal agreed last Sunday provides the best blueprint for the future."

Describing the final proposal as "not ideal"  the IFI says it is clear that the majority of people feel it can provide a solid foundation for the future.

Farmers in Clones and Kepak in Ballymahon have also indicated they are leaving the gates. Following a lot of talks at the factory in recent nights, the protesters in Ballymahon have vowed to pursue a meeting with Minister Creed who had said he is "willing to meet anyone involved to help resolve the issue."

The farmers at Kepak Ballymahon say they will stand down their picket one hour before the talks begin with Mr Creed. At that point they may well be the last group at a blockade in the country.