The Beef Plan Movement and Meat Industry Ireland have accepted compromise proposals aimed at ending the dispute over beef prices.

The talks are due to take place next Monday.

Pickets at meat processing plants and legal proceedings are to be suspended with immediate effect until the talks have ended.

The protests outside factories, which had lasted for over a week, led to a slowdown in beef production, as well as the temporary layoff of workers.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, who had called for both sides to meet for talks, said this evening: "All protests at meat processing plants and legal proceedings are to be suspended with immediate effect until the agreed talks have concluded.

"A meeting will be held on Monday August 12th involving both MII and the Beef Plan Movement and also including representatives from the farm organisations, the department and its agencies."

Minister Creed will appoint an independent chairperson for the discussions.

The protesters were mounting pickets in an attempt to get better prices for their beef. 

They said that they used to make between €10 and €20 a head per animal, but now lose between €150 and €200 per animal.

Meat Industry Ireland has welcomed the talks and said the protests "had brought beef processing to a virtual standstill in the country, causing significant disruption in the beef trade and also led to temporary staff layoffs."

They added the protests caused "real damage" to the domestic and export business and said it was "high time for the sector to get back to business.''

Edmond Phelan, Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association president, also welcomed Monday's talks and said: "the last two weeks of protests have demonstrated clearly that the Irish beef sector must be reconfigured...If we value this industry, then the time to protect it and to develop it in a way that is sustainable for all is now."

Earlier, members of the Beef Plan Movement had received legal letters from five meat processors in relation to protests the group was coordinating at around 20 meat factories around the country.

Solicitors' letters had been received - some via email and others via courier - from ABP, Dawn Meats, Kepak, Liffey Meats, and Slaney.

Kepak claimed protesters were blocking the entrances to four of the company's meat plants across the country, preventing staff and suppliers from accessing the facilities.

In a letter sent by legal representatives of the company to the Beef Plan Movement and seen by RTÉ News, Kepak also claimed a number of protesters "who appear to be aligned with the Beef Plan Movement" were attempting to abuse and intimidate hauliers, staff and farmers who are seeking to access the plants.