Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has proposed the resumption of beef talks between farming organisations and beef processors.

RTÉ News understands that Meat Industry Ireland has proposed talks take place on Monday, however farming organisations have asked for any talks to begin on Saturday.

Farming organisations met Mr Creed this evening and there have been positive developments in efforts to restart the talks on the beef dispute.

A possible cessation of cattle killed and meat processing during the talks is being considered.

The Beef Plan Movement has asked that all legal threats against it and individual farmers be withdrawn before the commencement of talks.

In return, protests and blockades at meat factories will have to be brought to a close.

Farm organisations left the Department of Agriculture this evening and officials from Mr Creed's office will continue to liaise with both meat processors and farming organisations in an effort to reach agreements to commence talks.

Meanwhile, the Beef Plan Movement was earlier today approved as a 'producer organisation' by the Department of Agriculture.

The department confirmed this afternoon that 'Irish Beef Producers' is the first such organisation in the country.

The Beef Plan Movement was behind a series of protests outside meat factories during the summer.

Under existing legislation Producer Organisations, or POs, can negotiate on behalf of its members.

It means that the organisation can negotiate price with meat factories if its members are selling cattle.

Mr Creed said it was a significant step and was "an important part of the tool kit in building resilience in the sector by strengthening the position of the primary producer in the supply chain".

The development could mean that for the first time farmers, rather than factories, can set the price at which cattle are sold into meat plants.

Longford protest, despite High Court injunction

Farmers and protesters have again blocked lorries from leaving the C&D Petfoods plant in Longford, despite the High Court injunction granted to the company yesterday.

More than 40 people blocked three lorries from leaving by a side gate of the factory, which is partially owned and controlled by Larry Goodman and his family.

Farmers at the protest told RTÉ News that they will continue their blockade because they will go out of business unless a solution for the present dispute is found.

A company manager who was present at the gate this morning said 183 workers have been already been laid off and the employment of another 425 staff was being put a risk by the action. 

When asked about the threat to jobs, one of the protesters said the workers who were being laid off had the immediate ability to draw down social welfare payments and this is not an option farmers have as their businesses are going to the wall.

Meanwhile, workers at the ABP plant at Rathkeale in Co Limerick are the latest group of workers to be faced with temporary lay offs.

Around 100 workers on the kill floor at the plant have been informed they are to be temporarily laid off from today as the plant cannot fully operate.

Overall, 330 workers are employed at the plant owned by the Larry Goodman ABP company.

Management have told workers that the situation is being assessed on a day-to-day basis and the action may ultimately affect the entire plant.

Additional Reporting: Ciaran Mullooly