A €50m (£34m) state investment package for the Irish beef and sheepmeat processing sectors has run into unexpected opposition from the country's butchers.

The state grant, which it is hoped will trigger a €120m (£81m) investment by the industry, is intended to sharpen export performance through increased scale, efficiency and value-added products. But the Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland group claims many export plants operate domestically in competition with their members, and the grant will give them unfair advantage.

The package has also alarmed UK processors, who see it as state-subsidised competition.