Wednesday, 29 September 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
I concur with what has been said by the previous speaker. This is a significant blow in the local area. The Deputy referred to County Offaly. There will also be a significant effect in County Laois, since there is an effect on the workforce. Almost 90 people were working in that business. It is a sustainable business, with long-serving staff, some of them with up to three decades of service, on the Laois-Offaly border. Glenisk is a strong brand. Anybody who likes yoghurt will know that. It is a sustainable brand. It is an organic, quality product. It has been built up over a long time. In fairness to the company, it is still taking milk supplies but 50 farmers are dependent on this plant as well. It is important to the local economy. Unfortunately, that business which has been built up over three decades is a burnt-out shell now and there is not even a phone line going into it. I spoke to somebody from the company yesterday. To say that they are shocked would be an understatement. The loss of 90 jobs in this area is the equivalent of 900 in Dublin. The Minister of State will be aware of that. I would have thought this was a matter for the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, whom I acknowledge is out of the country.
I welcome that the Minister of State is present because he represents the constituency and he knows what myself and Deputy Cowen are talking about and how important it is. The company wants to rebuild and that will take time. I contacted the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment yesterday, like the previous speaker, urging it to engage with the company and the managing director, Mr. Vincent Cleary. I heard him on the radio early yesterday morning when I was coming here and he said he hoped to have a preliminary plan in place by mid-morning. That shows the kind of energy that they have put into the company over the years to drive it and build it. We need to provide each and every support we can to this company and to the work force.