IFA organic project team chair Nigel Renaghan has said the fire in the Glenisk plant in Offaly could have a devastating impact on organic dairy farmers across the country.
Renaghan commented: “The fire could have disastrous consequences for organic milk suppliers. The facility handles the majority of organic milk across the island of Ireland.
“Glenisk suppliers must be safeguarded at this time, and alternative arrangements put in place for the processing of the milk."
Glenisk sources milk from approximately 50 organic dairy farmers across Ireland and is the destination for n estimated 90% of all organic milk produced here.
The number of staff employed by the firm had grown to 85 and it held the number one position in the yoghurt market in Ireland, with a 19% share.
Up to now, the company had bolstered its sale of organic yoghurts, following a period of growth since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Extensive damage has been done to the plant in Killeigh, Co Offaly, following a serious fire.
Fortunately, no injuries were reported in relation to the incident.
President of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) Pat McCormack has offered his “sympathy and support” to the Cleary family and their staff at Glenisk.
McCormack said that the business was an outstanding example of the kind of sustainable commercial dairy operation that could be established with work, commitment and superb quality.
McCormack said that he and his members were absolutely confident that Glenisk would return to full operational capacity in due course and, in the meantime, it was incumbent upon the rest of the Irish agri sector to facilitate and help the company and its staff in any way possible.
Irish Cattle and Sheep Association organics chair, Fergal Byrne, has expressed his hope that Glenisk will be able to find a way forward as quickly as possible.
“The entrepreneurship of the Cleary family has been phenomenal over many years in driving the organic dairy sector,” he commented.
Byrne said that Glenisk is a major player towards having 25% of land under organic farming by 2030.
“The Government should ensure that every assistance is given to Glenisk both in the short-term and medium-term so that their business is kept viable. It is all the more important as an employer in a rural region where jobs are already scarce, and many have lost jobs due to the closure of our peat sector."