Dairy Industry Ireland (DII) has said that there was full recognition of the role of the industry in the Government’s list of essential workers and services revealed on Saturday evening.

It gives flexibility for Irish dairy and specialised nutrition processing to continue unhindered during this unprecedented public health emergency, DII said.

Conor Mulvihill, director of DII, which represents primary and secondary dairy manufacturers including the specialised nutrition sector in Ireland, commented: “We are happy that Government listened to us. All reasonable requests have been achieved.

“There was full recognition of our role in delivering dairy and nutrition products here in Ireland and in international supply chains. During the week, DII issued a template letter to members that will satisfy tonight’s requirements for employees.

“We wish to especially commend the staff and families of our businesses who have given enormous commitment to keep all facilities running,” he said.

Challenges ahead

However, Mulvihill warned that there remained significant challenges ahead for the industry and suppliers.

“Irish milk supply volumes are increasing towards the seasonal peak off our grass-fed base. This peak unfortunately almost exactly overlays the peak the HSE are projecting for the COVID-19 virus.

“The industry is collaborating with all stakeholders to make every possible effort to ensure that all milk produced on farms can continue to be processed.

“As part of proper contingency planning, and with reference to HSE modelling of likely cases and the consequent staff absentee rates, the industry scenarios now include a material disruption to throughput at key processing locations,” he said.

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