115 jobs created at dairy plant
Some 115 jobs are to be created with the expansion of a dairy plant, it has been announced.
Dairygold said another 400 temporary jobs will be created for builders constructing new processing plants at its Mallow and Mitchelstown sites in Co Cork.
The investment, which is being supported by the taxpayer through Enterprise Ireland, will cost 117 million euro.
The jobs are to be created over the next six years.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it was an important expansion in the agri-food sector, Ireland's largest homegrown industry.
"I welcome the 117 million euro investment in Mallow and Mitchelstown which represents a strong vote of confidence by Dairygold in the capability of its milk suppliers and creates a world class dairy manufacturing capability right here in the Munster region," he said.
"I commend Dairygold on its achievement and wish the Co-Op every success with its expansion plan which is good news for jobs and economic activity in the region."
Dairygold will spend 83.5 million euro renovating of its milk processing site at Mallow.
Some 33.5 million euro will be pumped into the upgrade of its Castlefarm Dairy factory in Mitchelstown.
Dairygold is Ireland's largest farmer owned dairy co-operative, processing a fifth of Ireland's milk.
It exports cheese and dairy ingredients to more than 50 countries.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said the investment would boost the economy.
"Crucially, according to an economic impact study, it will also support more than 1,000 additional knock-on jobs in the wider economy over the next five years, as suppliers take on extra staff to meet the increased demand," he said.
"These are real, much-needed jobs in a rural area, which will provide opportunities for young people who want to get involved in farming and live in their local area."
Business leaders said the expansion would help Dairygold take advantage of the EU abolition of milk quotas.
Conor Healy, chief executive of Cork Chamber, said: "Dairygold's investment in the new plants will have a significant positive spin-off effect on the local economy and furthermore, this announcement substantiates once again the key strengths and resources that the region has to offer and clearly positions Cork as a location of choice for the growing agri-food and drinks sector."