Belfast Telegraph

Oatfield sweet brand to close down

One of Ireland's most iconic confectionery brands, Oatfield Sweets, is to shut its doors, ending a near 80-year tradition.

Some 15 workers at the Letterkenny factory are being made redundant as the parent company, Zed Candy, moves production to one of its sites in the UK.

Management have blamed the cost of overheads for the closure.

"The difficult but unavoidable business decision was made following a detailed review of our manufacturing operation over the past number of years," the company said in a statement. "The factory has been under review due to unsustainable overheads and operating costs."

Production of Oatfield brand sweets will move to Kettering in Northamptonshire.

Oatfield began life in 1927 in Letterkenny with the McKinney family sugar wholesalers, who wanted to solve the problem of being unable to source high-quality toffees or traditional boiled sweets that shops were demanding.

The business was born in a family kitchen on the main street of Letterkenny, with rumours that the stoves in the kitchen never went out. The first factory opened in 1933.

Garry Lawlor, managing director at Oatfield, said the company appreciated the commitment and support the local community and employees had offered over the last number of years.

Production at the factory has steadily scaled back with 30 of the 45-strong workforce laid off in 2010.

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