Belfast Telegraph

Jobs risk as Co Tyrone meat firm reveals plan to close plant

Concerned: UUP’s Trevor Wilson
Concerned: UUP’s Trevor Wilson
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Around 80 jobs in Co Tyrone are at risk after plans to close a meat plant were announced.

The Foyle Food Group said it was planning to shut its red meat operation at Derryloran Industrial Estate in Cookstown by the end of August as part of "necessary consolidation".

It hopes to redeploy as many staff as possible from the factory, which employs 82 people, to another plant in Omagh.

It is understood staff have been placed on a 30-day notice period of redundancy by the company, so that a consultation can be held.

A spokesman said that while the business was a "market leader", consolidation was needed.

"We regret the decision to close the Cookstown facility, but this is a necessary consolidation of the group's operations across our larger and more modern UK facilities, where we have made significant investment in recent years," he added.

"Focusing processing at these sites will allow the group to remain a market leader within the competitive red meat sector.

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"We understand the impact this proposal will have on our Cookstown workforce.

"Consultation with staff will begin immediately and we hope to redeploy as many as possible to our other plants."

The business has operated in Northern Ireland for more than four decades and has 1,300 staff in the UK and Ireland.

It said its eight other plants were unaffected by the proposal and customers and suppliers would also see no change.

Ulster Unionist councillor Trevor Wilson said he was concerned over the closure.

"I have been contacted by a number of employees of the Foyle Hilton Meats plant based in Cookstown's Derryloran Industrial Estate, who were shocked to learn that they were being put on 30 days' notice," he added.

"This news has come as a bombshell to the workers and their families and is dreadful news for Cookstown and the surrounding area.

"As chairman of Mid-Ulster Council's Development Committee, I have asked for a meeting with the owners and the management team to discuss what can be done to help the workers affected and to see if anything can be done to save these jobs."

Belfast Telegraph