Dáil Éireann - Volume 589 - 07 October, 2004

Written Answers. - Company Closures.

  87. Mr. Murphy asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there will be a shortage of slaughter capacity for pigs as a result of the closure of a plant (details supplied) in County Cork; his views on whether the slaughter capacity in Northern Ireland cannot be relied on totally, as was evident by recent outbreak of foot and mouth in the North; and his further views on whether keeping pig processing open in Mitchelstown would be the most effective way of achieving concrete results for the special task force that was set up by the previous Minister to secure employment for the town. [23929/04]

  Mr. Martin: I thank the Deputy for bringing the issue of slaughter capacity for pigs to my attention. The decision by the company in question to cease slaughtering activities in Mitchelstown was a commercial decision made by the company and was taken following a comprehensive review of the cost competitiveness of its pigmeat division, Galtee Meats, and that division’s performance as a profit centre.

Since the announcement of the Galtee closure the Department of Agriculture and Food has maintained regular contact with the Irish Farmers Association, IFA, Enterprise Ireland and other pig processors with a view to ensuring that a seamless and streamlined transition of the producer/processing supply chain would be established. There is agreement among the main processing entities and by Enterprise Ireland, that sufficient processing capacity is available in the country to absorb the surplus that will arise from this closure. It is important that a smooth and orderly dispersal of the Galtee supply of pigs takes place between now and the closure date. I understand that Dairygold, other pig processors and the IFA are devoting considerable attention [1650] to this matter and it is important that all concerned work towards this objective.

A task force has not been established for Mitchelstown. The State development agencies work closely with each other as well as other local bodies and interests including county councils, in facilitating an integrated approach to enterprise development. This co-operative framework was enhanced with the establishment of county development boards on which the State agencies are represented, and can be used effectively to address major job losses in the regions. In the Mitchelstown case, a proposal to engage, with the participation and support of Dairygold and local interests, in a socio-economic evaluation of the area is currently being progressed. I am informed that a proposal will be presented to Dairygold in the next few weeks in this regard and I would like to see this co-operative approach to job creation difficulties for the area advanced.