Food sector job boost for Tipperary

The food processing factory in Fethard which has been empty since closing its doors late last year is set to have up to 175 employees within three years following this week’s announcement of a jobs bonanza for the site.

The food processing factory in Fethard which has been empty since closing its doors late last year is set to have up to 175 employees within three years following this week’s announcement of a jobs bonanza for the site.

Over 100 people lost their jobs when Dawn Fresh Foods closed their facility on Fethard’s Killenaule Road less than a year ago but the premises has now been bought by Ribworld with production due to start within a month.

Ribworld will be moving their 75 existing employees from their unit at Carrigeen in Clonmel next month while 100 new positions will be filled by the company over the next three years.

News of the jobs boost was confirmed on Monday by Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton who travelled to Fethard to make the announcement, alongside local Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Tom Hayes who described the move as a vote of confidence in Tipperary and the local manufacturing and food sectors.

Ribworld is investing €8 million in the Fethard plant, with support from the Department of Jobs and Enterprise as well as Enterprise Ireland. The business was bought out of receivership by food company M&M Walshe in 2011 and has more than doubled output from its Clonmel base in the last three years.

It now exports about 90pc of its cooked meat products, such as barbecue pork ribs and pulled pork, to countries as diverse as Finland and Thailand and the expansion announced this week will allow it to further grow its foreign market.

“It is a massive investment for us but we have every confidence that it will be a catalyst for a major expansion of our food group,” managing director John Walshe said on Monday.

Recruitment for the 100 new jobs will begin shortly and Mr Walshe confirmed that the company hopes to attract employees from the immediate locality. “Certainly, where possible, we’ll be looking to recruit in the area.”

Minister Bruton said in Fethard that Ribworld’s ambitious expansion plan is an example of the sort of “courage” and “leadership” that should be copied by the entire manufacturing sector in Ireland.