140 jobs to go at Largo Foods in Donegal

Fears for 150 jobs at Wincanton depot in Dublin after Musgrave confirms it is not renewing its contract

Largo Foods managing director Ray Coyle and Mr Tayto

Largo Foods managing director Ray Coyle and Mr Tayto

Sat, Mar 15, 2014, 01:01


Crisp-maker Largo Foods is to close its manufacturing facility in Co Donegal with the loss of 140 jobs. The company, which

makes Tayto and Hunky Dory crisps, said it plans to move production from its factory in Gweedore to Ashbourne, Co Meath, resulting in the loss of 110 full-time and 30 part- time jobs.

Largo chief executive Maurice Hickey said the decision “has been made necessary by the need for the company to continuously reduce costs in the very competitive snack-food market”. He said production in Donegal did not provide the scale necessary to produce snack foods cost effectively.

“We are competing with major companies in the UK. They have greater scale than us, which makes it difficult for us to compete in production cost per unit. It is costly to transport raw materials to Gweedore due to the location and to transport the finished product.”

Centralise activities
Mr Hickey said moving production to Ashbourne would also enable the company to centralise activities, thereby improving cost competitiveness.

“We are working closely with Údarás na Gaeltachta to address issues arising from this plan. We are also in discussions with Enterprise Ireland regarding the continued development of our business in Ireland.”

Largo workers were told at a meeting yesterday the Donegal facility would close by August, with redundancies to commence in May. Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill described the announcement as a “black day for the Donegal Gaeltacht”.

Largo sells crisps and snack food products under the Tayto, King, Hunky Dorys and Perri brands in Ireland and Velvet Crunch in the UK.


Disappointment
Údarás na Gaeltachta, the regional authority for development of the Gaeltacht, said it was very disappointed by Largo’s decision.

Meanwhile, 150 people are expected to lose their jobs at a food distribution depot in Dublin after wholesale giant Musgrave said it was not renewing its contract with the firm. The contract ends in September.

Wincanton, which operates the Blanchardstown-based depot, said it was consulting with all affected employees and their recognised representatives.