Over 100 jobs to go as Tipperary food firm closes

Dawn Fresh Foods blames decision on sales decline and continuing losses

Food manufacturer Dawn Fresh Foods has announced that it is to close its plant in Fethard, Co Tipperary on a phased basis with the loss of 104 jobs by the end of the year. Image: Google Streetview.

Food manufacturer Dawn Fresh Foods has announced that it is to close its plant in Fethard, Co Tipperary on a phased basis with the loss of 104 jobs by the end of the year. Image: Google Streetview.

 

Food manufacturer Dawn Fresh Foods has announced that it is to close its plant in Fethard, Co Tipperary on a phased basis with the loss of 104 jobs by the end of the year.

Workers at the plant, which makes over 200 food products including ready meals, soups and sauces, were briefed today on the redundancies which are expected to begin immediately and be completed by the end of December.

The company, which is part of the Queally Group and involved in the production of frozen and chilled products for both the Irish and UK markets, said in a statement that the decision comes as a result of continued losses.

“A steep decline in sales over the past number of years, increased challenges to its competitiveness in its largest market of the UK, higher raw materials and manufacturing costs and unfavourable sterling exchange rates have contributed to the issues facing the company,” the company said in a statement.

“After lengthy thought and consideration and exploring all avenues, including a 30 day consultation period with staff, in a bid to deliver a workable business plan it has become evident that a viable rescue plan is not achievable.”

Earlier this year, Dawn Fresh Food’s UK division, Oak Farm Foods became embroiled in the horse meat controversy when Lancashire County Council withdrew pies made by Oak Farm Foods from 47 schools after provisionally testing positive for traces of horse DNA.

Questioned as to whether the controversy over Oak Farm Foods had been a factor in Dawn Fresh Foods’ decision to close, a company spokesman refused to be drawn but said sales had been declining in the UK for a number of years.

The news was greeted with dismay by Tipperary South Independent TD, Mattie McGrath who called on constituency colleague, Minister of State, Tom Hayes to get Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton to intervene.

“This is a big blow to Fethard and South Tipperary - there’s no other industry in Fethard or the surrounding area apart from Coolmore Stud so it’s vitally important that every effort is made to try and save these jobs,” said Mr McGrath.

“Minister Bruton needs to get involved because Dawn Fresh Foods have a very modern plant in Fethard and they have a very committed and dedicated workforce- I know sterling has been a killer for them but there’s no point creating new jobs if you can’t save the ones we have.”