Oatfield lays off 30 of its 45 workers


ONE OF the Republic’s oldest confectionary makers has laid off two-thirds of its workforce.

The Oatfield Confectionary Company in Co Donegal, which was founded by the McKinney family in Letterkenny in 1927, blamed rising manufacturing costs for the job losses.

A total of 30 out of 45 employees will lose their jobs when the company shuts down its “boiling production” in October.

The manufacture of boiled sweets will now be transferred to Oatfield’s sister company Tilley’s in the UK.

The 15 remaining workers left at the Irish plant, which makes the famous Emerald chocolates, will continue to work at the toffee production department.

Local councillor Gerry McMonagle (SF) also warned the future was not bright for the remaining workers at the plant.

“It is so sad to see the demise of this company. It’s not great news for Letterkenny or the workers.

“They have been moving out equipment in recent months and now comes this announcement.

“You would have to think it’s not looking good for the remaining jobs,” he said.

The Oatfield buildings are owned by Donegal Creameries and are leased to Dublin-based firm, Candy, which runs the local plant and owns the brand.

The company stressed it is working with development agencies with a view to future developments at the site.

“Everyone concerned has our assurance that we will support him or her in every practical way in order to minimise the impact of the decision.

“We will begin discussions immediately with the unions on a financial package and a range of support measures to help all affected staff. Oatfield are most appreciative of the commitment and support of the staff in Letterkenny,” the spokesman concluded.