FINGAL can become a centre for food production in Ireland according to a local councillor who has asked the local authority to step in and encourage entrepreneurs to develop and test new food product ideas in the county.
Cllr Tom O'Leary (FG) has called on Fingal County Council to consider establishing a commercial kitchen unit in one of its enterprise centres in Fingal or in a suitable premises to allow the county's food entrepreneurs test and expand their food product ideas. Cllr O'Leary said: 'Fingal is the garden of Ireland producing the bulk of Ireland's market garden produce. We have an obvious potential to tap into in food production. As an example of this we can point to the very successful an innovative Country Crest Food company which employs 150-plus people. ' Smaller food producers are restricted by the need to make capital investment in industrial type kitchens to produce commercial quantities of food products at affordable prices and in premises that must meet strict hygiene regulations. ' The concept of the local authority stepping in to address this problem by setting up a commercial kitchen for rent at reasonable rates, on a short term basis, is an excellent job creation idea.' The Fine Gael councillor added: 'It fits with new Government policy that the local council should become the hub to assist and drive job creation locally. 'I note from an article referring to the plan for Cork that this concept has been used successfully in other countries. 'We have wonderful quality produce in Fingal and innovative producers in communities in rural Fingal and particularly in Rush where the entrepreneurial and trading tradition is very strong in the food produce area.' He concluded: ' There has to be large scope for food producers and artisan food producers to develop in Fingal. If we can develop this concept, it will add to our tourism product and along with our rich natural heritage, will drive job creation in tourism in Fingal. 'I will be raising the proposal with the very progressive management team in Fingal County Council led by the Manager David OConnor and PJ Howell and his team.'