Farm Ireland

Sunday 17 December 2017

Existing UK market can be saved says agri food boss

Larry Murrin, CEO of Dawn Farms
Larry Murrin, CEO of Dawn Farms
Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

THE Government must "defend, protect and maintain" the British market in addition to "stepping up" diversification efforts outside the UK, Larry Murrin, CEO of Dawn Farms has stated.

Mr Murrin, who has been a leading voice in highlighting the measures the Irish Government needs to take to ensure agri jobs are protected post-Brexit, believes preserving the UK market is "deliverable".

"I genuinely believe and want the UK to be as important to my company five and 10 years from now as it is today. I believe that is possible with very careful movements from the Government and all stakeholders.

"I've no doubt some people will say I'm mad, but I think it is deliverable," he said.

"We need to defend, protect and maintain the British market. We spent 50 years developing that market, moving it from the hacking and packing stage, and in the absence of positive policies coming forward that all stakeholders can engage in, protection and maintenance is really crucial and we also need to step up our diversification networks."

Speaking at a major MSD Animal Health conference focused on Sustainable Irish Food production in 2025, Mr Murrin said he has explained to Government the actions, steps and policy variations required to achieve this goal.

"The Government must take positive, industry-wide measures to make long-term, very low-cost and very appropriate condition finance available to the Irish food industry in all its guises so that we can scale up, invest in our own competitiveness and take whatever steps we need," he said.

"It's not a pipe dream, it is deliverable, the money in sitting there."

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Mr Murrin also revealed that Dawn Farms, Europe's largest multi-species business-to-business cooked meat producer, cooked enough ham to cover the Aviva stadium 5,000 times last year.

The company, with plants based in Naas, Co Kildare and Northampton, UK, also produced enough pepperoni and salami to "circle the world five times," Mr Murrin claimed.

Meanwhile, at the same conference, MEP Mairead McGuinness said a recent dinner between British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker intended to pave the way for formal Brexit talks went "worse than was reported".

"I don't know what they had for dessert but I think there was salt on it," she said.

"We're not really in a place where both sides are able to go into a room and come out with a deal. That's doesn't say we won't be there… but the politics are just not right at the moment I would have to say."

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