Former Kepak plant up for sale

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

Kepak has put its former sheep processing plant at Hackettstown, Co Carlow up for sale.

The factory closed in February 2014 with the loss of 50 jobs and the site has been used since as a collection centre for lambs, which are trucked west to the company's main sheep plant in Athleague, Co Roscommon.

A guide price is not being quoted for the property by Carlow-based auctioneer, Thomas M. Byrne. However, as the site extends to over 20ac and is located on the edge of Hacketstown, it is expected that the lands will make well over their agricultural value.

The former sheep factory includes a slaughter line, boning hall, chill rooms, salting and casing area, offal storage facilities and workshop. In addition, there are a range of ancillary buildings and an extensive sheep lairage.

Although the southeast remains a strong area for lowland sheep, industry sources cast doubt on the Hacketstown plant being reopened as a processing centre. "The factory has been closed since 2014; it would cost too much it get it up and going again," one industry insider maintained.

There is also intense competition for sheep numbers in the region, with Ballon Meats, Camolin and Kildare Chilling all battling for supplies.

The challenge of securing sufficient supplies was cited as a key factor by Kepak in their decision to close the plant. Kepak also had a cattle processing facility adjoining the sheep plant at Hacketstown but this was purchased by Liffey Meats a number of years prior to the sheep factory's closure.

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