A Limerick councillor said the mooted closure of the Dairygold Co-op store in Cappamore will be fought “tooth and nail”.
Cllr Noel Gleeson brought up the issue under any other business at a Cappamore-Kilmallock municipal district meeting.
Cllr Gleeson praised Dairygold for being “first out of the blocks” when they began importing fodder from the UK.
The Fianna Fail man also commended staff in the Cappamore co-op store for ensuring farmers in the most difficulty got hay or haylage.
“Only for that store being open farmers would have been in even more difficulty. A co-op to me is about giving service to local farmers. The co-op movement grew from that,” said Cllr Gleeson.
“Dairygold’s profits are enormous yet they still want to take away this service in Cappamore. That will be fought tooth and nail. They will be fought hard before they close Cappamore.
”It is profit making in Cappamore and farmers can’t be driving miles for small stuff,” he continued.
Last month, Dairygold, Ireland’s largest farmer owned dairy co-operative, announced an operating profit of €32.4m generated from a turnover of €965.5m (up 28pc on prior year) when it published its annual results for the year ended December 31, 2017.
They invested a further €13.4m in the business, bringing the total investments over the past five years to €162.1m.
Following a media query on the co-op store in Cappamore, a spokesperson said in October 2017, Dairygold launched a three-year plan to establish a modern “fit for purpose” retail network.
“The plan will include store development and enhancements, establishing new purpose-built stores at certain existing locations, the upgrade of some older stores and finally the integration of other stores.
Following a comprehensive root and branch review, 13 stores, including Cappamore, were identified for integration into neighbouring stores between now and 2020. We have been engaged in ongoing consultation with our local committees, customers and stakeholders in relation to these plans,” said the spokesperson.
Speaking about the €11.5m store investment plan, John O’Carroll, head of retail, said: “The ultimate objective of the retail review and store investment plan will be to provide a revitalised and more focused customer centric store network that is fit for purpose in serving farming and customer needs in a changing retail landscape.”