THE shock temporary closure of a Clare meat factory this Friday for an unspecified period has been described as yet another blow to the farming community.
The Clare Champion has reported that Kepak staff were told on Wednesday at 3pm that the plant will close on Friday for four to six weeks, due to "challenging market conditions that Kepak staff were told on Wednesday at 3pm that the plant will close on Friday for four to six weeks, due to "challenging market conditions".
In a statement, told the paper the company confirmed it will temporarily suspend operations at its Clare site in Drumquin at close of business on Friday
“Despite a comprehensive review and significant efforts to keep the Clare abattoir operational, management at Kepak has determined that the site is no longer competitive.
“Against a backdrop of challenging market conditions for the beef industry in Europe, Kepak Clare has been procuring cattle at a price premium associated with markets such as the United States, China and the UK.
“However, given Kepak Clare is not approved for export to such markets, it consequently cannot achieve the associated price premium to remain competitive, leaving no alternative to a temporary closure,” the company stated.
Efforts are being made to facilitate interested staff at alternative Kepak sites, while all other staff will be temporarily laid off for the duration of the operational suspension.
The future of the factory will remain under review during the temporary closure.
Kepak Clare was acquired in 2016 and employs 21 people, which is almost half of the 47 workforce when Kepak took it over from John Kelly Meats in 2017.