Fears mount over Kepak plant review
The IFA and ICSA have expressed serious concerns regarding the future of Kepak's lamb slaughtering plant at Hacketstown, Co Carlow.
Kepak Group informed staff at the site last week that it is to undertake a review of the Hacketstown business to examine whether the continuing operations at the site were commercially viable.
A statement from Kepak said the examination formed part of a "wider group business investment plan".
Some 50 staff are currently employed on the Hacketstown site which processes carcass lamb only. Management has confirmed that lamb throughput at the plant has fallen by 50pc since 2003 and that over recent times the site has been operating on a two- to three-day week.
The IFA's sheep chairman John Lynskey said sheep farmers were very concerned over any significant change or reduction in slaughtering capacity at Hacketstown.
He said the IFA had arranged a meeting with senior Kepak management regarding the review the company had initiated.
ICSA sheep chairman Paul Brady has expressed concern at the news: "From the point of view of sheep producers, the possibility of a reduction in competition for lambs is a worrying prospect," Mr Brady said.
"We need as many viable meat processors operating as possible."