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Friday 24 November 2017

Rumours rife of a super-dairy for Co Wexford

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Is a super-dairy being planned for Wexford?

Rumours are rife in the county that investors are looking to develop a 2,000-cow dairy unit in the southeast.

To add to the talk, Wexford Co Council confirmed last week that discussions had taken place with their planning authorities regarding such a venture.

Asked if Wexford Co Council had received a planning application for a dairy unit of more than 800 cows, a council official said that a planning application had not been lodged but informal discussions had taken place.

"There have been no applications for such a development in Wexford to date. Whilst this type of development has been discussed with the council, no detailed proposals have been tabled and no site was identified," the council official said.

Much of the talk has centred on the well-known ploughmen, Willie John and Martin Kehoe, but the family dismissed the rumours.

Willie John Kehoe said he had heard the rumours but insisted they were "not founded on anything".

He admitted that the family, who run a contracting and feed business at Foulksmills near New Ross, had been approached regarding a large-scale dairy unit but he said that had been some time ago and nothing had happened since.

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Mr Kehoe said the ongoing talk was "amusing".

Well-known farm investor, Jim McCarthy, also dismissed any involvement in the possible development.

"I personally have absolutely nothing to do with it," Mr McCarthy said.

However, talk in dairy circles suggested that there were "significant investors" seeking to get involved in the Irish dairy scene.

"There is some big money out there looking at Irish dairying and it's trying to get traction," one industry source commented.

Suggestions that the Chinese might be looking to get a foothold in the Irish dairy market gathered pace last week with the news that New Zealand outfit Synlait Milk was looking to hire four ag-science graduates for jobs based in Ireland. Synlait is 51pc owned by one of China's largest dairy companies, Bright Dairy.

Irish Independent



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