A FORMER bakery owner has rescued the family business from almost certain closure by buying it back.
Declan Gallagher, who has signed the deal to save the fresh bread section of Gallagher's Bakery in Ardara, Co Donegal, revealed plans yesterday to employ 100 people within the next three years.
The Gallagher family sold the bakery to IAWS for an undisclosed amount at the peak of the boom three years ago.
While the repurchase price has not been revealed, it is understood to be considerably less.
Last month, workers at the bakery were told that 124 out of 189 jobs were to be shed, with the transfer of the frozen bread section to the east coast.
The firm, part of Swiss food company Arytza, said at the time that efforts were being made to find a buyer for the fresh bread section.
Market contraction, declining sales and reduced prices were blamed for the closure of the business, which has been in operation in Donegal since 1968.
Following negotiations, Mr Gallagher, who had been running the factory, bought the fresh bread section, which he said would ensure the survival of up to 70 jobs.
"I felt a social responsibility to do it for the area. It is my full intention to grow this business over the next number of years and increase employment," he said.
"We have a strong brand locally.
"It was always perceived as a quality brand and we now need Donegal people to get behind the brand," he said.