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Baker saves 70 jobs with buy-back

A businessman who saved up to 70 jobs by buying back his family bakery has called on people to support local produce.

Declan Gallagher said he had a social responsibility to salvage the fresh bread section at Gallagher's Bakery in Ardara, Co Donegal.

Another 100 jobs were lost when parent company IAWS announced plans to cut frozen bread production at the site last month.

Mr Gallagher, who sold the bakery to the international food group four years ago, said a belief in the brand was also behind his decision to stick with the family business.

"It is my intention to grow this business and increase employment to our much needed manufacturing sector in Donegal and indeed in the north west region," said Mr Gallagher.

"We need the public's support and will be calling on retailers to get behind Donegal manufacturers, the more jobs we maintain in our county the more cash will be spent in our county, people need to remember money earned locally will be spent locally.

"We have got to think about our future and protect as many manufacturing companies as we can in our region for our children's sake."

Gallaghers was first opened by the new owner's parents, his late father Frank and mother Kathleen, in 1968. It was taken over by IAWS, which also owns Cuisine de France, in 2007.

Management announced last month it was closing its frozen bread production line with the loss of 124 jobs because of rising costs and a drop in sales.

Mr Gallagher, who had remained managing director, had hoped 40 jobs could be saved if the fresh bread business was bought with another 26 workers. However he believes up to 70 workers will be kept on with opportunities for other staff to be moved redeployed with the frozen production line to the Cuisine de France factory in Dublin and sites in the UK.

Mr Gallagher said many people have worked very hard to secure the takeover.

"I would like to assure our customers that fresh bread production will continue at the bakery and service and delivery will remain as normal," he added.

"We are currently reviewing our products to assure the best quality products will be produced and watch out for some of our new developments over the coming months."

PA Media