Dawn Meats to create 65 jobs after securing €300m McDonald's deal
DAWN Meats is to create 65 jobs in Waterford after the company agreed to supply three million burgers to McDonald's every day.
The fast food giant has agreed a five-year contract worth €300m with Dawn Meats to process 18,000 tonnes of beef a year.
Under the expanded agreement, Dawn Meats will spend €14.5m on a facility at Carroll's Cross, Co Waterford, which will turn out about a fifth of the McDonald's burgers in Europe.
Dawn has begun recruiting while the plant, which will feature the longest freezer of its kind in Europe, will open at the end of next month.
The move is a huge boost for the beef industry, which had previously exported beef for McDonald's to the UK for processing.
About 100 construction jobs have been created during the building of the plant, which began last December.
McDonald's is the single biggest customer of the Irish beef industry, buying about 40,000 tonnes each year worth €110m -- about 10pc of the country's total beef exports.
Speaking yesterday, McDonald's Ireland managing director Adrian Crean said the decision came after a strategic review showed the fast-food giant's future need for secure beef supplies.
"We reviewed our beef processing capacity and to meet current requirements we realised we needed an additional processing facility in Europe. McDonald's has identified Ireland as a strategically important market with potential for long-term supply demands," he said.
Dawn Meats, which was supported by Enterprise Ireland, beat competition from Germany, Poland and Spain. Company boss Niall Browne said McDonald's was a "hugely important customer" for his business which has supplied the Golden Arches since the mid 1980s.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said the decision to invest here has huge implications for Irish industry as a whole.
"McDonald's are investing here because there is a real business sense to what they're doing here," he said.
"They want to use Irish beef because it is a strong brand with a strong reputation for high quality and that is positive for their own business, so this is a huge implication for Ireland.
"McDonald's are the market leader in their business so when their peers see them investing here, that may have a positive knock-on effect from other firms in the fast food industry.
Meanwhile, the Chinese junior agriculture minister has arrived in Dublin for talks with Mr Coveney to discuss possible access for the Irish beef industry to China.
A full technical visit by Chinese authorities has been scheduled for next month which will assess Irish beef quality.