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Monday 11 December 2017

Sweet sorrow as last batch of Emeralds made on this isle

End of an Era- the final production run of the Oatfield's Emerald Sweet. After over 80 years of sweet manufacturing and just a few weeks before the factory closes the last production run of Emerald Sweets make there way down the production line. Pic: Clive Wasson
End of an Era- the final production run of the Oatfield's Emerald Sweet. After over 80 years of sweet manufacturing and just a few weeks before the factory closes the last production run of Emerald Sweets make there way down the production line. Pic: Clive Wasson

Stephen Maguire

THE final batch of one of the country's most popular sweets has rolled off the production line -- bringing an end to almost 100 years of tradition.

Hundreds of thousands of Emerald chocolate toffees have been exported around the world in recent years.

The 'Emerald' was first made by Co Donegal firm Oatfields more than 50 years ago and quickly became a favourite.

However, the owners of Oatfield Sweets, Zed Candy, have decided to close the Letterkenny factory on May 27. Production will be switched to England.

Yesterday, workers watched as the final rows of the famous sweets were covered in chocolate and packed for the last time.

The move will see 17 workers lose their jobs and will bring an end to one of Co Donegal's most famous firms.

At the height of its production, Oatfield employed 85 workers and produced sweets such as Orange Chocolates and Irish Butter Toffee.

The company was first founded by Ira and Haddon McKinney in 1927. They first made the sweets on an open coke fire in a shed before they moved to the site of the current factory in 1930.

Workers are currently negotiating their redundancy terms and are seeking three weeks pay for each year of service.

Irish Independent

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