Wednesday 17 July 2019

Achonry job losses a blow to South Sligo

Jessica Farry

There has been widespread disappointment at the news that Aurivo is set to transfer its butter packing operation from Achonry to Cork.

Approximately 20 positions at the Achonry site may be put at risk and a 30 day consultation programme has commenced with impacted employees.

The Achonry site will continue as a national distribution hub for Aurivo Consumer Foods, while administration, sales and marketing functions will remain in Aurivo's head office in Finisklin, Sligo. Butter production will continue in Aurivo's Dairy Ingredients site in Ballaghaderreen.

Senator Marc MacSharry described the situation as sad and said while Connacht Gold had done very well for Sligo and was a fine company it seems "we are losing our way of life and culture for the bottom line."

"The Connacht Gold spread is now going to be produced in Cork and this is a bit like Waterford Glass being made in Poland instead of in Waterford."

Councillor Jerry Lundy says the news is a big blow to South Sligo. "This latest bad news comes hot on the heels of the 60 jobs that were moved by Aurivo from head office in Tubbercurry to Sligo. As a Co-op, this company should support the communities of South Sligo who have supported the company down through the years, from the small farmer to the housewives who have bought their goods and products in an effort to keep the business based here in South Sligo."

Cllr. Lundy wants Aurivo to change its mind. "This co-operative society Ltd, once known as North Connaught Farmers, then Connacht Gold, and now Aurivo, should reverse this decision immediately and keep these 20 jobs here in Achonry and show the communities who have supported them through the years that they appreciate and respect this support."

Deputy John Perry has said he is "bitterly disappointed" about the news and that the plant still has so much to offer the community.

"Achonry is the founding home of Connacht Gold, one of the longest established co-op's in the country with over a centenary of production, set-up by farmers for farmers.

"Low-Fat Connacht Gold butter was manufactured here for many years in a highly specialised facility, a facility which exists no where else in the country and is now going to be disbanded," said Deputy Perry.

He continued: "Glanbia have made the necessary investments in their production facilities but this a facility which has suffered from little or no investment over recent years and I am bitterly disappointed to learn that production in the facility is to end.

"There is no reason why this plant in Achonry could not be expanded, having so much to offer with its agricultural hinterland, rich tradition in diary farming and history of producing top quality produce."

In a statement, Aurivo said: "Options will be explored to ascertain if there is any opportunity to relocate employees to other Aurivo operations. All efforts will be made to assist colleagues find alternative employment, including the provision of external support."

Sligo Champion