Cllrs condemn Aurivo decision as 'act of betrayal' to founders
Achonry Working Group has passed a resolution seeking a reversal of the decision to transfer its butter packaging process to Cork.
Emotions ran high in a packed St Nathy's Hall in Mullinabreena on Monday February 15th as shareholders, advisors and customers gathered to highlight their concerns over the expected loss of 23 jobs to Achonry.
Aurivo General Manager Eoghan Sweeney attended the meeting which was chaired by Achonry Working Group chair and local businessman Tony Hession.
"We had a fantastic turn out. There was a lot of anger there, controlled anger," Mr Hession told The Sligo Champion.
"The thing that's causing the most aggravation is we're giving away our precious butter packaging process. We're giving it away after 119 years of people putting their souls into this. We're giving away our heritage," said Tony.
"The Co-op managment are going to work with our group and try to take forward in whatever way we can," he said.
"The message we want to get out is 'do not stop supporting you Co-Op'," he added.
Tony Hession and Fr Paul Kivlehan both made a presentation earlier in the day to Tubbercurry/Ballymote councillors in Teach Laighne, Tubbercurry.
In response, Councillor Michael Clarke said the proposed transfer was "an act of betrayal to the people who funded Connacht Gold."
Cllr Eamon Scanlon said it was "not a loss-making facility" but a profitable one.
Cllr Jerry Lundy described the Aurivo proposal as "a huge blow to a small rural community."
"There's no good reason why I could see for it to be moved to Michelstown," he added.
"It doesn't make sense. Let's keep the Gold in Connacht," he said, using the action groups' mantra.
Cllr Dara Mulvey said he could not see why it was justified and criticised the lack of consultation. "That's no way to deal with people who served the community," he said.
Cllr Martin Baker said moving the butter packaging facility to Cork would have " a huge knock-on effect" on South Sligo. "It just shows the respect for the people on the ground. It's highly unjust," he told the meeting.
Cllr Joe Queenan said he could see "where they're coming from" but he supported the motion to bring the CEO of Aurivo Aaron Forde before the full county council. "They've lost touch with the common people," he added.
Leas-Cathaoirleach of the Council Cllr Paul Taylor said it was a "disgrace to think that this could be done to the people of Achonry."
"It's up to all of south Sligo to stand together," said Cllr Baker.
Fr Paul Kivlehan, who holds a degree in food business, said the success of the co-op to date was "all on the backs of the local people who worked day and night to build up Aurivo to what it is today."
"It's slap in the face to all these people," he said.
"United we stand, divided we fall," said Cllr Margaret Gormley.