Calls have been made for clarity following the shock announcement that the Kepak meat processing plant in Drumquin is to close this week.
Management met with employees this week to inform the of the decision to close the plant for an unspecified period, saying the future of the plant will remain under review.
They’ve blamed challenging market conditions in Europe for the closure, saying the site is no longer competitive.
Clare Beef Plan Group Member Joseph Woulfe has been telling Clare FM’s Fiona Cahill that he doesn’t believe the closure is a result of last summer’s protests by farmers.
Kepak regrets to announce that it will temporarily suspend operations at its Clare site at close of business on Friday, 14th February.
Despite a comprehensive review and significant efforts to keep the Clare abattoir operational, management at Kepak has determined that the site is no longer competitive.
Against a backdrop of challenging market conditions for the beef industry in Europe, Kepak Clare has been procuring cattle at a price premium associated with markets such as the United States, China and the UK. However, given Kepak Clare is not approved for export to such markets, it consequently cannot achieve the associated price premium to remain competitive, leaving no alternative to temporary closure.
Efforts are being made to facilitate interested staff at alternative Kepak sites, while all other staff will be temporarily laid off for the duration of the operational suspension.
The future of the factory will remain under review during the temporary closure.
Kepak Clare was acquired in 2017 and employs 21 people.