Connacht Gold deal leaves employees with ‘much better future’

The executive of Donegal Creameries which sold its milk and retail stores business to Connaught Gold say the deal leaves a “much better future” for its former employees in a move to allay fear of job losses.

The executive of Donegal Creameries which sold its milk and retail stores business to Connaught Gold say the deal leaves a “much better future” for its former employees in a move to allay fear of job losses.

Last Saturday Donegal Creameries Plc closed a potential n20m deal to dispose of their liquid milk and retail stores to Sligo based Connacht Gold Co-operative Society Limited.

Speaking at a press conference in their Letterkenny office on Tuesday afternoon managing director, Ian Ireland, said the multi-million euro deal leaves a “a much better future” for the employees at the Killygordon plant.

He said the deal, worth n13.5m plus a payment of up to n7.4m depending on the plant’s operating and financial performance in the milk business up to the end of the year, was also a good one for their shareholders.

He said any announcement on staffing at the plant or retail stores “will be up to Connacht Gold” but he added he was confident about the staff’s future.

“I’d be happy to say their future is better than it was last week”, Mr. Ireland stated.

While the deal included the sale of the liquid milk plant at Killygordon and their retail business although they will remain freehold owners of all but one of the stores. They did own eleven outlets, nine in the Republic and two in the North of Ireland, with the only sale of a retail premises being at the Killygordon site, which Creameries Financial controller, John McDermott says is a sign of Connacht’s commitment to develop the site in the future.

Donegal Creameries says they are now focusing on their seed potato and animal feed businesses, as well their investment and “significant” property portfolio.

Another significant area of their business in the future will be their “niche value added dairy products” including their organic milk production, yogurt and snack product “Rumblers” in production at the Killygordon plant where they will be “tenants” of the new owners. They will also retain ownership of Monaghan Mushrooms.

Mr. McDermott said they were still employing a staff of 115, across their business including the staff in Donegal, ten in Dublin, 50 employed in other parts of Ireland and ten internationally including employees in the UK, Holland and Brazil.

They also confirmed at the press event that the company will continue with their sponsorship of the senior Donegal GAA team for the next year.