Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on Minister of State Tom Hayes to immediately engage with the staff and management of Dawn Fresh Foods in Fethard to try and reverse the savage job losses which were announced for the Tipperary food processing plant
Deputy McGrath was speaking after 97 jobs have come under threat following a sharp downturn in consumer demand for readymade meals containing meat products. Dawn Fresh Foods was established in 1984 in Fethard, and employs 150 staff:
“The situation we are in now is partly due to a failure by this Government to come to terms in a more effective and efficient manner with the recent horsemeat scandal. We do not need that situation to be replicated by a reluctant or lacklustre response from both Minister of State Hayes and indeed Minister Richard Bruton, both of whom I am calling on to take immediate steps to save the community of Fethard and beyond from the dreadful impact which these job losses will create. We cannot listen to the usual political platitudes of taskforces and so on, we need direct intervention at the highest level so that this proud indigenous company can have the necessary breathing space to try and recover from the impact of the horsemeat scandal.”
Dawn Fresh Foods is part of the Queally Group which also owns QK Cold Stores in Naas. It’s state of the art production unit in Fethard was recently expanded with the introduction of an automatic fresh pasta line with manufacturing capacity exceeding 500 tonnes per week:
“I have engaged with senior management at Dawn Fresh and while I am deeply concerned about the effect these proposed job cuts will have I remain hopeful that with sufficient political will we can work to minimise the extent of the loss. I am calling directly on Minister Hayes to be open and transparent about all efforts he is or is planning to make on behalf of the workers in Fethard. Dawn is one of the leading employers in the area and it would be fair to say as SIPTU have already noted that these potential job losses are akin to those lost at Dell in Limerick or at Waterford Crystal in Waterford, in terms of the impact they will have upon the local community. Minister Bruton must also now show that he is serious about retaining indigenous work forces by working in partnership with those of us on the ground who are monitoring this situation with deep concern,” concluded Deputy McGrath.