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Smith officially opens new cheese packing facility for the Irish Dairy Board

Speaking at the Kerrygold Company in Leek, where he officially opened a new €35 million cheese packing facility for the Irish Dairy Board, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Brendan Smith TD complimented the Dairy Board on "its impressive record in marketing cheese, which has grown by 50,000 tonnes since 2003".

The Minister spoke about the success of the Kerrygold brand which was developed with such persistence and commitment over many years.  The success of the brand was built by the "unstinting efforts of the farmers throughout Ireland, dairy processors and of course the Irish Dairy Board itself".

This new state-of-the-art cheese packing facility will significantly enhance the IDB's marketing effort in the UK, a leading market for Irish cheese, through greater scale, efficiency and service levels. The Minister said that the new investment "heralds a new era, one of technological innovation, greater scale and efficency, greater levels of responsiveness to customer demands, and, one that surpasses international best practice in environmental standards".

Minister Smith pointed out that "Ireland has rightly earned an international reputation for top quality products and our commitment to maintaining these very high standards is evident here today in this new facility".

Commenting on the current difficult world dairy market Minister Smith emphasised that the Irish dairy sector has shown resilience and flexibility in the past to overcome such challenges.  "The dairy industry has shown an ability to adapt and innovate. The investment in this facility demonstrates confidence in the future of the Irish dairy sector and is indicative of the resolve of the industry to meet the competitive challenges of the market place head on. It also signals our commitment to being the leading supplier of dairy products to our nearest and most important international market".

22 May, 2009

Note for Editors

The Kerrygold Company in Leek is a subsidiary company of the Irish Dairy Board. The newly opened packing facility has the capacity to supply over 3.5 million packs of cheeses per week to over 30 customers across more than 400 product lines operating on twenty production lines incorporating cutting, slicing, grating and packing into a multitude of packaging formats.  The development will enable the company to expand its capacity to pack 80,000 tonnes of cheese per annum.

Smith Kerrygold facility

Left to Right ......Dr. Sean Brady, Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Irish Dairy Board, Michael Cronin,Chairman of the Irish Dairy Board, Brendan Smith TD, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and Carl Ravenhall, Managing Director of Kerrygold Co (UK) Ltd.

Date Released: 22 May 2009