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Minister Creed's speech at opening of new Glanbia facility, Wexford town, 8 March 2018

  1. Ladies and Gentlemen, Thank you for the opportunity to address you all today. I am delighted to be here at the launch of the expansion of Glanbia’s cheese production facility here in Wexford. I know that the Glanbia team have all put in tremendous effort to bring this initiative to fruition, and they deserve warm congratulations for those efforts.
  2. Events such as this provide an important opportunity to acknowledge the huge value of Irish dairy farming to our own domestic economy and to communities throughout the country, as well as an opportunity to promote Ireland’s image, across the world, as a natural, grass-based, secure, and sustainable food producing nation.
  3. I want to acknowledge the progress Ireland’s dairy farmers have made in recent years, through sustainable increases in production, through better integration in the supply chain, the generous sharing of knowledge with one another and within our communities – which Irish farmers have been doing down through generations – and through promoting activities and practices that the next generation will benefit from.
  4. Ireland is a small, open economy – our relationship with trading partners around the world is a key driver of our success in this global food business. We export more than 85% of our milk and dairy produce. In the past 5 years Ireland’s dairy produce has reached 159 countries around the world.
  5. It is this export focus which makes this expansion project so important. The Irish Dairy Industry needs our companies to be of sufficient size and scale to compete effectively in the international market place. My government recognises this value and notes that Enterprise Ireland has supported this project. It is a strategic investment with long term positive implications for both the company and the dairy industry.
  6. Over the next 5 years we will continue to be among the world’s fastest growing dairy producers. It is likely that we will reach our target of a 50% increase in production this year in 2018, well ahead of the 2020 target.
  7. In Ireland we are fortunate that there is a broad consensus between Government, farmers and industry in terms of where the dairy sector is evolving towards, namely a top class producer and exporter of quality dairy products and ingredients.
  8. Irish dairy farming sits alongside the best in the world. It is about our plentiful supply of grass and water, our natural grass-based production, and our sustainable farming methods. This focus on aspects such as animal welfare, and care of the environment, has allowed us to develop a strong export-focused agri-food economy.
  9. Ireland is committed to strengthening our trade relationships with overseas destinations and, in particular, promoting the quality of Irish dairy produce to global consumers; the importance of Irish farmers and farming communities to rural Ireland; and allowing Irish consumers to celebrate the efforts and achievements of Irish dairy farming here at home.
  10. Ireland has a reputation for high standards of food safety. We have sought to measure and to promote our sustainability credentials, in a verifiable and evidence-based way.
  11. I know from recent travels to a number of our key markets that our sustainability claims are a key point of differentiation from our competitors and these quality assurance schemes must continue to underpin our efforts in this respect. Our efforts through many schemes such as Origin Green and the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme give credence to our achievements in sustainable, safe, and quality produce.
  12. Glanbia’s investment here in Wexford is further evidence of progress on these efforts, with international demand for quality Irish dairy produce showcasing the real achievements of farmers, co-ops and processors.  This is testament to the high quality of Irish milk and Ireland’s dairy sector, as well as ensuring the welfare and sustainability of our family farms.
  13. The success of our efforts is underpinned by the quality of our produce:  through being best in class in terms of the quality produce we supply, the safety of our farming and processing methods and the sustainability of our systems.  Key to this success is our ability to verify these criteria objectively, credibly and, importantly, to the satisfaction of consumers both here in Ireland and across the world.
  14. I’d like to finish by thanking you again for the opportunity to address you today.
  15. Finally I’d like to reiterate my view regarding the enormous value of this investment for Glanbia, for the region and for the dairy industry as a whole. It is good to be here today and to have the opportunity to reflect and congratulate ourselves on our success – from farm-gate to fork.