Fianna Fáil candidate for the Carlow-Kilkenny Bobby Aylward has welcomed today’s opening of Glanbia’s advanced dairy processing facility at Belview Port Co. Kilkenny.  The €180m plant will give a much needed jobs boost for the agri-food sector in the region.

Mr. Aylward commented, “I welcome this significant investment by Glanbia into Co. Kilkenny and the estimated 75 direct jobs and 1,600 indirect jobs that will be created as a result.  This investment reinforces Ireland’s status as a world leader in dairy production, and acknowledges our potential to target markets with high value dairy products such as nutritional powders”.

Regarding the ending of milk quotas on April 1st and the imposition of the Superlevy, Mr Aylward said, “Around 4,800 dairy farmers supply Glanbia with milk, and the completion of this facility demonstrates the huge confidence within the Irish dairy sector ahead of the abolition of the quotas.  The post quota landscape opens up a wealth of opportunities for the Irish dairy industry and we must ensure that farmers in Carlow and Kilkenny are equipped to take advantage of them.

 “Food Harvest 2020, which was initiated under Fianna Fáil, provides a medium-term vision and strategy to increase dairy output and increase jobs in the industry. It is vital that the Government adheres to the Food Harvest 2020 targets and provides the necessary supports for farmers to grow milk output by 50% in the next decade”.

“It is very regrettable that this Government has failed completely to get any reduction in Ireland’s impending Superlevy via a butterfat adjustment. Its lack of action has cost farmers an estimated €30 million. What’s worse is the fact that Irish dairy farmers will be forced to pay this huge Superlevy bill despite the fact that combined Member State production will fall under the total EU wide quota”.

 Mr. Aylward also raised concerns about the recent market price volatility, stating, “This is a pressing issue for dairy farmers across Carlow and Kilkenny, who are struggling to remain viable. The Government must look closely at fixed term pricing for milk to afford farmers with some level of certainty in order to allow them to effectively manage their cash flows in the post quota world”.