Local Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has criticised the Government’s lack of support for the food sector in the context of Brexit and in particular the lack of support for the large number of companies in the food sector based in Kildare.

“Kildare is home to a large number of food companies. Thousands of jobs are associated with the food sector in Kildare alone, yet the Government’s Summer Economic statement is devoid of any real support for this sector”, he said.

“I continue to campaign for Kildare to be designated as a Hub for the consumer food product sector. I have raised in the Dail on a number of occasions, that Naas, and the surrounding area, is home to many food related companies.

“They have strong and recognisable brands including Kerry Food, Dawn Farm Food, Queally Group, Tara Vale Foods, Green Isle, Brady Farm Food located in Timahoe, and Ballymooney Foods located in Clane – these companies need to be protected.

“I have seen first-hand the investment that these companies have made. This investment includes, product development, new technologies, human resources and infrastructure. The agri-food sector is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry which employs over 170,000 people. NUI Maynooth is ready to support this sector, but the Government continues to be unsupportive.

“Given the challenge presented by Brexit and the reduction in the value of sterling, we need to support food companies like those based in Naas as they try and retain their markets in the more challenging UK market and develop new markets. The Irish food product is a quality brand that has potential in many markets. Having Naas designated as a food hub will assist in this strategy”, concluded Deputy O’Rourke.