Glenisk’s future hangs in the balance after major fire

Glenisk is still collecting milk from its network of 50 small family farms who produce organic cows and goats milk

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28 September 2021 | 0

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A major fire at the Glenisk yoghurt manufacturing facility in Co. Offaly has put the future of the business at risk, managing director Gerard Cleary said.

The fire, which broke out at yesterday around 11am, is said to have left the factory at Killeigh, Tullamore “pretty much a burnt out shell this morning”. This is according to Cleary, who spoke on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today to discuss the event.

The Offaly Fire and Rescue Services were still hosing down the factory this morning, to ensure the fire did not reignite. All 50 staff were safely evacuated from the blaze.

Cleary said the fire started in the yoghurt production facility and quickly spread across the facility: “We don’t know 100% yet [what happened yet] but at around midday smoke was smelled and in what seemed like seconds fire started in the incubation room where our yoghurt is made.”

A thorough investigation into the cause of the blaze will soon be underway.

Speaking at the site today, Glenisk commercial director Emma Wills said the company is going to work with its staff to rebuild. “Some of them have been with us since the beginning. Many of the staff are here over 20 years. They are skilled, dedicated, loyal, really important people.”

Meanwhile, Wills has been overwhelmed by the support they have received from competitors: “… yogurt manufacturers on this island, and further afield, have been in touch to offer their help and to see if they can support us in any way. It’s just been incredible, the support that’s been offered.”

Glenisk is still collecting milk from its network of 50 small family farms who produce organic cows and goats milk for the factory.

Getting the goat’s milk processing unit back up and running is a priority, said Wills.

“The thing about goat’s milk is it’s a product that our customers need to have because they have dairy sensitivities, or digestive problems they’ve eczema, so we know how much they depend on this product… we just want to get that up and running again.”

“We don’t fully understand the extent of the damage yet. It may be that we can’t process milk on this site in the coming weeks and if so we will be looking at an alternative processor, but it’s a priority to get as much as we can up and running as soon as we can.”

In 2019, the last year for which accounts are publicly available, Glenisk had a turnover of €24.1 milliion and made a profit of €1.2 million.

 

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