Lakeland Dairies to close three sites with 78 job losses
Cavan escapes cull as some operations to transfer to sites in the Breffni County
Lakeland Dairies has announced the closure of three of its processing sites in the region, with the loss of 78 jobs. However, Cavan sites have not been hit and some of the affected operations will transfer to plants in the Breffni county.
The board of Lakelands has approved a plan to cease operations at three sites - two in Monaghan and one in Down - as part of a strategy to make its processing operations more efficient.
Lakeland Dairies Monaghan is set to close in the first quarter of 2025, as a “major development project” will now commence to enable the transfer of liquid milk production Lakeland Dairies Killeshandra. All other bulk milk handling activities will be transferred to other Lakeland Dairies sites.
Milk drying facilities at Lough Egish, in Monaghan, will close in June 2024, as milk will continue to be processed at other sites. This Lakeland Agri feed and inputs operations at the feed mill in Lough Egish will not be impacted.
The Lakeland Dairies site in Banbridge in Down will also close in June 2024. Activities there include butter churning and packaging and powder storage.
The co-op intends to sell its Monaghan and Banbridge sites after their closure.
Milk will continue to be processed at Lakeland Dairies Bailieboro, Killeshandra, Newtownards, Ballyrashane and Artigarvan.
Lakeland Dairies said that between now and the first quarter of 2025, it will implement “significant change” across the business, including the realignment of its milk processing footprint, “to meet future market requirements”.
The milk processor said that “regrettably, redundancies will be necessary” to realise its new strategy, as it is anticipated that 78 jobs will go as a result.
The remaining 1,300 Lakeland Dairies staff will not be directly impacted by the announcement.
Future proofing the co-op
Lakeland Dairies' CEO, Colin Kelly, said the strategy is about future-proofing the co-op for its 3,200 farm families.
"While this is a difficult decision, it is a crucial one to ensure that Lakeland Dairies is future-proofed and well-positioned to meet the challenges as well as the opportunities of the future."
"The next decade will be less about large volume growth and more about value-added growth and adding capability throughout the business."
"This will be done to drive the best possible returns for our farmers and to continue to offer our loyal customers the highest-quality products while supporting our people and our communities."
Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, has said supports will be put in place to assist workers impacted by the decision by Lakeland Dairies to close three of its sites.
In a statement yesterday evening, she expressed her disappointment at the news.
“I want the workers at Lakeland Dairies to know that my Department of Social Protection is here to help them in any way we can in the weeks and months to come.
“Social Protection officials will engage directly with the company and ensure all available supports are put in place, including opportunities to retrain and reskill," she said.
The Minister said she had spoken with the CEO, Colin Kelly.
"My officials will immediately make contact with the company to discuss what supports can be put in place.
“Once again, this is deeply disappointing news and as a State we will do everything we can to support the workers affected.”