Shops in Mitchelstown, Co Cork shut down to show support. The town will lose 170 jobs when the Dairygold co-op closes the plant in October and opts out of pig processing, with a similar closure in Roscrea, Co Tipperary, making more than 100 more redundant.
At the rally, speakers called for government intervention to prevent the plant closure, which they claimed would cost the local economy up to €30m. A member of parliament for the area, Ned O’Keeffe said there was “serious concern” Dairygold would start sourcing pigmeat in Denmark, the Netherlands and other European countries.
Dairygold chief executive Jerry Henchy insisted the pig processing operation was costly and uncompetitive and the co-op’s withdrawal.
He told a pig producers’ delegation that Dairygold would remain a substantial buyer of Irish pigmeat and “should look positively at the potential for added value growth.
Producer action aimed at forcing Dairygold to reverse its decision include a possible boycott of the its feed products.