Westmeath firm hopes to create 120 jobs

A family-run meat packing plant in Kilbeggan is expected to add at least 120 new jobs to the local workforce if permission for a €13million extension is granted in the new year.

Dunbia, on the Clara Road, which processes up to 1,000 head of cattle each week and is the largest Irish-owned firm in Westmeath, currently employs 220 people. Despite having to take its downturn hit like everybody else last year when the firm had to let 70 people go, Dunbia has rallied strong in the last 12 months and has “got a lot of them back”, according to financial controller, Robin Jackson.

“We’ve got them all in full employment, a five day week. We’re flat out,” he added.

Mr Jackson was quick to point out that no permission had been granted yet as there are a number of objections lodged to his firm’s submitted plans, and Dunbia’s architects are currently working on the firm’s environmental impact statement as required by the application. He wouldn’t speculate on when a decision might be made.

It is expected the new extension will employ 100 people in its construction, with a further 20 jobs added to its meat packing trade on completion.

The extension will add 50 per cent of modernised floor space to the 30-year-old plant, and in line with the policies of Enterprise Ireland who will be providing a €4 million grant towards the project if it is green-lighted, the idea of added value will be incorporated in the projected plant, “giving greater value to the beef we’re selling”.

 

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