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Production resumes at Glenisk plant four months after fire 'gutted' entire factory

Managing director Vincent Cleary said the company has had great support “both locally and internationally” in getting back operating.

Vincent Cleary speaking outside the Glenisk factory in September following the fire.
Vincent Cleary speaking outside the Glenisk factory in September following the fire.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

THE MANAGING DIRECTOR of Glenisk has said production has resumed at the company’s factory in Co Offaly four months after it was destroyed in a fire. 

Vincent Cleary said supermarkets nationwide will see Glenisk products back on their shelves tomorrow. 

All workers were safely evacuated following the fire at the dairy production facility in Killeigh near Tullamore on 28 September 2021.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Cleary said the company has had great support “both locally and nationally to get us to where we are today.”

He said the factory was “completely gutted” in the fire, but said that they were able to continue working as one of the buildings previously used by the company in a milk bottling plant was unscathed in the blaze.

“That’s where we regrouped. We’re using the pasteuriser from that facility to feed into a new build that we’ve constructed in the last four months and equipped out and that’s where the liquid will be converted into yoghurt on a daily basis, henceforth, for the time being anyway,” he said.

He paid tribute to the company “both locally, nationally and internationally” and said that despite global supply shortages, the factory was put first on a lot of waiting lists.

“I’m not quite sure what that signifies. The reputation of Glenisk, but definitely, we got help from every quarter and we got to offer of help from every quarter as well,” he said.

Cleary said the company was able to continue producing milk because their milk bottling lines were still in tact, adding that customers by continuing to buy their milk when they couldn’t avail of their yoghurts. “That kept us ticking over,” he added.

He said that they had to divert some milk to some organic alternative sources, while the remaining went into the conventional milk supply.

We took the financial hit on that and we protected our farmers, and I would like to think the farmers didn’t even notice that we were absent because it was regular milk collections as per normal and the pay cheques kept coming as per normal.

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Cleary said he wasn’t feeling overly concerned about re-establishing Glenisk’s market presence, adding that today was all about getting their products back on the shelves.

“That will resolve itself over time, but ultimately we will communicate, we will continue to do what we’ve been doing in the past. If anything we’ve taken the time out to better our proposition to our customers. So that will look after itself in due course, I’ve no doubt,” he said.

He said there was no shortage of help forthcoming to the company following the fire, with everyone from young children and elderly people offering to send money to help them with the rebuild.

“What we tried to do was direct all of the goodwill towards Self Help Africa, where we successfully helped Self Help Africa plant another one million trees, so that’s two million trees that our customers have planted in the last couple of years with our support,” he added.

About the author:

Jane Moore

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