Thank you James.
Commissioner Hogan, Minister Creed, Minister David Stanton, Deputy Kevin O’Keeffe, Deputy Sean Sherlock, MEP Deirdre Clune, MEP Liadh Ni Riada, Councillor Frank O’Flynn, Councillor Melissa Mullane, Councillor Gearoid Murphy, Councillor Declan Hurley, ladies and gentlemen.
This is a great day for Dairygold, its management and staff, for its farmers - and for the Region.
The opening of this Nutritionals Campus, following an €86 million investment programme supported by my Department through Enterprise Ireland, will assist with the delivery of hundreds of jobs for the region over the coming years.
Dairygold’s commitment to its growth and expansion represents the vigour and ambition of Irish companies to perform and compete on a global stage.
It is particularly heartening when a business has been grown out of one of the basic fabrics of Irish life – our attachment to agriculture and farming – to become a provider of high value products in foreign markets.
One of things I’ve learned since taking up this position is how much it really takes for our entrepreneurs and for existing businesses to start and grow a business.
I can fully appreciate why every parish and community wants to have its own slice of the ‘foreign investment’ action – their own large multinational corporation providing readymade and highly valuable jobs on the doorstep.
But here today in Dairygold we are witnessing just another shining example of how Irish talent and resources can also power successful multinational businesses.
On Tuesday I attended the Ploughing Championship and there I saw, at first hand, the latest in agri-tech innovation from companies like Dairymaster and McHale which too have become large-scale companies serving customers around the world from their bases in rural Ireland.
It is a challenge for Government to help those Irish companies to make the journey from idea to innovation to internationalization.
I do not need to tell successful businesspeople that it is not good strategy to rely on one product or one market.
That is why I firmly believe that it is essential that, alongside our winning formula to attract foreign investment, we must also invest in our Irish entrepreneurs and businesses and support them at the various stages along the journey.
The fundamental requirement for that journey is a supportive pro-business environment that facilitates those who want to start a business and to grow that business, and to feel rewarded for taking the risks involved.
For our part, the Government will be stepping up Ministerial-led trade missions. In March of this year, we published a new Trade Strategy, “Ireland Connected: Trading and Investing in a Dynamic World” as part of a major drive towards market diversification. Promoting diversified export markets in light of the potential impacts of Brexit is a key priority for my Department. This includes markets that are growing and have scale as well as markets where we are already well established but with potential for further growth. In 2017, we have 42 Minister-led trade missions to existing and emerging markets.
It is often assumed that our straightforward corporation tax regime is there for the benefit of foreign companies.
But people who think that miss the point that our tax regime also encourages home grown businesses to earn their rewards and to reinvest their returns.
And of course as Dairygold will testify, we provide direct supports, principally through Enterprise Ireland, across the range of business activities – management, investment, innovation, and exporting - to make our home-grown businesses more resilient in the international marketplace.
The Government, through Enterprise Ireland, is delighted to have played an important role in supporting this major investment project by Dairygold.
Again I extend my congratulations to the Dairygold Board, Management and Staff for their determination in bringing this project to fruition.
I also want to acknowledge the important role of Enterprise Ireland, which has worked proactively in supporting this development.
The impact of this project on the Irish food industry, and the wider knock-on impact to the Irish economy will be enormous.
The development saw over 800 people employed through direct and indirect jobs linked to the project.
It has also had indirect economic benefits with the creation of additional jobs in farming and an increase in activity for businesses that supply goods and services to Dairygold.
Strategically this is highly significant for Ireland’s food industry, which is Ireland’s largest indigenous manufacturing sector.
The Government fully recognises that the dairy industry is one of great economic importance and of great opportunity.
The dairy sector is worth over €4 billion to the Irish economy and three-quarters of this is exported.
By 2025, it is expected that dairy output will have increased by a further €1 billion, all of which will have to be exported.
This investment today, founded on innovation and export potential, will be a major stepping stone to delivering on that opportunity.
Dairygold is a strategically important food company from both a national as well as a regional standpoint.
Its growth and success at home and internationally has been admired and respected and it has ambitious growth plans.
Dairygold is Ireland's largest farmer-owned Co-Op with over 7,000 shareholders, of which almost 3,000 are active milk suppliers from the counties Cork, Limerick, Clare and Tipperary.
It has over 1,200 employees with employees based across its Munster locations as well as in the UK, Germany, Spain and Beijing.
In 2016 Dairygold processed 1.3 billion litres of milk.
The increase in milk output following the abolition of EU quotas will result in Dairygold output rising close to a staggering 2 billion litres.
The business has certainly evolved over the years since it was formed following the merger of Mitchelstown and Ballyclough Co-Op’s.
But if you look at today’s facility, and where it will take the business, that may be the understatement of the year.
Dairygold’s investment in its new Nutritional Campus is a signal of Dairygold’s ambitions for the future.
The €86 million investment will provide increased processing capacities, building a platform for the production of advanced Dairy Nutrition products and create more high value ingredients in the adult and infant nutritionals sector.
This Campus will be a showcase nutritional facility which will reflect well on the entire Irish dairy sector internationally.
Dairygold’s overall capital investment programme will create over 115 new jobs directly within the Dairygold group.
And as the dairy industry purchases 90% of its inputs from the domestic economy, there will be a maximum impact on the income of farm families, boosting the rural economy and the local industries that will service on-farm expansion.
Once again, my congratulations to all involved in what is a very exciting day for Dairygold’s and for Ireland’s food industry.
It is a great pleasure to witness the growth and expansion of our home-grown sector, to see their level of ambition and to see them competing and winning against the best in the world
It is truly a great day for all concerned.
For further information contact Press Office, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation ph. 6312200 or firstname.lastname@example.org