Dale Farm to close Fivemiletown cheese production site, putting 18 jobs at risk
DAIRY cooperate Dale Farm is to cease production of its popular Fivemiletown cheese in the Co Tyrone town, putting local jobs at risk.
Dale Farm has announced it will not renew the lease on its Fivemiletown Creamery site and will instead move cheese production to its facility at Dromona, Cullybackey from June.
It has also confirmed it will no longer produce the low volume Fivemiletown cheese retail lines.
The company has said it will offer the 18 staff in Co Tyrone transfers to other Dale Farm locations when production ends in early June. Where this is not feasible, redundancy packages will be offered.
In a statement Dale Farm said it was "no longer feasible" to continue cheese production in Fivemiletown, but said the brand still has a future.
"Dale Farm has stated that following careful consideration, maintaining production of Fivemiletown cheese at the Fivemiletown site was deemed no longer feasible," they said
"Dale Farm is keen to ensure the Fivemiletown brand remains active in Northern Ireland and will continue to produce Fivemiletown goat’s cheese."
Ulster Unionist MLA, Rosemary Barton described the development as "extremely disappointing".
“Once again South Tyrone has been hit by the closure of another factory," she said.
"This is extremely disappointing news coming less than six months after the ceasing of the precast concrete manufacturing A&G Plant at Ballygawley.
“While Dale Farm are keen to support the 18 staff that will be made redundant and offer them similar positions within Dale Farm, unfortunately these positions are some distance from Fivemiletown."
Dale Farm bought the Fivemiletown speciality cheese brand from Glanbia Ingredients Ireland in May 2014 and has carried out cheese production at the Co Tyrone creamery site ever since.
The dairy firm's lease with Fivemiletown & Brookeborough Co-operative has been due to expire this year.
Headquartered in Northern Ireland, Dale Farm is the largest UK farmer-owned dairy cooperative and owns the Dale Farm, Dromona, Spelga, Fivemiletown, Loseley, Rowan Glen and Mullins Ice Cream brands.