Frozen food plant to cut jobs after fall in poultry exports

The Kerry Group is to cut 36 jobs at its frozen ready meals plant in Co Monaghan because of a decline in poultry exports to the UK.

The move at the Rye Valley Foods plant is part of a refocus on the cost base and restructuring. Virtually all product produced at the Irish plant is exported to the UK and the decline of sterling against the euro has hit competitiveness.

“Rye Valley Foods is a case in point where we have a depreciation of sterling by 35% over the last two years,” said Kerry Group’s director of corporate affairs Frank Hayes.

“Competition in the market has not got any weaker, it’s more intense if anything, and it has proved very difficult to remain competitive. We have had to continue to review the cost base

He said that, regrettably, there has to be job losses, including 30 at operational level and six in management and administration.

The Kerry Group has sold off virtually all of its primary processing poultry businesses in Ireland in recent years and is now involved in further processing, such as ready meals and cooked meats. For example, in 2005 the Kerry Group closed its chicken processing plant, Kantoher Food Products factory in West Limerick which supplied the domestic market and employed 138.