The fire that destroyed the Glenisk plant in September 2021

Glenisk plans to build on new site

Glenisk is planning to develop a brand new facility on a greenfield site separate from its original home at Newtown, Killeigh.

Managing director Vincent Cleary revealed details of the proposal just over a year on from the fire that gutted the factory. He said the firm is working with architects to plan “a big new state-of-the-art carbon-neutral facility”.

Asked on Midlands 103’s Taking Care of Business, if this would be close to the existing site, Mr Cleary replied: “Yes. It would be closer to Tullamore. That would make sense on many levels. Our workforce is predominantly from the town of Tullamore.

He added: “By moving our factory closer to Tullamore, we can accommodate our personnel easier, I would think.”

“We are hoping to build in possibly one of the most expensive times to build a factory. We are hoping to do it cleverly, if that is possible, and to come out of this whole episode a better company that how we went into it.”

Prior to the fire, the company had secured planning permission for two additional warehouses at the rear of its Newtown site and it has since repurposed those buildings for use as an interim factory.

He explained the company is currently at 60% of the production level achieved prior to the fire. It is currently awaiting delivery of some bespoke pieces of equipment.

Mr Cleary said it was planned to have the Glenisk protein yogurt, which represented 25% of the company's output prior to the fire, returned to the shelves by January 1 next. This would bring the company up to over 80% of previous capacity.

He said a sign of the progress was that it last week it had sent its first shipments of yogurts to Germany since the fire.

Looking back over the previous year, Mr Cleary said that quitting was never an option for the company.

“We had a lot of people dependent on us,” he said.

“Letting go the staff, letting go the farmers, letting to the customers was not an option for us,” he said.

He said the company was fortunate that the original building in which Tullamore Dairies had operated its bottling plant was untouched by the fire.