Agri-foods jobs bonanza as Monaghan and Westmeath firms to create 83 jobs between them

23 Sep 2013

Swift Fine Foods, a Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, ready-meals producer, plus Green Farm Foods, a Co Westmeath producer of cooked meat products, are to create 83 jobs between them. The two Irish-born firms are to invest a combined €5.9m into their production facilites to boost their exports.

The Government, via Enterprise Ireland, is supporting both investments.

Green Farm Foods is planning to create 30 jobs at its Rathowen, Co Westmeath, base. This is part of a €2.8m expansion to help Green Farm double its production capacity.

As part of the move, the company believes the expansion will help it meet increasing demand for its products, to expand its existing international markets and to enter new markets.  

With the new jobs set to come on-stream, this is set to bring total employment in Green Farm Foods to 160.  

A spokesperson for the company told the new roles will include technical hires, administrative staff and salespeople.

Swift Fine Foods is a producer of chilled and frozen ready meals for the retail trade and food-service markets in Ireland and the UK. It is to invest more than €3m in a development programme that will see the company create 53 jobs at its Castleblayney plant over the next three years.

The company is planning to leverage the investment to embark on a major new product development drive and expand operational capacity.

Swift Fine Foods confirmed this morning that, since receiving confirmation of supports, recruitment of staff has been ongoing.

Coupled with ongoing support from Enterprise Ireland, the company is aiming to have employment levels exceed 80 people over the next three years.

In operation in the midlands for more than 20 years

Kenneth Greene, now CEO of Green Farm Foods, set up the company in 1991. The company produces cooked meats for the Irish and export markets.  

Through product innovation and market development over the past 20 years, the company said more than 30pc of its output is now exported to the UK and mainland Europe.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, TD, described Green Farm Foods as an ambitious and innovative company in the food sector.

“Indigenous companies like Green Farm, with their focus on innovation and exports, are a particular priority for the Government, as we seek to create the jobs we need,” he said.

Greene said the company is delighted to have an opportunity to create more employment in the midlands.

“We look forward to continued growth this year and acknowledge the tremendous input of our wonderful staff in these achievements,” he said.

Michael Cantwell, manager of Enterprise Ireland’s food division, said food is Ireland’s No 1 export sector and one that is vital for both the Irish economy and export-led growth.

He said Enterprise Ireland has worked closely with Green Farm Foods in supporting its strategic investment and development.

“This a highly ambitious and innovative company. Its success is a clear statement of how Irish food companies can expand their international reach, winning new exports and creating jobs at home.”

Creating jobs in Monaghan

Two-year-old Swift Fine Foods, which is based in the Lough Egish Food Park in Castleblayney, has forged long-term relationships with many retail and food service customers throughout Ireland and the UK.

The company’s most well-known brand to date has been its ‘Chef Cuisine’ ready meal range, and it has also produced own-label products for ALDI and Super Value/Centra.  

Ted O’Neill, chairman of the board of Swift Fine Foods, said the company is looking forward to creating more exports and jobs on the back of this investment.

Green meadow image via Shutterstock

Carmel Doyle
By Carmel Doyle

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic. She reported on clean tech, innovation and start-ups, covering everything from renewable energy to electric vehicles, the smart grid, nanotech, space exploration, university spin-outs and technology transfer.

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