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Construction Begins At New Glanbia Cheese Factory

Midlands TDs have been welcoming the progress with the controversial project.

The beginning of works on Glanbia's new cheese factory in Co. Kilkenny is being welcomed by midlands TDs.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is turning the sod at the site in Belview today.

80 jobs are to be created at the €200 million cheese plant, while Glanbia says a further 400 roles will provided through construction of the facility.

The plant is expected to be operational in 2024.

The project was stuck in a legal dispute for a number of years with An Taisce arguing granting planning permission went against the government's policy on climate action.

Four Fine Gael TDs and two senators in the wider region have publicly welcomed the progress with the development, which they say will support the incomes of over 4,500 farming families.

They include Laois-Offaly's Charlie Flanagan; Wexford's Paul Kehoe; Carlow-Kilkenny's John Paul Phelan; and Cork-East's David Stanton; along with Senators Garret Ahearn of Tipperary and John Cummins of Waterford.

The statement from the six Fine Gael Oireachtas members, including four former ministers, reads:

“Fine Gael have fought hard for the people of rural Ireland and our work has clearly paid off with the turning of sod at the sight of the new continental cheese factory in Kilkenny today.

“The facility, which is expected to produce cheese for global markets by 2024, will yield over 50,000 tonnes of continental cheese per year – utilising around 450m litres of milk from Glanbia suppliers.

“Glanbia is a hugely important contributor to the economy of rural Ireland and is a lifeline for many workers across the country. Over €1.2 billion was paid to farm families for milk last year, with Glanbia Co-op being the largest purchaser and user of Irish grains.

“Not only will this project support rural Ireland and family farms, but it will also be one of the most sustainable continental cheese production facilities across Europe. By allowing for in-house milk processing, transport movements and costs will further be reduced.

“In addition to the 80 high-skilled job opportunities on offer once the facility is opened, over 400 jobs will be created during construction. It is estimated that the Kilkenny facility, located in the heart of rural Ireland, will support almost 1,400 jobs across the wider economy.

“This project has faced significant delays and the focus now must be to ensure it is fully operational as soon as possible in order to support the 4,500 family farms who supply milk to Glanbia every day.

“We will continue to fight for rural Ireland and farming families, and look forward to feeling the positive impact of this fantastic project in action.”

Fianna Fáil TD for Laois-Offaly and former Agriculture Minister, Barry Cowen, is also among those welcoming the progress following a "protracted planning process".

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