Fianna Fáil TD, Frank O’Rourke, has called on the Government to replicate the National Food Innovation Hub, recently established in Cork, in Kildare, given the significant number of food companies based in Kildare.
“Kildare is home to many food based companies. It is essential that we sustain the growth in our food export business, given the challenges that Brexit present. UK, alone, accounts for more than 40% of Irish food exports and Kildare is home to many companies exporting to the UK.”
“I have campaigned for the area of North Kildare to be designated as a Food Hub. Kildare County Council’s CEO has also supported calls for the area to be designated as a Food Hub.”
“Recently, the National Food Innovation Hub was established to create a business innovation network at Moorepark involving dairy companies, Moorepark Technology Ltd (MTL), incubator companies and public-private partnership based R&D programmes with a research focus on food processing, quality and nutrition.”
“As I have mentioned in the Dail on a number of occasions, Naas and the surrounding area is home to many food related companies, which have strong brands. Examples include, Kerry Food, Dawn Farm Food, Queally Group, Tara Vale Foods, Green Isle, Ashbourne Meat Processors, Brady Farm Food located in Timahoe, and Ballymooney Foods located in Clane.”
“The agri-food sector is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry which employs over 175,000 people with a turnover of €11bn last year.”
“The industry is facing a very serious challenge following Britain’s decision to leave the EU, and we need to ensure that new markets and opportunities are explored to ensure that we protect the many jobs that are associated with this important Industry.”
“I believe that promoting Kildare as a Hub for Food Products would enhance the standing of the companies trying to seek new markets, particularly in a Brexit world. That is why I tabled a question to the Minister for Agriculture in relation to this matter. I will continue to campaign to have Kildare designated as a Food Hub,”concluded Deputy O’Rourke.