Fianna Fáil TD, Frank O’Rourke, has repeatedly called on the Government to designate Naas and the surrounding area as a Food Hub, given the significant number of food companies based in Kildare. Deputy O’Rourke has now received a reply to a Parliamentary Question indicating that funding is available under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund to support such a proposal.
“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. The 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.”
“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.”
“In the reply I received from the Minister for Enterprise Jobs and Innovation, the Regional Enterprise Development Fund allows us to drive growth in key sectors or geographies across the country. While there is no Government plan to formally designate Naas as a Food Hub, we are backing local and regional stakeholders to drive the future of their own communities by supporting their innovative proposals which will help to deliver job creation and sustainable employment.”
“This I believe, could provide a window of opportunity if all stakeholders came together and made such a proposal.”
“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. I will continue to campaign to have Kildare designated as a Food Hub,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.