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26/10/2021

Construction of Donegal fish plant bringing 100 jobs to begin next year

Clearing work underway at Killybegs site for €45m project

Work on Donegal fish plant bringing 100 jobs to begin next year

The plant will produce speciality protein powders and marine minerals to be sold globally

The construction of a multi-million euro fishing processing plant in Killybegs which will create around 100 jobs is to get underway next year, the company behind the project has confirmed.

The CEO of Monaghan-based Bio-Marine Ingredients Ireland Jason Whooley said the company is seeking funding to increase the investment in the plant from €35m to €45m.

Clearing of the site on the Industrial Road outside the town has begun and the company hopes to begin construction of the 5,700 square metre plant in the second half of next year.

“It is a very significant project. It is probably one of the biggest projects in the seafood industry in the last 20 or 30 years,” Mr Whooley said.

The new roles will include third-level positions as well as factory operative jobs.

“I am sure that there is a very strong skill set in Killybegs and the wider Donegal area that we can tap into,” he said.

As well as approximately 100 jobs when the plant opens, the construction of the project will also involve a significant number of jobs, he said.

The plant will produce speciality protein powders and marine minerals to be sold globally.

“This is for worldwide export with a big focus on Asia,” Mr Whooley said. 

“We have had eight consecutive quarters of growth in a row, so we are growing rapidly and we need to expand our production capacity. That is why Killybegs is so critical.”

The vast majority of the company is owned by members of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation,” he said.

“Obviously, with the impact of Brexit on the fishing fleet in Killybegs we think this project is a great boost and is timely.

“We are looking forward to starting the project and looking forward to creating employment opportunities. We are really excited by the positive feedback we are getting from the local community.”

The plant will be built on a five-hectare site and will include laboratories, plant equipment, cold storage, a 30m high cylindrical drier building and a chimney stack.

The project was approved by An Board Pleanála in 2016 with revised conditions after being given the go-ahead by Donegal County Council.

The company was granted an extension to planning permission for the fish processing plant last year.

Since the planning permission was granted in Killybegs in 2016, the company has established a smaller ingredients processing plant in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan.

“That has proved very beneficial because all of the learning that we have now from our plant in Monaghan we are able to bring to the construction of the new plant in Killybegs,” Mr Whooley said.

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